Saturday, December 3, 2011

On Writing by Stephen King

I finished Stephen King's On Writing, one of a series of books I purchased on the advice of Adrian Bedford.Once again, this book has been a Win. It's a wonderful read, entrancing and engaging, and it really does seem to get across the feel of Stephen King's personality.

It's at once a warm memoir and an excellent book on writing. King takes the time to talk about his family and his home life, and for each of those sections I want to go through with a highlighter and untangle some of the techniques he uses to make me feel exactly as I am sure he wants me to feel in each vignette. I found the later discussion of his car accident so harrowing I had to put the book down and take a breather, needing to re-establish that distance between me and the book.

I also liked the fact he talks about his unexpected successes, never really imagining the level of fame he would eventually arrive at. On Writing paints King as someone we'd all love to go to the pub with, and the snippets he puts into the book are almost like a how to in developing likable, human characters. King's advice on writing is invaluable, and I love the maxims and advice people have given him over the years.

Things I want to remember: in times of trauma, it's all in the details. Second draft = First draft minus 10%. Write for yourself (with the door closed) and only open it when YOU are ready. A lot of this is advice I have already been told, but King puts his own spin on things, turning each story into his own and every anecdote a tale worth telling.

Very good book to have around.

Sarah P


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  2. Second try. Didn't check for typos:-)

    It's years since I read On Writing but the main lesson I remember (apart from the horrible car accident part - King even writes horror when he's being autobiographical!) is that the Word is said. Not grumbled, not whined, not opined (and certainly not smiled, frowned or giggled!) but plain old said. Never served with adverbs, either, just au naturel.

    Must read it again.