- Published: 2010
- Number of pages: 288 pages
- Format: MOBI
- File Size: 0.00 MB
- Authors: Stephen King
Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.
Editorial Reviews: Review “A one-of-a-kind classic.”–The Wall Street Journal”This is a special book, animated by a unique intelligence, and filled with useful truth.”—Michael Chabon”On Writing had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.”–Roger Ebert“The best book on writing. Ever.”–The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) About the Author Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes If It Bleeds, The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and a television series streaming on Peacock). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower, It, Pet Sematary, and Doctor Sleep are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest-grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2020 Audio Publishers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
Reviews from Amazon users which were colected at the time this book was published on the website:
⭐So what drives Stephen King to write? This is the book to learn the reason Mr. King writes daily, and what tips he gives to those who want “to write the next great novel” so that they, too, can be successful. As one who has taken part in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) since 2012, it was the first book I added to my library to become a better writer.Mr. King recommends to 1000 words per day. Even at 5 days a week, for 50 weeks, you would finish with 250,000 words, which is the size of 2-3 novels in a year. However, the main goal is to make writing a daily habit, and that is just one of the many tips that you learn in the book.I recommend the audio version along with the book (hardback, paperback or Kindle version). Mr. King is your narrator, and he truly brings his words to life in his presentation.If you are looking for a book on the genre that Mr. King is best known, you might want to pass. However, if you want to learn what makes an author take up the pen or typewriter to earn their daily bread with poetry and/or prose, or you want to earn your daily bread with YOUR poetry and/or prose, this is the book for your professional library. Oh, and read it ALL the way through before putting the book’s golden nuggets of information into practice. In the last couple of chapters, he truly teaches the magic of the written word, and it will make more sense when you have read through the book from start to finish.
⭐My primary writing project during the past year has been to write a memoir. Being new to the genre, I started by publishing my father’s memoir, enrolled in an online writing course, read numerous writing books, and reviewed a few good memoirs. Stephen King’s book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, touches on each of these activities.The breadth of this memoir comes as a surprise—what is a memoir of a craft anyway? King divides his memoir into several parts, including:• C.V. (17-101).• What Writing Is (103-137).• On Writing (141-249).• On Living: A Postscript (253-270).• And Furthermore, Part I: Door Shut, Door Open (271-284).• And Furthermore, Part II: A Booklike (285-288).• Further to Furthermore, Part III (289-291).His chapters are preceded by three forewords and, in spite of its length, this memoir reads quickly—but not too quickly. Still, the breadth of this work comes from the way that King weaves his life and his craft together—a visitor to the King house might be advised to forbear exploring the closets! What the heck; let’s explore.King is an author and a household name. He has written numerous (35+) books, many of which have also appeared in film. As an example, his breakout work, Carrie, sold first as a paperback novel (1973) and was released three years later as a horror film.Interestingly, Tabitha, King’s wife, rescued an early manuscript of Carrie from the trash, as King recalls:“I had four problems with what I’d written. First, … the story didn’t move me emotionally. Second, … I didn’t much like the lead character. Carrie White seemed thick and passive, a ready-made victim. … Third, … [I] was not feeling at home with either the surroundings or my all-girl cast of supporting characters. … Fourth, … the story wouldn’t pay unless it was pretty long. … I couldn’t see wasting two weeks, maybe even a month, creating a novella I didn’t like and wouldn’t be able to sell. So I threw it away.” (76-77)But, confronted with his Ideal Reader (Tabitha) telling him that this manuscript had promise, King went back and gave Carrie his best shot.This notion of an Ideal Reader is interesting. King writes for his wife, Tabitha, who happens also to be an author, which seems most fortunate because she can articulate her opinions to King in actionable language. King explains:“Call that one person you write for Ideal Reader. He or she is going to be in your writing room all the time: in the flesh once you open the door and let the world back in to shine on the bubble of your dream, in spirit during the sometimes troubling and often exhilarating days of the first draft, when the door is closed.” (219)King sees the Ideal Reader as particularly helpful in judging story pace—“the speed at which your narrative unfolds”—and the details to include in your backstory—“all the stuff that happened before your tale began but which has an impact on the front story” (220-223).Part of the back story in King’s memoir evolves into front story in his postscript where he describes in detail his experience of being run over by a Dodge van in June of 1999, while walking down a country road in rural Maine (253-255). This story of his near-death experience might have been just an interesting aside, except for the fact that King had motivational problems in finishing this memoir back in that summer (265). I suspect that his life story suddenly became a slightly higher priority, having been thrown 14 feet in the air (259) and improbably lived through the experience.Before I wrap up this review, let me make one more observation. King has an interesting view of plot. He describes plot as too big a hammer (a jackhammer) for normal use by fiction author and he prefers to motivate his characters through stressful situations (164). If you believe that we act out of our identities, then no two characters will respond the same way to a given tricky situation. How a story evolves out of a situation is therefore interesting and potentially surprising because people discover the character in themselves as they are challenged by life’s situations—we are ultimately strangers to ourselves; that is, until we are not. The thrill in the thriller is therefore hard to duplicate with a plot-line where the author already knows where the story will go and how it will get there—it is better to scrape the plot and discover the character the same way that a reader might. Therefore, King looks for strong situations and explores interesting what-if scenarios to challenge his characters and writes intuitively about how they respond (169).Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, is an interesting and helpful book for wannabe and experienced authors both, because he explores both writing and the writing life. Film buffs might also read this book to garner the backstory on his films, many of which are now cult classics. Personally, I read this book mostly because I like to read and love to write—perhaps, you do too.
