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Stephen King's book (On Writing) has EXCELLENT writing/editing tips! (1 Viewer)

Mikeyboy_esq

Senior Member
Just finished reading Stephen King's book about writing and thought I'd share some of my thoughts here. I've heard many times that this book is awesome for writers, and I'm happy to report that it lived up to the hype! Stephen King does a great job of explaining his process of writing novels and what writing techniques he finds most helpful.

Here are a few examples:
1) "When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story;"
2) The formula for making your rough manuscript more concise (2nd draft = 1st draft - 10%);
3) Always write your book for the "ideal reader" (the perfect target audience);
4) The "secret to his success" (at least partially) is that he stayed healthy and married (turns out that his wife is very supportive of his writings);
5) You can write ANYTHING as long as you tell the truth; and
6) "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others; read a lot and write a lot." (this is my favorite advice in the book!)

I write nonfiction books and found this book to be very helpful. I was already familiar with some of the lessons/writing techniques, but others were new to me and I will try to incorporate them going forward. I'm so glad I read this book and recommend it as a MUST READ FOR ALL WRITERS (both fiction and nonfiction).
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I wonder if writing for the target audience means:
1) you need to write what is in your genre
2) write what publishers want
3)write for the audience which is a bit vague and probably based on what has succeeded before as part of the literature.

The second one is more controversial. It also implies a lot more. Do you need to please publishers first or audience first? How do you please yourself and write what you want?
 

Mikeyboy_esq

Senior Member
I interpret "write for your target audience" to mean your READERS. That is what I do and that seems to be what Stephen King was saying in his book. If you don't satisfy your readers, you'll have a very hard time building social proof (meaning 3rd party validation that your works are worth reading... e.g., positive amazon reviews, best-seller status, etc.) and gaining a following of fans. My books are all self-published, so I don't have to answer to a publisher.
 

Suzilla

Member
I know it's good to think of a target audience, but I feel like that should be an afterthought. I'm kind of new to writing anything serious in general, but I think that you should focus on writing a good story first, and the target audience should be an afterthought. Just write what you like, and whatever audience is best suited for your story, edit it to convey to them.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I know it's good to think of a target audience, but I feel like that should be an afterthought. I'm kind of new to writing anything serious in general, but I think that you should focus on writing a good story first, and the target audience should be an afterthought. Just write what you like, and whatever audience is best suited for your story, edit it to convey to them.

I agree, that you should start with a good story. But you should factor in your target audience. I mean that should be engrained in you, as part of your inspiration and your voice as a writer. Waiting to the end to edit for what you think are their needs seems counter-intuitive and cumbersome. The story and the style, choice of words etc. that should be targeted to your reader as you write. And there is no reason not to do this, they are not mutually exclusive.

What is your reasoning here? Why would you take this path?
 
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