#REVIEW On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King #4STARS

MY REVIEW 4 STARS:

This book isn’t at all what I thought it’d be. I went in expecting an English lesson, like a classroom style tutorial, and that wasn’t at all what it’s like. I suppose I should have known better, given King’s snarky attitude and approach of opinionated characters with completely out of the box (yet relatable) thought processes… I should have known that his own outlook would reflect such an angle to writing!

I listened to the book on Audible. He read himself which I thought was pretty cool. He actually has a good voice, so it was a breeze to listen to. Even sped up a bit.

The first section of the book was all about his life growing up, in school, in his first jobs, the beginning of his relationship with his wife and more. I really enjoyed getting to know King’s back story! He also talks a lot about his first books, and all of the small writing jobs he had on the side along with his job as a teacher before his writing career really took off. King’s wife is an absolute pillar of support, from beginning to date. He mentioned at one point her pulling his book Carrie from the depths of a discard pile and encouraging him to keep writing it, which is awesome as this is one of my all time favorites of his books. He also mentions that every time he reads a dedication to spouses in other books, he smiles and is grateful for her. There’s a large section dedicated to his addictions. His family and friends intervene and basically saved him from himself. I always knew that he once had a problem, but until this book I had no idea about just how bad his problem was.

The later portion of the book dives into writing. This is where it gets technical, but it really isn’t a play by play how to write. It’s more like opinions that have always worked very well for him, along with tips and tricks along the way that help to make your book successful. He tells LOTS of what to do and what not to do – and then references examples from his own books. This was a really awesome approach because even though it doesn’t read like a sales pitch at all, I still want to read a few books that he mentioned continuously that have been on my to- read list already. I’ll surely be bumping them up!!

King talks about writing content first, he doesn’t plot (which works for some and not for others). He focuses on getting the content out fast and fresh all in one pop. Then he’ll take breaks to revise and rewrite along the way. One full round is for removing adjectives and adverbs, which is awesome. He also recommends taking a super long break before the final round of edits and revisions before passing it off to an editor. I want to say he recommends 6 months, but don’t quote me on it! I loved this approach as I too wait to do a final round with fresh eyes. There were several times that I wished I was reading rather than listening, just so that I could highlight and save some of the advice. I highly recommend this book for both seasoned and new writers (and everyone in between). I also recommend forking out the cash for a paperback so that you CAN highlight for real and reference it! I personally will be buying an actual copy soon and re-reading it so that I can do just that!

DESCRIPTION:

ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S TOP 100 NONFICTION BOOKS OF ALL TIME

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. 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 every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

25 Comments Add yours

  1. I have read a “writing” thing or two from Mr King and they have been great. Even some things from Piers Anthony (Xanth series). these are people who it is great to hear from/about. To peer into their personal process. You never get trivial things like using the first person or avoiding allegorical anatomical alliteration (lest it seem like 80s porn) but the thinking behind, the Why. It is the same in music, I don’t care what box Sir George Martin put on the Beatles “Strawberry Fields”. I care about how and why they made the choices they did. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said!! Its nice to read “how to works’ that are helpful and motivating rather than repetitive and boring 😴

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  2. I have a well-worn copy of this with highlighted passages galore. I agree it’s, definitely not a tutorial such as The Elements of Style by E.B. White (which I also have), yet I think it’s a wonderful addition to any writer’s toolkit nonetheless.☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I love your tool kit reference!! ❤❤ its most certainly a must have in physical copy!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review Didi!! Well said!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Misty! And thanks again for introducing me to keepers of king! I’ve really enjoyed it ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome!! I’m glad I found my way into that group as well. It’s been fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read this book a couple of times and loved it. It’s wonderful for aspiring writers.

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    1. So much great advice! ❤

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  5. Thanks for this great review, Didi. I have heard a lot about this book and not read it, but I’ve now purchased the audio book. My book review list is long for the next few months so I’ll start with the audio.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll love it! I’ve cut back on my review requests and tour review sign ups immensely, and am going to be pulling from my back list for the next couple months. YOU are actually on my to read list for Dec, my friend. Which of your books do you suggest I start with?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Didi, that is very kind of you. I only have Through the Nethergate (supernatural fantasy) and While the Bombs Fell (for older children but anyone can read it – fictionalised memoir about WW2). I have A Ghost and His Gold coming out in Jan 2021. I have lots of short stories in anthologies if that tickles your fancy. They are paranormal or horror anthologies. Let me know what you are interested in and I’ll gift it to you on Amazon. I also have you on my TBR and some of Jay’s. I never seem to catch up either.

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      2. Oh you’re so sweet!! Ill do While rhe bombs fell. Once I’ve read it, I have a few teens to recommend it to 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you, Didi. Can you FB DM me your Amazon email address and I’ll send you a copy. I appreciate your support. I hope you manage to join another of Charles’ Monday classes some time. I enjoyed chatting to you.

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  6. To tell you the honest truth. It is the only writing book I’ve ever read and I loved it. It talked to me…made sense and I took a lot of his ideas on board. Especially the editing one (though i leave for six weeks if I can) along with the muse who stands on your shoulder.

    I’ll always recommend this book to new writers, especially those who don’t plot or plan. Thank you for sharing your review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The muse on the shoulder really spoke to me too! As well as the basement ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s great when things we don’t understand well, fall into place due to something we’ve read. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Plaisted Publishing House and commented:
    A great review and an awesome book. Thanks, Didi

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mike says:

    A great review of a great resource for new and experienced writers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Didi, Thank you for this wonderful review! I think this is the best book for writers that has ever been written!

    Liked by 1 person

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