How to Write Like Stephen KingIf we want to write a novel, how do we start? My biggest inspiration is Stephen King. He's always been my top author! And with his inspiration of writing Horror...

How to Write Like Stephen King

If we want to write a novel, how do we start? My biggest inspiration is Stephen King. He's always been my top author! And with his inspiration of writing Horror Novels, I wanted to be able to write like he did. I have a lot of imagination and my father always told me that I can do a novel with only an inspiration of one word. So, I have the inspiration of music, writing and drawing. Since I was 4, I always wanted to meet Stephen King and I am still wishing it. I would have so much to talk about with him. He's my idol :)

Expert Answers
danylyshen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Writers, Stephen King written word addicts, teachers, fellow word smiths:

Have you ever had a day that’s overtly resonant?

In class today I was perusing some of the books my students are using for a culminating course assignment and I came across an introduction to King’s Night Shift by John D. MacDonald. Shortly afterwards I stumbled across this post that combined Stephen King and the subject of writing—clang—went my twisted synapses! I had to participate.

I love using King and his pedagogy to teach my students writing. I begin with GeneFowler’s “writing is easy. You just stare at a blank page until beads of blood form on your forehead” and make my way to Kingology: “all writing begins its life as a first draft—and first drafts are never any good. They’re not supposed to be.” Writing is hard work, I tell them. The craft of writing is an art form and a work of such magnitude akin to a house and the building of a house. No less effort goes into creating a novel, a Master’s thesis, a dissertation, a screen-play, an essay, or whatever than there is to building a house. A builder uses lumber, brick, mortar, and specialized instruments. A writer uses words, inspiration, reading experience, and soul to create their structure.

John D. MacDonald says that “if you want to write, you write . . . Stephen King always wanted to write and he writes” (vii). King “wrote Carrie and Salem’s Lot and The Shining, and the good number of stories you can read in this book, and a stupendous number of other stories and books and fragments and poems and essays and other unclassifiable things, most of them too wretched to ever publish” (vii). Why this is significant? King says “Just write.” Get black on white and write anything and everything. Writing is a recursive process. Writing is a voluminous process. Writing is tough. You must love words, hold your breath, and dive down constantly to “the word pool” (see King’s Lisey’s Story).

King says elsewhere to “slaughter your darlings.” The “darlings” here, of course are your darling products of yourselves—your artistic creations. Write often. Revise. Not all of your little darlings will survive. Write. Write often. Revise constantly. Show. Don’t tell. Easy? Not one bit. Hold your breath. It's a deep dive to the word pool.

mleafe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I, too, aspire to become an author. I have read numerous books on how to write a novel including Steven King's On Writing, in which he recommends other books. I have found inspiration in everything stemming from being a teacher of writing, reading as many books as I can, and doing a lot of thinking about characters and plots as I watch movies, drive in the car, and do other daily activities. What you need to do is come up with a central plot, an interesting lead, and start simple with building the background of one character...but don't give away too much at once. Pay attention to authors you like and read more of their books. Steven King is famous for his short sentences and descriptive actions. I actually know someone who went to high school with him (but I am not claiming to know him). Well, have fun.

melyngar13 | Student

Hello Rocker3000

I started writing a novel this past summer, and all novels start with an idea. I received my "Big" idea from a class I completed this spring. I explored the "Big" idea by brainstorming adventures and situations for different characters. I am also an outline person, so I created an outline of key events, characters, climaxes, and side stories. I also developed a separate character list where I keep names and descriptions. Because I am writing a historical fiction novel, I keep a separate file of research.

The bottom line is that you must write. The story will start to write itself as you become invested in your characters and their adventures. Do not worry about perfecting the first draft; the first draft is an opportunity to dump all of your ideas and get them on "paper." Once you have a first draft down you can go back and revise, add, and delete information.

You can also check out several websites or book stores that outline step by step instructions for getting through your first novel. I tried one of these but found that once I started writing I was able to leave the source behind and set out at my own pace to get through my novel. At this time I am 300 pages strong and still writing.

Also, as a Stephen King fan you might check out On Writing. It is King's book on writing.

Good Luck!