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On Writing by Stephen King
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On Writing (edition 2001)

by Stephen King

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11,098310253 (4.19)234
Member:barringer
Title:On Writing
Authors:Stephen King
Info:New English Library (2001), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:eBook, On Audible, On Kindle, Your library
Rating:****
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On Writing by Stephen King

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» See also 234 mentions

English (296)  French (4)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (310)
Showing 1-5 of 296 (next | show all)
I read this when it first came out. At the time I had written the opening of my own novel and had got it as good as I could. I went through it and applied the rules King gives and good heavens, it was improved. ( )
  Lukerik | May 17, 2015 |
Like his books or not, reading this just made me want to up my game so much more. The man speaks truth and it was really interesting finding out how he got his start as a writer.

A must read for anyone who writes or is interested in putting word to page. I'm not a fan of King's books and this didn't change that. That's not the point. His story fascinated me and to ignore the advice of a man who's been cranking out books for decades is plain old stupid. On Writing will stay on my keeper shelf for a good many years to come. ( )
  Akaria | May 13, 2015 |
This is one of those books that I've meant to read for years but it never seems to be quite the time. Yeah, I probably shouldn't have put it off so long. I've found that a lot of writing guides get to fixated on 'this is how I do it' they don't take in the broader picture, this is very much not that. In fact, it's not a writing guide at all but more a guide to how Stephen King became a writer and some of the most useful things he picked up along the way. I certainly found it useful. Some of it I knew, but it was good to hear it confirmed. Some of it, particularly the stuff about editing, was new and me and interesting for that.

Definitely a book worth reading if you write. ( )
  TPauSilver | May 10, 2015 |
I feel like brother Steve is my best friend after reading this book. I don't think you can read it without feeling like he is dear to your very heart. Aside from that, though, it honestly gave the best practical advice on writing that I think I have ever had. I feel like he opened up his soul to us all as a gift, and even non-writers would find it to be a revealing and worthwhile read if they are fans of this author. ( )
  KR_Patterson | Apr 28, 2015 |
The writing advice itself is classic. King does a great job of balancing Strunk and White with the necessities of particular stories. He imparts it all like a craftsman on a job site who's being shadowed by an apprentice he hopes will learn enough to stick around.

The writing advice is fine, but the personal nature of this book really brings it to life. It sneaks up on you. Much more the mechanics, it's the spirit you get here that really shines. His account of his accident stands with his best writing.

This is a compact book that won't take more than a day or three to read. But you're certain to return to it many times. A real contribution to the craft. ( )
  wreichard | Apr 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 296 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:30 -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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