What Stephen King Can Teach You About Editing

Welcome back! In today’s video how-to, Heather picks up on the literary theme she began last week with “What Dr. Seuss can teach you about copywriting.” In that post, she featured five lessons for good copywriting via the books of Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss).

This week, Heather turns her attention to editing with what Stephen King can teach you about the art. So, tune in to learn how to edit your copy like Stephen King…

Stephen King has some great advice for writers…

His book, On Writing, will teach you a lot about the craft. But Mr. King has a lot to teach us about editing, too…

Tip #1: Get it out

  • Write a first draft – and don’t stop to edit your writing. Just write.
  • This allows our creative brains a chance to play without being stifled by our “inner editor.”

Tip #2: Fix the big stuff

Make sure your writing has impact:

  • Do you have benefit statements?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Does the writing “flow”?
  • Will the voice “click” with your reader?
  • How much text can you slice?

Tip #3: Tweak the little stuff

Get the copy into almost-final draft shape by:

  • Adding subheadlines
  • Fixing misspellings
  • Deleting any additional repeated words/concepts
  • Revising your headline
  • Fixing grammatical errors
  • Shortening long paragraphs
  • Adding bullet points (if needed.)

Tip #4: Print it out, read it out loud and edit again

Don’t skip this step…

It’s amazing what you’ll notice when you read the copy out loud!


photo thanks to phozographer

3 replies
  1. Katie says:

    I agree that everything you’ve listed is good practice, but Stephen King should take his own advice. His books are increasingly verbose and sloppy. Now that he’s a legend, no one will touch his work — which diminishes its quality (in my opinion, of course).


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