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On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen…

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (edition 2000)

by Stephen King (Author)

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14,898435263 (4.22)328
Stephen King reflects on how his writing has helped him through difficult times and describes various aspects of the art of writing.
Title:On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Authors:Stephen King (Author)
Info:Scribner (2000), Edition: 1st Edition, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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On Writing by Stephen King


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» See also 328 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 419 (next | show all)
Quite a number of people whom I follow have recommended Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Because it focused on the craft of writing, I decided this was the time to pick it up. Not knowing what to expect, it wasn’t necessarily what I expected. Where other books are straight to the point on how to write better, King illustrated his points with stories. This book is as much a memoir as it is an instructional guide. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it as much as I learned some writing strategies. Read more ( )
  skrabut | Sep 2, 2020 |
When I can deal with Stephen King's plots and stories I read them. To be honest I have only read a few from the prolific writer. They are usually too dark for me but I love his writing.

I keep a copy of 'On Writing' close at hand as a primer for my own writing and to fuel my desires to move from a writer to a published author. When I do make that leap I will have Stephen King's memoir on the craft of writing to thank for the continued confidence and push.

Love his rules on writing, my favorite one is: You become a writer simply by reading and writing. “You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

Thanks Stephen for sharing your gifts and your craft. ( )
  Jolene.M | Jul 30, 2020 |
I'm not really sure what possessed past-me to unhaul this book, but she's ridiculous. Ten years after my first read-through of ON WRITING and I still think this is a fantastic book of tips and tricks and advice. When I read this in 2011, I hadn't read many memoirs and thought it a little pretentious. Nonetheless, I took a lot of his advice - adverbs, dialogue tags, gratuitous descriptions - to heart. Re-reading it now, I understand his voice a bit better, and with the exception of some of the publishing advice (due to the passage of time and the change of the world) this is all still really relevant.

Still, ON WRITING is a bit of an odd duck in that it's not *quite* a memoir and it's not *quite* a book about the craft. If anything, I'd say ON WRITING is a love letter to the act of writing novels, splattered with details and advice. King's passion for his work bleeds through the page, and is twice as evident in the audiobook version, which he reads himself (a treat). Regardless of the slightly stale publishing advice, the writing advice is still sound and it's always fascinating to get a glimpse into a writer's origin story. This is a must-have for writers - established or aspiring. ( )
  Morteana | Jul 10, 2020 |
I listened to this as an audiobook and enjoyed it immensely, and learned some useful information. I do feel that King's advice about plotting (and avoiding it) is not applicable in any way to writing good mystery novels. At best that leads to forgetting threads of the narrative (like the lost murdered chaffeur in "The Big Sleep" and at worst that leads to the wholesale cheating that mars much of Agatha Christie's work. ( )
  Count_Zero | Jul 7, 2020 |
By the end of 2012 I'll be able to call myself a published author without my pants catching on fire. Admittedly neither Some cases of Wilkie's conjecture (to appear, Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society) nor The density of algebraic points in sets definable in o-minimal structures (available from your local library—provided your local library is the Queen's Building Library, Bristol) is likely to ever appear here on Goodreads, but they are both soon to be published, and I did write them.

For people who want to write the kind of stuff that would appear on Goodreads (you know, like books), they could do a lot worse than read On Writing. The mini-autobiography at the start serves to demonstrate that one's background is rather irrelevant if one wants to be an author—King was working in a laundromat when he wrote [b:Carrie|920676|Carrie|Stephen King|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1292955246s/920676.jpg|1552134]. It's also an interesting insight in its own right. King may never write a full memoir, he admits his childhood memories are too patchy for that. The full and frank description herein of King's rise as an author and fall as an alcoholic and drug addict is neither sentimental nor sanctimonious, but simply achieves what it set out to do.

The second and third parts of the book are where we hear about how to be a writer. The tips on writing itself are simple and concise: don't use adverbs, avoid dialogue tags, use the active not passive voice, and realise that your own vocabulary is sufficient without thesaurus enhancements. He also deals with the more practical issues like how often to write, how to write the second draft, and how and when to get an agent. The primary tip he gives is probably the simplest and one of his more quoted remarks: if you want to be a good writer you need to write a lot and you need to read a lot.

The final section deals with the events of June 19th, 1999, (a lot of '19's there, Dark Tower fans). This was the day King was hit by a van and suffered rather terrible injuries. It provides a conclusion for the book, allowing King to explain how writing after the accident was part of the healing process. Admittedly that conclusion looks a bit wobbly when you realise that in 2002, a year after my edition's release, King retired from writing partially due to the pain he felt while sitting for long periods. Thankfully he came back, partly to finish The Dark Tower but mostly, I like to think, because of the message he hammers out at the end of this book: because you should write for love, not money; the love of writing. ( )
  leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Knudsen, BertilTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hobbing, ErichDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juti, RikuTranslatorsecondary 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.
C. V.
First words
I was stunned by Mary Karr's memoir, The Liar's Club.
[Foreword] In the early nineties (it might have been 1992, but it's hard to remember when you're having a good time) I joined a rock-and-roll band composed mostly of writers.
[Second Foreword] This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit.
[Third Foreword] One rule of the road not directly stated elsewhere in this book: "The editor is always right."
"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)
(p79) Look — here's a table covered with a red cloth. ... Do we see the same thing? We'd have to get together and compare notes to make absolutely sure, but I think we do. There will be necessary variations, of course: some receivers will see a cloth which is turkey red, some will see one that's scarlet, while others may see still other shades. ... and a cat with an 8, clearly marked on its back in blue ink ... This is what we're looking at, and we all see it. I didn't tell you. You didn't ask me. I never opened my mouth and you never opened yours. We're not even in the same year together, let alone the same room ... except we are together. We're close. We're having a meeting of the minds.
(p102) The object of fiction isn't grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story ...
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Stephen King reflects on how his writing has helped him through difficult times and describes various aspects of the art of writing.

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Book description
Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade ever writer must have.
Haiku summary
On Writing tells of

writer's background more than rules

aspirants should learn.


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