⭐I’ve written and published three novels, so I figure I’m still in the learning stages of the craft. I’ve read quite a few craft of writing books and learned a lot from each (Save the Cat!, 5 Elements of Story Structure, Dan Brown’s Masterclass). I’ve never read a Stephen King novel (horror is not for me) but I follow him on Twitter and this book had so many 5-star reviews I figured it would be worthwhile. Wrong. The first third is an autobiography. Really, who cares? I skipped ahead. Then he gets into his methods for story development and characters – sometimes interesting, sometimes boring, sometimes weird (developing a story is like digging up a fossil?). King abhors outlines and can hardly say the word ‘plot’. I know that there are successful pantsers out there, but most of the bad stories I read are because the author didn’t plan nearly enough. Many authors say they get “stuck” or have writer’s block. I don’t recognize that problem, probably because I always have an outline to guide me. I already know the story, start to finish, so what’s there to get stuck on? Outlines and story development prior to the first draft are good methods – but not for Mr. King. When he started talking about writing the second draft by advising “put the manuscript in a drawer and leave it there for 6 weeks, then pull it out, take out a pencil and a legal pad…” I was done reading. Paper? Pencils? Really? Yes, this book was written in 2000, but even way back in those dark ages I’ll bet less than one in ten authors wrote on a typewriter. The methods of writing a book should advance with the times, particularly editing. It’s probably time for King’s advice to be relegated to the “Of Historical Interest” section.
⭐Stephen King is a genius. The first part is a memoir, written in short pieces. His life is intriguing, I would have read it just for that. The rest is advice on writing, which he intertwines with his past and his own successes and pitfalls. My only complaint is that the material of the cover shows fingerprints and smudges (I attempted to show in the picture), but it has no effect on the book, so it’s really not a big deal. Highly recommend for writers and non-writers alike.
⭐Every January I start to look inward – thinking about what I achieve next year, and what I need to change to make it happen. Every year I come up against the same challenge: I want to be a fiction writer, but I don’t write fiction. At all.I tell myself I don’t have enough time. Sure, I’m the greatest living novelist to never write a novel, if only I could get time to write the damn thing. Which is why I reached for Stephen King’s On Writing. One of the most successful writers in history must know something about his craft, right?Split into two parts, On Writing first tells the story of what made Stephen King a writer. At times hilarious and moving, but always honest, the first section had me laughing out loud (when his older brother tricks him into wiping his ass with Poison Ivy), marveling at his work ethic (“By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it”), and amazed at his success.I also liked his writing.Now. Here’s a strange thing: he’s one of the most successful authors of all time, and I hadn’t read a single one of Stephen King’s books. I pride myself on the eclectic nature of the books I read, and yet I’ve not so much as flipped to the back cover of the Shining, or even grazed the spine of Carrie. Horror isn’t a genre I’d pick up without some serious prompting, so maybe I needed a book like this to show me all the great stuff I was missing out on (straight afterwards I went out and bought a collection of his short stories, so it likely won’t be a problem for long). But King’s success is no accident – this cat can write.The second section is Uncle Stevie’s how-to-guide for writers – a kind of framework for thinking about how you get the words down on the page, what words they should be (“The road to hell is paved with adverbs”), and getting rid of the words that don’t belong (“To write is human, to edit is divine”).It’s this framework that separates On Writing from the rest of the pack; it helps you understand how the small stuff fits in to the big stuff – it reminds you how narrative, dialogue, character, sentence, and paragraph work together to create the whole story, without getting bogged down in the details for too long. I’ve not read anything else that paints the whole picture in a way that On Writing does, nor anything that fills you with the confidence to sit down in front of a blank page.Inspirational is what it is.Time to boot up the laptop and pop the kettle on again I think…
⭐I bought this book for my partner’s dad last Christmas to encourage him to write, and he also bought it for my partner (apparently it makes a great gift!) so I’ve snuck in there and read it first.It took me a while to get into this book, and I think that’s because I was desperate to get to the writing advice bit. I was often tempted to just skip forward, but I persevered with the initial chapters (they’re not boring by any means, I just wanted the writing advice!)The first part of the book is a kind of memoir, as King recounts different events in his life that relate to his writing style and the genre he writes in too. It’s well written and enjoyable throughout, but I particularly like the later stages. I think everyone loves a good struggle-to-success story, and King’s is a great one. You can’t help but feel for him as he works hard to support his family and still manages to fit his writing in on the side. Just reading it made me want to write more and made me realise that excuses just don’t cut it – we’re all tired and busy, but if you really want to do something then you just get on and do it.And then we get to the part where he sells Carrie and I actually had tears in my eyes. When he’s told the amount of money he’s getting for it, and looks around and the tiny, terrible houses he’s living in, and knows his life is going to change – I think it’s every writer’s dream. I adore success stories like this.The actual writing advice is all very solid. Some of it is worded in a brilliant way that might cause a little revelation in you, but other bits are pretty standard advice that you’ll hear from all kinds of writers and editors. As always, there’s no magic formula for becoming a great writer or writing an amazing story – and anyone who tells you otherwise is not to be trusted – but there are certain skills you can develop and hone. I think the charm here is King’s bluntness and simple way of putting things – there’s no fluff here, no false hope, just a lot of great advice.I’d definitely recommend this book, for any King fans who want to know more about him and how he writes his books, and for aspiring writer’s who want some straightforward advice. It doesn’t promise to make you a better writer, but with this advice, it can’t make you any worse.
