I got a lot of feedback on Nathan Branford’s 10 Commandments I published a few weeks ago, so I wanted to share another collection. I picked Stephen King because there’s been a buzz about his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, in my PLN–even though it’s a good fourteen years old. When I went searching for his ubiquitous Writer’s Ten Commandments, I found lots of lists, but each different. It became clear that he has so many great suggestions, trying to distill it to ten became a subjective decision.
What was universal was this #1 Commandment:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Stephen King is another in a long list of ultimate writers who exhort would-be authors that the foundation of good writing is reading. I can’t tell you how often I’ve read that advice from the greats–so often in fact, it’s become more axiom than advice.
I counted sixty-seven ‘Top Ten Commandments” as I was researching this article. Here’s my list of his Top Ten:
- Humor is almost always anger with its make-up on.
- Write every day.
- Find your space.
- Write the truth.
- Don’t plot.
- Practice describing.
- Practice showing — not telling — through the use of real dialogue.
- Good fiction always begins with story and progresses to theme.
- Constant reading will pull you into a place where you can write eagerly and without self consciousness. It also offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn’t; what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying on the page.
Read a list of fifty-six King Commandments here. For favorite King quotes, visit this Goodreads list (you must be a member of Goodreads to view it, but you should join that penultimate writer’s community anyway).
More Ten Commandments:
Ten Commandments from Richard Bausch
Henry Miller’s Ten Commandments of Writing
The 10 Commandments of Fiction Writing
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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, will be out this summer. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.