Sep 17, 2021 • 42M

Episode 281: Writing with the Door Open (Stephen King May Be Wrong)

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

Stephen King says: Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. In this episode, we dare to ask if maybe that’s not always the case. Does having to put your idea into words and get it into another person’s head weaken it--or force you to make it strong?

Links from the pod:

The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage or Fiction by Erik Bork

Great Stories Don't Write Themselves: Criteria-Driven Strategies for More Effective Fiction by Larry Brooks


KJ: The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Jess has criticisms:

A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

And—got a burning question about a writing life issue? Something on your mind you’d love for us to help you with? Email us at We can’t promise to answer everyone, but if we think we could be useful to you (or know someone who can) and if your issue is of interest to other listeners, we might invite you to come on the podcast for a little coaching.

Finally, KJ here with a little news about Author Accelerator’s Book Coach Certification Program. I’m in the middle of it! You might remember this bonus episode, where Jennie Nash and I discussed “Shiny Thing Syndrome” and I was dubious about whether working with other writers as a book coach was a great side gig or a distraction for ME. Since then, I’ve been trying on the coach role in a number of small ways, and I’ve decided to go all in. This program is absolutely everything you need to get started from the editorial, coaching and business perspectives. It’s also entertaining and inspirational and makes me want to leap in right away. Learn more at (Want to see what I’m doing? Click here.)