Twentieth Anniversary Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King
ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S TOP 100 NONFICTION BOOKS OF ALL TIME
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.
The twentieth-anniversary audio edition includes Owen King reading his essay, “Recording Audiobooks for My Dad, Stephen King,” and a recorded conversation with Joe Hill and Stephen King.
On Stephen King's writing
The book is excellent. Stephen King is the best and worst writing today. He'll never read an email from me so perhaps he might here. Advice: You write beautifully. Stop writing horrible, gruesome and start telling those John D. MacDonald slice of American life stories or write epics like The Stand, a book I consider one of the top ten best books of the 20th century. Had to stop reading the horror; just grossed me out.
Remarkably not about writing
I don't know who thought it was a good idea to take a memoir and a how-to book and just kind of shuffle them together like two decks of cards. Keep them as two seperate books and I might by both of them. But I want to know about writing from one of the most successful contemporary authors.
The memoir part is moderately entertaining. It's interesting and somewhat encouraging to hear how King got into writing and how some of his life experiences shaped his writing style (a Buick that eats people? Whatever, Stevie!). The parts "on writing" describe an ideal style of writing that King admits is not even his own. He says to avoid adverbs and gives three uncharitable examples of how adverbs make their sentences weaker. Then he admits that he does this in his own writing. He says to "avoid needless words" and yet he prattles on about how his uncle carried around this gigantic toolbox even to fix something that only needed a single screwdriver, the whole story serving to drive home the point that writers have metaphoric toolboxes. Really?
Much verbiage about nothing seems to be the theme of King's writing. I was hoping to gain some insight into how someone who wastes so much paper getting to the point seems to sell so many books. The one insight he shared--it's all about story. Not character, setting, theme, or anything else that might define someone as a master writer. People buy books for story--what happens next.
I don't understand the other reviewers who suggest that this is somehow a complete or definitive book about the writing craft. It's far from it. More like a guy just thinking out loud about a couple of tips and tricks on writing. There are better writing guides out there. Check out Brooks Landon and his audio lectures about writing.
How lucky we are
...to have this GENIUS tell us in his own voice his personal story and his advice for the aspiring writer. The guy is not only an insanely great writer, he seems like a helluva nice one too.