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On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing (edition 2001)

by Stephen King

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11,234316250 (4.19)239
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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English (302)  French (4)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (316)
Showing 1-5 of 302 (next | show all)
I loved hearing the difficulties and joys of writing. Even better were the "rules." Even though I don't write fiction, everything he says in the book applies. ( )
  tangentrider | Aug 27, 2015 |
Very interesting look at his life. The second half is by far the most useful to someone interested in writing. His techniques and approaches are basic but effective. ( )
  LJMax | Aug 21, 2015 |
This book would have been a mind blower three years ago. King is fantastic at writing. That's a given. The little back stories on his life were interesting though not particularly useful (any more than reading words written by any other great writer). The On Writing bit was useful, but nothing that dazzled. There were no lightbulbs or anything. Of course, limit use of adjectives. Of course, avoid passive verbs. There wasn't anything really crazy useful in it, which was disappointing. Then again, it's been out almost ten years now. I guess everyone has adopted these techniques since then. Oh well, still an interesting read about the life and work of a great author. ( )
  rachelmccoy | Aug 18, 2015 |
The memoir part is amazing. King is a ridiculously good writer. I absolutely hated the writing tips part. I think it may have to do with hating self help books, but while I read it I couldn't help but feel he just wanted to get paid for telling how he came up with the ideas for his books. The gist of it is, he came up with his ideas because he's creative. And he is, there is no denying that.

There are no actual writing tips in the book, nor should their be really. Either you are a savant and can write a story without any help, or you learn by doing and get better with each book. There is no great secret to writing that you can impart with a book on writing. It's either you were born with knowing how to impart a story in an entertaining way or you learn how to do it. That's it.

I do hope one day King writes a memoir because it'll easily be the best memoir ever written. ( )
  scifi_jon | Jun 16, 2015 |
Back in college, I took two creative writing courses. I even had it in my mind to get a Minor in Writing. I mean, I loved doing it. I was excited to be able to meet other aspiring writers, maybe get some tidbits, and make some cool new friends. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Every week we sat in seminar circles critiquing each person's writing. "Wow, I really liked the way you narrated your story." "I liked the plot twist at the end." "I didn't relate to the character at all." "This was good." "This was bad." To sum it all up, all I got were vague comments, and stares from pretentious people who all thought their work was better than mine. And, looking back, the same probably goes for me. Suffice to say, I eventually changed my minor after six months of pointless lollygagging. The classmates with the lukewarm smiles and uninviting handshakes didn't make me hesitate, either. But of course, I didn't stop writing...I just did it on my own, for fun.

I'm pretty damn sure that there are classes or workshops out there that really work for people. You just gotta know what works for your personality, and for your wallet. And if you want a cheap, quick, yet inspiring alternative, then this is the book. Whether you're an aspiring writer, or simply want to understand the basic writing process for one writer, then look no further. Stephen King explains to those that face the daunting task of writing a few quick tips. Look at it as his resume.

He actually starts out with his CV, a semi-memoir, of his life growing up and some of the significant events that led to who he is today. Even if you don't care about the craft of writing, this section is an interesting journey into his past. Some back story, if you will.

Then he moves on to toolbox section, which is probably, at least for me, the most important part for everyone to read. How often do we come across bad writing? This part at least will give everyone, even those that don't plan to become the next Charles Dickens or J. K. Rowling, some fundamental tools. And of course judging writing is subjective, but that still doesn't hide the errors that everyone makes.

Afterward, he delves into the core of the book, which is all about writing. And out of all the advice that one person could give, I'm sure there's at least one that almost everyone should be able to agree upon: read a lot, and write a lot. You just can't get around that.

The last part talks about his well-publicized accident; well-publicized as in I didn't really know much about what happened until I read about it in this book.

Overall, a really good and quick read. Thus, it'll allow you more time to read other books and get cracking on that novel you've been putting off for over a year. Happy writing!
( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
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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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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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)

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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.

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