Response to Stephen King’s “On Writing.”

Fear could result in bad writing for a number of reasons.  In “On Writing” Stephen King says, “I am convinced fear is the root of all bad writing.”  Obviously there could be other problems contributing to someone’s bad writing, but fear definitely hinders an author’s success. One author might live in fear that he or she may not be able to come up with any creative ideas to start a piece of writing.  Another author might be afraid of readers not liking his or her work.  Critics can be very harsh and I would bet most authors have a hard time handling so many judgmental, negative remarks.

I believe that authors live in fear of how readers might react if they were to take a chance and publish a piece of their writing that may be a little different.  Often, authors aren’t willing to take a risk with their writing not only because publishing a potentially unpopular book or article could waste time and effort, but because readers would criticize these authors’ work.  All of us, deep down, has a fear of being accepted, even authors.

Something that really stuck out to me in “On Writing” was the fact that Stephen King deems it “really bad” to “dress up” the vocabulary in your writing.  This is something that I did often in high school.  When I write papers, I usually have an online Thesaurus handy so that I can look up synonyms for simple words, hoping I can find more sophisticated sounding words to use instead.  Maybe I did this because I thought I would fool most of my high school teachers into thinking I had a better vocabulary than I actually did, or maybe, I had always lived in FEAR that my writing didn’t sound “smart enough.”  The process of looking up synonyms for simple words and replacing smaller words with bigger words takes a large amount of time.  If a person’s writing is better left easy to read and to the point, then why bother wasting time with fancy words?  After reading “On Writing” I am definitely going to work on keeping my writing plain and simple rather than “dressed up.”




About laurengroenig

My name is Lauren Kathleen Groenig and I'm a freshman and George Fox University. I'm from McCall, Idaho, which is two hours north of Boise, Idaho, and I am the oldest child in my family. I love to try new things and have had many jobs throughout high school, some of which include working for Hells Canyon Raft, being a cashier at a local diner, hostessing at a fancy seafood restaurant, and nannying for several different families. I love summertime, country music, and working out.

One response to “Response to Stephen King’s “On Writing.”

  1. I agree with your perspective. I likewise was fascinated with the concept of fear that so easily undermines our writing and compromises the very message the author is trying to convey. As I reflected on this insight, I also thought how often as readers we might also expect such “smart” or “accomplished” writing from authors. We build in our minds a standard that good or great writing must meet certain standards and exist at a specific level of sophistication. And with that mindset we begin to significantly limit the power of words. Writing and the expression allowed through it is so varied and carries its strength in its ability to convey intangible concepts and ideas in tangible methods. But why limit such expression? Obviously there are rules and boundaries. But as I dwelt upon the fear that so readily comes to a writer, I also thought of the limitations the audience puts on said writing. Their is a role for both the writer and the audience. It is never solely one sides responsibility.

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