Book Review: Stephen King’s On Writing

On Writing - A Memoir Of The CraftStephen King On Writing by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are many books on writing published each year, and every author seems to have something to day about what to do or what not to do when writing, as well as offering what tips they can on how to get published. In the end, most of the books go over the same material, just with different words. How is Stephen King’s book any different?

Well for one thing, he’s Stephen King.

If Colonel Sanders tells people how to fry chicken, you listen. Love him or hate him, Stephen King has sold a whole heap load of books. He’s written bucket loads. Why wouldn’t you want to read what he has to say on the matter? I suppose if you’re a “serious” author who doesn’t care for all that “genre” garbage, then you might look down your nose at this book. However, the fact is that many of the authors we view today as literary greats were genre writers of their time. Dickens? Twain? Come on.

It really helps that in this book, King avoids trying to make ultimatums. There’s no one way to writing, and he acknowledges that. But he also says that you can learn from other people’s experiences, and that’s true, too. So he discusses how he became a writer, and what sort of sacrifices he made for the trade. He talks about style and form, and he does it all in such a readable manner.

One thing leaps off the page: Stephen King is a master storyteller. Toward the beginning of the book, he tells a story of when he was little and suffered a series of ear infections. The details he includes make the story riveting and memorable, and I finished reading it amazed at how well he had pulled it off. I’ve talked to people who are convinced that nothing interesting ever happens to them. They read stories by others, and they wish they had those sort of stories to tell. I don’t believe that for a minute. Everyone has interesting stories that happen to them every day. The trick is how those stories are told. King’s childhood is just like anyone else’s–he just knows how to present it so it’s fascinating.

Don’t believe me? Give the book a try, even if you’re anti-King. Be aware that the book has its share of four letter words, but other than that, I can’t recommend it enough.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment