Stephen King on Writing

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Stephen King’s On Writing gives us a fascinating insight into how one of the most successful authors of all time goes about his craft. Whether you are an aspiring writer looking for some tips from the master, or you just want to know how he creates the thrilling novels that he does, Stephen King’s book on writing will both entertain and inform you.

What Stephen King On Writing Is not, is a dry and boring manual or an “idiot’s guide” to writing. It does cover the techniques that are required to become a good writer, and it covers them very well, but all that good advice is interwoven with fascinating personal accounts of Stephen King’s life as a writer and the book is filled with entertaining anecdotes and insights into what makes King, the man and the author, tick.

The book is basically split up into three sections. The first section is about the life of Stephen King, the second section gives us Stephen King’s take on writing, and the third section covers the period of King’s life after the road accident that nearly cost him his life.

When you first start to read the book, you might think that you have bought an autobiography rather than a book on writing, but king describes this section as being his CV, not an autobiography. What this section does is it puts the rest of the book into perspective by explaining, through humorous and entraining anecdotes, how Stephen King developed as a writer and how much writing has been a part of his life. It shows us, amongst other things, just how much King loves writing and how, despite rejections and his having to take jobs to support himself while we wrote, he continued to perfect his craft and he persevered.

One of the most inspirational sections of Stephen King On Writing, and one that will give every budding author some hope, covers the period of Stephen King’s life when he got his first real breakthrough with his novel Carrie.  The first deal, which was for the hardback rights to Carrie, earned him just $2,500 but, then he got his first big breakthrough with a paperback deal for the novel that amounted to $400,000.

Success came at a personal cost, though, and this Stephen King writing book also covers the author’s battle with drugs and alcohol. Even in this, his darkest hour, King managed to write some of his most famous books.

If you were looking for words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer, don’t be put off by this first autobiographical part to Stephen King’s book about writing. He does come to the mechanics of writing later and it all makes a lot more sense if you read the book from cover to cover.

In the middle section of the book, you get Stephen King’s guide to the art of writing and you won’t be disappointed by what he has to say. Written in King’s easy to read style, the author gives his advice on characterisation, plot development, grammar, style, and just about everything that anyone who has ever tried to write a book would love to know. What’s more, because it is written by Stephen King, you won’t get bored half way through and go and watch the TV instead.

Stephen King On Writing also gives you lots of practical advice, like how much to write a day, how to deal with publishers, his thoughts on writing courses, and how to go about editing your work.

The final part of the book describes the episode that nearly ended not only Stephen King’s writing career, but his life as well. On June 19, 1999, Stephen King was hit by a minivan while he was walking down a road in Lovell, Maine. The accident left King in lot a pain and, for a while, he contemplated retiring.

Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, to give it its full title, is a great read and it is packed full of helpful information for the aspiring author. Even Stephen King’s critics will admit that the guy can tell one of heck of a story and that he knows his craft inside out.  So, even if you are not a king fan, you will still get a lot out this Stephen King book.