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On Writing by Stephen King
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On Writing

by Stephen King

Other authors: Bertil Knudsen (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 313 mentions

English (388)  German (4)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (405)
Showing 1-5 of 388 (next | show all)
If you're a writer, whether MFA professor, blogger shut in your bedroom, journalist, or scribbler pursuing the classic novelist's struggle, everything you need to know is here. It's even entertaining and inspiring.

One of my favorite sections is "Toolbox." Writers: if you ignore grammar or feel yourself "above" classic grammar and syntax, you don't really understand your job. YOU ARE IN THIS TO COMMUNICATE SOMETHING. If you don't do it clearly, you are not doing your job.

It's not all nuts and bolts, though. Another favorite section tells King's healing experience through writing. And his childhood stories never fail to get me ROTFL. ( )
  deeEhmm | Apr 3, 2019 |
Excellent advice, and a bit surprising, as he goes contrary to most other writers on writing, by not advocating much planning. I also found his Cut 10% rule a bit of a surprise, but it makes sense. I love his reading suggestions, and I am positively shocked by his one and only Excercise/Challenge for the reader. Seems like a good man (too bad he had to cut most of the two pages of community service in one of his books -helping alcholics off the street is nice for society, but I can understand why Tabby overruled it...)
Peace,
ShiraDestinie,
27 December, 12014 H.E. (Human Era) ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
Quite simply one of the most inspiring books out there. Its unique structure - part biography, part textbook (or toolbox...) - is memorable and engaging, and full of solid advice for new writers (and rather a good many established ones too, truth be told).

It's one of those books that makes you itch to start writing. If that's what you're looking to do, I strongly suggest you give this a read. If not, it's still an interesting look at how Uncle Stevie goes about doing what he does.

It's also very clear on the evils of adverbs... I can think of one or two people I should really forward a copy to. ( )
  Sammystarbuck | Feb 23, 2019 |
I had read bits and pieces before, but never the whole thing. It's exactly what I needed at this stage in my life. Love it, love him. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
This is a memoir disguised as a book about writing and whoever said this is helpful for writers lied big time. Liar liar pants on fire. Seriously, this is the worst type of book for an artist. There's nothing in this that hasn't been said a dozen other times. Write, revise, and his weird obsession with not writing words that end in ly, like finely, lightly.

There's actual books out there about craft, that teach it and explain it, so why is this book seen as the book everyone fucking needs ugh.

James Scott Bell, and many others have done said books teaching and explaining the craft, the mechanics, the bare bones of story, writing, characters. This one is SK's memoir, of his bitterness, his vices, how they impacted his life and his writing, but there's nothing here that someone would consider the best book about writing or that someone would recommend it to a beginner.

The 2 stars are for the memoir parts, which were interesting, but as a teaching book/what it's advertised as I'd rate it 1 star without qualms.

So if you want to read this for the writing parts, just give yourself a favor and don't. Skip it. There's better stuff out there. ( )
1 vote Criticalnes | Jan 14, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 388 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Knudsen, BertilTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Juti, RikuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Honesty's the best policy. -- Miguel de Cervantes
Liars prosper. -- Anonymous
Dedication
This book is dedicated to Amy Tan, who told me in a very simple and direct way that it was okay to write it.
First words
I was stunned by Mary Karr's memoir, The Liar's Club.
Quotations
"I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs and I will shout it from the rooftops."
"... there is a huge difference between story and plot. Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty and best kept under house arrest." (page 170)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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On Writing tells of

writer's background more than rules

aspirants should learn.

(legallypuzzled)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743455967, Mass Market Paperback)

Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King's On Writing really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists. The memoir is terrific stuff, a vivid description of how a writer grew out of a misbehaving kid. You're right there with the young author as he's tormented by poison ivy, gas-passing babysitters, uptight schoolmarms, and a laundry job nastier than Jack London's. It's a ripping yarn that casts a sharp light on his fiction. This was a child who dug Yvette Vickers from Attack of the Giant Leeches, not Sandra Dee. "I wanted monsters that ate whole cities, radioactive corpses that came out of the ocean and ate surfers, and girls in black bras who looked like trailer trash." But massive reading on all literary levels was a craving just as crucial, and soon King was the published author of "I Was a Teen-Age Graverobber." As a young adult raising a family in a trailer, King started a story inspired by his stint as a janitor cleaning a high-school girls locker room. He crumpled it up, but his writer wife retrieved it from the trash, and using her advice about the girl milieu and his own memories of two reviled teenage classmates who died young, he came up with Carrie. King gives us lots of revelations about his life and work. The kidnapper character in Misery, the mind-possessing monsters in The Tommyknockers, and the haunting of the blocked writer in The Shining symbolized his cocaine and booze addiction (overcome thanks to his wife's intervention, which he describes). "There's one novel, Cujo, that I barely remember writing."

King also evokes his college days and his recovery from the van crash that nearly killed him, but the focus is always on what it all means to the craft. He gives you a whole writer's "tool kit": a reading list, writing assignments, a corrected story, and nuts-and-bolts advice on dollars and cents, plot and character, the basic building block of the paragraph, and literary models. He shows what you can learn from H.P. Lovecraft's arcane vocabulary, Hemingway's leanness, Grisham's authenticity, Richard Dooling's artful obscenity, Jonathan Kellerman's sentence fragments. He explains why Hart's War is a great story marred by a tin ear for dialogue, and how Elmore Leonard's Be Cool could be the antidote.

King isn't just a writer, he's a true teacher. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:46 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Stephen King reflects on how his writing has helped him through difficult times and describes various aspects of the art of writing.

» see all 6 descriptions

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