⭐It was hard to put down. As always, his writing style is addictive and makes you want to keep reading.Apart from an autobiography, I didn’t know what to expect, perhaps a few tips on writing. But no, he gives us more. He gives us the tools, and practical advice as to how we should write. He gives rules to follow and things to avoid. He has a “Do as I say, not do as I do” policy in regards to adverbs for example.As a writer myself, this book makes you want to re-evaluate your writing and sharpen your own tools. Sure, you cannot write like your favourite authors, but you can develop your own style and improve yourself. He tells it like a university lecturer and as a friend. This is the tone that inspires you to work harder. He believes in you.The autobiography itself tells us about his childhood, the first book he wrote, his inspirations, how his wife contributes to his works, the publication of his first novel, to how he survived a horrible accident. He may not look it, but Stephen King is a fighter, he carried on writing. It kept him going. This is an uplifting book.Who can possibly give the best advice on writing other than the best storyteller?Essential for Writers, a Must-have for King fans.
⭐This is a review of the book On Writing by Stephen King.As the title suggests, this is a book written for nervous authors looking for success by a frighteningly successful author. This book was on my wish list for a long time before I finally got down to reading it, and now I am wondering why I waited so long.Naturally, I started off on the book with a great deal of anticipation. The first half of the book is a kind of brief autobiography of Stephen King, going back to his childhood and stressing the factors that shaped him as an author and his own efforts at achieving a name for himself. He started young, something I wish I had done. For a fellow author (light years behind King on the path to success) this part makes for fascinating reading, even if it does not directly address the title and intention of the book. . It does talk about an author’s struggles and failures and successes, and makes you want to emulate him.Now to the “on writing”, second part of the book. I have this to say straight away: On Writing did not teach me much new in terms of new lessons on writing for authors. I really have not kept count of the number of books and blog posts and articles on writing I have read. I had already—and in most cases repeatedly—come across almost all of the finer points of writing King talks about.What sets King above most others is how he presents things—his style of writing. That is uniquely Stephen King. That is uniquely enjoyable, and because it was enjoyable, I found myself rapt in what King had to say, and absorbing everything he said better. He covers the gamut of writers and writing, from Hemingway to Grisham, and he does not leave much unsaid.Putting it in another way, King gets the point across better than most others, and that is what makes this book worth the cost and the read. At least for writers.
⭐Towards the end, Stephen King confesses that this book took him a lot longer to finish than usual (<3 months). The first part - his memoir - is a carefully crafted confession of his addiction to drugs, beer and writing. It's an fantastic rags to riches story.The second part of the book - which is the "On Writing" segment - gets put on hold after a horrific accident left him on a long road to recovery. The style of writing here is much more off the cuff - this is the kind of stuff that rolls off the tongue for Stephen King and easily rolls off the pen as well. Here, he runs through some solid writing tips that I think quite a few people will be aware of - don't use too many passive sentences, avoid adverbs like the plague. Think of storytelling in paragraphs rather than sentences. It's a George Orwell approach - don't use two words where you think one word will do. Don't let the writing get in the way of the story. "Elements of style" by William Strunk is the source for much of his thinking.I am far from Stephen King's Ideal Reader (IR). I personally prefer a long ramble through the literary forest rather than speeding to the destination. It's clear that Stephen King doesn't spend hours agonising over the structure of a sentence - he is on story autopilot, flying through the details and the happenings. Some of the tips added in at the end, on how to approach a literary agent, are acquired from a friend struggling to break through now. It does appear that success came to Stephen at a different time. I'm not sure his style of writing would be the harbinger of success for a new writer today. It does make for accessible reading, and I'm keen to buy a couple of his novels to see how it works.What I got most from this is that Stephen King seems like a really likeable guy and a great teacher - he has no time for BS. He says what comes to mind, even if it is the word BS. If you are a truly bad writer, he can't help. But he has laid out some solid rules that will make a good writer into a better one.
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