What makes writing good?

Stephen King believes good writing can’t be taught, but still shares insights from his teaching years. Plus, when to stop writing, the inner voice, and more.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Each week, Evan Peterson rounds up stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out. When Stephen King talks about writing, you should listen. Not many people are as good at anything as he is at explaining what makes writing good.

The Atlantic interviewed King on Tuesday, which is a good thing for all of us.

How Stephen King Teaches Writing: In the debate over whether good writing can be taught, Stephen King firmly believes that, no, it can not. But King used to be an English teacher and still had to teach plenty of non-writers. In the interview, he describes how he did it:

I used to tell (students) that if you could put together a model car or assemble a piece of furniture from directions, you could write a sentence. Reading is the key, though.

The interview reads like a condensed, updated version of his classic guide, On Writing, which is especially good if you don’t have time to read that whole book (though I’d recommend it). It includes his 2014 additions to the excised phrases list, which include acronymic teen speak, and “lazy attribution” phrases like “many believe.”

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.