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On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing (edition 2001)

by Stephen King

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12,350357205 (4.2)277
Title:On Writing
Authors:Stephen King
Info:New English Library (2001), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:eBook, On Audible, On Kindle, Your library

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On Writing by Stephen King

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Showing 1-5 of 339 (next | show all)
Stephen King's On Writing shines as both an affecting memoir of his career as an author, and a collection of inspiring advice (indeed a very useful toolkit) on the art of writing. King, a master storyteller, here shows a deft hand for non-fiction too, with a well-crafted book that will satisfy equally the ardent fans of his novels and the aspiring writers. ( )
  ghr4 | Mar 6, 2017 |
I read this as a reader, not a writer, but came away feeling all inspired to give writing a try. I'll have to see if that desire pans out to anything. As well as a different way to think about the craft of writing, I also enjoyed the introspection into his own life and experiences. I'm not a fan of everything he's written (I want the hours I spent on Beneath the Dome back for one) but some of his books are among my absolute favorites and bits of others have stuck with me through the years (the ending of Pet Semetary for one) and it was really interesting to get a glimpse of how he sees his own process. ( )
  duchessjlh | Mar 5, 2017 |
I don't have much to compare to (thus uncertainty on whether to give it 4 or 5 stars--as if I had any idea), but I thought it was good. There were a number of points I hadn't considered that, when I'd done so, showed wide means/opportunity for improvement in my beginner's attempt at writing. (e.g. to put emphasis on people and situations even in the midst of an ambitious, overaching plot)

On an overall/practical level, it's worth noting that about half the book is basically just a narrative of Stephen King's life (mostly the earlier days). It's interesting and fun to read, but you could actually skip the first many pages, before he comes to laying out his writing approach and suggestions.

Hmmm. ( )
  Venryx | Mar 2, 2017 |
I'm a huge fan of Stephen King and have dabbled in creative writing in the past, so I found this book particularly fascinating. I love the stories about how he first started writing, and the advice for writers is genuinely useful and easy to understand - it's always worth listening to someone who has sold a gazillion (probably) books since the 1970s! I would recommend this book to anyone who is similarly a King fan and would like some tips on how to improve your writing. ( )
1 vote mooingzelda | Feb 6, 2017 |
Tara Moss reminded me! Stephen King is the author who made me believe I could write! I recommend 'On Writing' to any aspiring writer. Truly inspirational, no matter what genre, lit, NF you write in. ( )
1 vote KimFalconer | Jan 29, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (23 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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Honesty's the best policy. -- Miguel de Cervantes
Liars prosper. -- Anonymous
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.
"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)
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On Writing tells of

writer's background more than rules

aspirants should learn.


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)

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