5 Stephen King Quotes Every Writer Should Heed

Friday, September 16 by Karen Murdock

Prolific horror author Stephen King once called himself the "literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries," but these Stephen King quotes prove the author of "Carrie" and "The Shining" is no hack. On the contrary, Stephen King is a force in American literature and culture, not to mention whip smart and wickedly funny.

"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." Whether you're penning the great American novel or updating your online profile, if you choose wimpy verbs devoid of meaning they require performance-enhancing adverbs, all you do is call attention to the lameness of your writing. Next time you catch yourself slipping in an adverb, remember this Stephen King quote from "On Writing" and just say no.

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." A writer refusing to read is like a chef refusing to eat, yet so many writer wannabes refuse to touch a single book out of fear it might "influence" their work. If that describes you, it's time to shred your notebooks and go back to the day job or head down to the library and get serious. If you're still not convinced by this Stephen King quote, compare King's list of bestselling books to yours. That's right, you don't have any. 

"Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around." In a culture drowning in reality television and celebrity memoirs, life sometimes seems like nothing more than grist for the mill or as a writer might put it, "material." This Stephen King quote reappraises the relative values of life and art and challenges you to rethink the role of art in your life. And if you're an artist or writer, it means even more: Don't live for the sake of your art; create art for the sake of your life.

“My candy of choice is Junior Mints. And while I don’t bring bootleg food into the movies, I do bring bootleg toothpicks. Then, as I relax in my seat, I take a toothpick and poke five or six Junior Mints onto it. It ends the dreaded Chocolate Hand and it’s also kind of fun to eat candy off a stick. I call them Mint-Kebabs.” You might have trouble imagining the author of "Cujo" and "Pet Sematary" indulging his sweet tooth, but then again, it's a little creepy to harpoon chocolates in a dark movie theater. This Stephen King quote reveals how a dark imagination springs from a wistful inner child. After all, Stephen King taps into your darkest monster-under-the-bed nightmares.

"Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty." If this Stephen King quote sounds like something out of Machiavelli or Sun Tzu, it's because the master of horror knows something about manipulating the emotions of others. You can go on believing your girlfriend about your creative genius, but you probably better seek a second opinion.

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