September 1, 2014

Tips for Writing Horrifically Effective Content with Stephen King

It’s a little strange to acknowledge that someone as famous and prolific as Stephen King is perhaps the ultimate ghostwriter. Then again, what about Stephen King and his writing isn’t strange? In 1977, King was frustrated with the industry standard that made it difficult to publish more than a single novel per year. Thus, King began publishing using the pen name Richard Bachman.

King published four novels before his secret was exposed, making this one of the greatest publishing tricks in literary history. As a great ghostwriter, Stephen King has a lot of tips for ghostwriters and content creators in general.

Article Writing Tips for Horrifically Effective Content

“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.” – Stephen King

Now, there’s nothing wrong about giving up all your secrets, just be sure to space it out effectively. After all, if you want to brand yourself as a thought leader in a particular industry, you have to provide useful content – but you always want to have something to say.

To do this, spread out your knowledge over a series of blogs or articles. The more in-depth you get on a particular topic, the more valuable the information is and the more content you can squeeze out of your knowledge.

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” – Stephen King

Really, Mr. King?

While this might seem counterintuitive at first, it makes complete sense. Shouldn’t writers have and develop our own unique voices? The more that we rely on 3rd party sources such as a thesaurus to do the writing for us, the less of our voice remains in the content. Make your content your own – natural and authentic.

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination but should finish in the reader’s.” – Stephen King

Remember, article writing and written online content should be concise and effective. When we include superfluous descriptions, we muck up the idea and sometimes make it difficult to follow the point of the piece. Surprisingly, you can have very clear and descriptive writing in just a few words.

Word economy is everything. Your words are like dots on the page, and it’s the job of the reader to connect them all.

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” – Stephen King

To unleash your voice and personality in your article writing, write without any inhibitions. Write as though no one will read it. Once you get all of your ideas and thoughts onto the page, then that’s the time to critique it with an editor’s eye, not beforehand.

Article writing in mental privacy allows you to get all your ideas out. While they may not be the “best” ideas, at least you have the opportunity to develop and revise them with your open-door-edit.

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Amie Marse


Amie Marse Amie Marse is the founder of Content Equals Money, a small content generation firm based in Lexington, KY. She’s been a passionate freelance writer turned business owner for over 7 years. Her philosophy is that the essentials of content marketing do not change from the small business to the Fortune 500 level, and that creativity trumps budget every time.

8 Reactions

  1. This is a scarily wonderful post :)

    I like this sentence of yours: “To unleash your voice and personality in your article writing, write without any inhibitions.”

    This is what I am working on with my blogs. There are too many “canned” blog posts out there with a been-there-done-that feel. In my latest startup magazine/blog, http://www.onSMB.com , I try to encourage this by covering topics in a (very) personal point of view.

    But I tend to avoid rants or negative remarks, though… I want my posts to be constructive, not destructive.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Awesome article and great infographic!

    I grew up reading Stephen King. What a great writer.

    When I write, I usually do so in a quiet space.

    But, sometimes…if I’m in the mood, I have classic rock blasting in the background.

    Whatever works, right?

    The Franchise King®

  3. Love this article particularly the tip to write with the door closed to find your own voice. I’ve been struggling to balance my own very honest opinions with being politically acceptable. I will try separating the processes of writing vs. editing to help write in my own voice with no limitations.

  4. I need help I love these tips but I have all the fundimentals I need help anyone? What it is I need a town for my book preferably a small town with prehaps 4000 population some where scenic but not to sunny and though small the town has a college or uni and a high street or center of shops also if possible with some magic or history myths or legends about the town, and its got to have a decent name nothing like wala wala washington lol, I’d be greatfull for any ideas. Also your opinion, is there a market for a late teenage/adult magical,horror,adventure,romance and maybe even slight comedy, would a book like this (a good book) do well? Any other tips, thanks xxx

  5. “Write with your own voice”: true and valuable.
    Yet, too many writers overdo it, and they slip easily into “okay, man, I’m not interested in all your intimate thoughts and details” ground. Balance is key!

  6. Amie: Talking about wording, should you use the word “horror” together with writing content? Maybe I am a too sensitive person due the fact that I am not into horror movies! ;)

    With that said, great inspiration on how find your own natural voice! :)

  7. I describe myself to most as a novice, spin-off writer… being one of those who turns the words of others into readable or inspiring works of art and/or novels. I mainly do this for ministers, missionaries, and child advocates, while occasionally writing my own social or political pieces. And with this short introduction (either you’re intrigued or you are not), I can only add that normally I don’t get overly inspired to re-think present books or television series, but ‘Under The Dome’ has had my imagination doing mental gymnastics in regards to some creative plot twists and platforms that could be further developed and worked in. I have found myself analyzing the program (haven’t read the book), and have found myself sort of scoring it. ??? Maybe that’s what writers do – even ones like me, and also because I wanted to see it do well. But in studying its appreciative merits (in an objective way, that only an outsider can do), I began also thinking about ‘what was wrong or missing’. –What it was that might be keeping it from being ‘all’ that it could be within other dimensions and flow. I’d like to share these thoughts with you, if interested.

    Sincerely,
    S. Brown

    [Edited by Editor]

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