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On Writing by Stephen King
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On Writing (edition 2002)

by Stephen King

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13,177385166 (4.21)285
Member:jimcripps
Title:On Writing
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Pocket (2002), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:writing

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On Writing by Stephen King

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Showing 1-5 of 368 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would. I'd recommend it to anyone who's looking for a book about writing. It's not gospel, but it offers a lot of quality information. I'm sure plenty of it feel repeated (active not passive voice, to be a writer you must read). Take from it what works for you.

It certainly contains a lot of autobiography along the way, the first section (C.V.) is entirely a memoir. But I liked that aspect, as someone who enjoys reading about other's stories. Even in the more writing oriented sections, there is still a trail of his memoir, but I think it stops it from feeling dry. If you want a straight writing guide, read 'The Elements of Style'.

It's broken into 4 main parts: C.V., Toolbox, On Writing, and On Living. This is followed by an example of editing a first draft, and some recommended reading from Stephen King. Overall, it's a pretty easy read and certainly provides some solid advice for the early (or hobby) writer. He explains everything he covers in plain English.

TL;DR: I learned from it and enjoyed it. ( )
  carmacreator | Jun 13, 2018 |
So far the best advice and most inspirational book on writing, and there are lots of them. Don't have to love his books to appreciate his love of writing. Worth reading more than once or as needed. ( )
  LJCain | May 15, 2018 |
The title is dead on. What works best about this book is King's ability to capture the essence of his life as a writer, his process, and most importantly, the thrill writing provides. His enthusiasm is infectious.

It's a bonus that the guy is flat out funny. The few anecdotes he tells about his early life veer between documenting a hard scrabble childhood and hilarious moments that capture a kids ability to find the humor in it all and a writer's ability to show that it did not beat him down but made him what he is. The long, unsupervised periods when he and his brother kicked about while their mother worked provided the space for him to develop his own interests and sensibility.

As for his process....I wish something resembling his process was mine...could be mine.

Mini-spoiler alert regarding his writing advice.

King uses the analogy of writing being for him like the careful unearthing of a fossil. This trope reveals his stories arrive more or less full blown (in a psychological sense at least) ready to be excavated. This does not mean the work is not dynamic and hard but that he is pretty certain that if he works at it dutifully and relatively quickly he is confident he can reveal it to the world. He is an experienced writer who has done this enough to know how things work for him.

His method is linear taking off from "What if..." questions. Everything is subordinated to the story (especially any obsession with plot) which makes perfect sense for writers who are archeologists or like bloodhounds on a scent. What does this tell us about King? He is through and through a natural story teller in the genres he works.

Many writers--no real surprise here--are not very good story tellers or, at least, not natural ones. They are less like a bloodhound hot on a scent and more like a bloodhound asked to put together a jigsaw puzzle. For such writers, the work of plotting is detailed and excruciating. (If you don't think that someone working in this way can put together good stories try reading a few things by Joseph Conrad.)

If you are interested in King, read this book. If you are a writer--natural storyteller or not--read this book. You will come away with some serviceable writing advice and feeling more sanguine about the task itself.

Finally, it may be helpful to know that this is the first book that I have ever read by Stephen King. Ever. I do not say this as a badge of pride just as fact. Having read this work, it's a lot more likely that I will do some poking around to see if I like his stories as much as I like reading about how he came to write them. ( )
  tsgood | May 7, 2018 |
This is an honest view of the world of writing from King's perspective. It's a valuable treasure trove of information of which I have read countless times.
Besides the required teaching aspects the book gives, it is the parts where King describes moments in his life that shaped him as a writer that I enjoyed the most. Showing that lifes experiences really do add to your writing. It is simply fascinating and well recommended. ( )
  AnnaleeAdams | May 1, 2018 |
Este libro es una obra bastante inusual para un autor de este calibre; se trata de un libro cuyo tema central es la escritura. Stephen King nos da tips y consejos de cómo podemos empezar a escribir o cómo podemos mejor nuestra escritura… Su tip principal es “Leer mucho y escribir mucho”.

King utiliza un lenguaje sumamente personal y sencillo, por momentos sientes que estás sentado en una sala frente a frente a él mientras te da clases gratuitas de cómo escribir mejor y añade algunas historias personales entre pausas.

Como no es una novela per se sentiría injusticia puntuar este libro con más de cuatro estrellas, aunque puede merecerlas. Es un libro bastante inspirador...

¿Qué van a encontrar dentro de las páginas de este ambicioso proyecto? Pues, algunas pinceladas sobre la vida del escritor durante su niñez, adolescencia y juventud. Hechos que lo llevaron a la escritura y a su elección temática. Herramientas para escribir bien, las preguntas y respuestas más comunes hechas a King, detalles sobre el accidente que sufrió en el 1999 y ejemplos de algunas de las cosas que enseñó en el libro.

Es una tremenda lectura, una que aseguro no leerán solo una vez...

( )
  JorgeLC | Apr 28, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Juti, RikuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knudsen, BertilTranslatorsecondary 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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Haiku summary
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 writes about his life as a writer and how his ability to write saved him after a horrifying accident that almost took his life.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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