It's always helpful for aspiring writers to get advice from their heroes, so whenever Stephen King shares writing advice online, everyone takes notice. And Stephen King's latest piece of advice is so short and simple it will have writers across the world scrambling for a pen to make edits to their latest manuscript, and remove Stephen King's least favorite phrase. According to a tweet recently posted by King, writers should never use the phrase "for a long moment."
A moment, of course, is fleeting by definition — so a "long moment" is a pretty nonsensical phrase. But that doesn't mean we don't see it crop up fairly regularly in literature, and apparently it drives Stephen King crazy. Some of us might be guilty of using this phrase ourselves in our own writing, because it does sound quite poetic — but I think I'm going to trust Stephen King's opinion on this one. After all, he's the one with all the bestselling novels under his belt, not me.
So while you're scanning through your latest work to cut out all the "long moments," you might want to browse through this list of Stephen King's best writing advice that he's shared online over the years, just in case you find any other red flags.
Writing a story or a novel? Great! Want a tip? NEVER use the phrase "for a long moment."— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 25, 2017
Pour Yourself A Cup Of Tea
More & more I believe the secret to successful writing is strong brewed tea.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 23, 2014
Don't Say "Little Did I Know"
When writing narrative prose, you must never start a paragraph with the phrase "Little did I know." I'm not much on "Meanwhile," either.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 15, 2015
Write Through Writer's Block
Also, NEVER Say "For Some Reason"
Aspiring fiction writer? Cool! Here are 2 phrases you must NEVER use: "for a long moment" and "for some reason." Find another way!— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 22, 2017
Apparently this isn't the only time Stephen King has taken issue with the phrase "for a long moment"; all the way back in February, King tweeted about hating this phrase for the first time. The message is clear: no matter how much you want to, NEVER use this phrase.