“Reading good fiction is like making the jump from masturbation to sex.” If that doesn’t get teenagers reading, nothing will. Although author Stephen King thinks teaching Moby Dick or Dubliners to high school students “is a horrible idea” because “even the bright ones lose heart,” he still feels it’s necessary. “They’ve got to see there are brighter literary worlds than Twilight.” King has lots of good advice for teachers struggling to come up with ideas to challenge students. Whatever is necessary to the story belongs there; whatever isn’t should be left out. He says, “always ask the student writer, ‘What do you want to say?’ Every sentence that answers that question is part of the essay or story. Every sentence that does not needs to go. I don’t think it’s the words per se, it’s the sentences. I used to give them a choice, sometimes: either write 400 words on ‘My Mother is Horrible’ or ‘My Mother is Wonderful.’ Make every sentence about your choice. That means leaving your dad and your snotty little brother out of it.”
King famously dislikes unnecessary words and lazy writing, in particular hateful expressions such as “at this point in time” and “at the end of the day.” He adds “’Some people say’, or ‘Many believe,’ or ‘The consensus is’. That kind of lazy attribution makes me want to kick something. Also, IMHO, YOLO, and LOL.” And just in case it wasn’t clear, he really hates Twilight.