On Writing – Stephen King

Its funny how sometimes you get recommended a book and this is one that I was recommended by Stella Duffy when we met recently. Now I love it when you get authors recommendations in the book sections of all the broadsheets, being given a recommendation by an author in the flesh I would have been stupid not to have read this book as someone who wants to write. I admit I have never yet read a Stephen King novel so it might seem odd reading one of his non fiction books. I have seen all the movies made from his novels though, does that count?

‘On Writing’ is a delightful mix of memoir and hints and tips of how King feels he writes and as a million selling author how could you not want to hear his story? He gives you his rules, and that’s the important bit, this is his story and his rules he at no point preaches to you at all and that is rare in books on ‘how to write’. Its not just his techniques he discusses, what makes this such an original and interesting read is he tells you how the ideas form and where he gets his inspiration. I haven’t read any books where an author will go into that much detail and it makes it so much more insightful to writers and none writers alike.

Amongst all this King gives a personal, honest and detailed insight into the horrific accident where he was nearly killed by a drunk driver. So in the end you are getting three books, a book of ‘how you can write’, a book of funny memoirs, and the writings of a man who has been close to death and wants to live. He deals with this in a factual manner, no high drama, the facts his real feelings and nothing more or less.

It’s not a mammoth book but is fairly long, you will through it. King writes with such humour and with such an honest unpretentious voice that you feel like a friend is having a nice chat with you. Nothing is over done or over dramatised or over exaggerated its sharp and snappy.

3 Comments

Filed under Hodder & Stoughton, Review, Stephen King

3 responses to “On Writing – Stephen King

  1. Tish Varona

    Simple yet excellent review for this book. Much like Stephen King’s writing. I have no shame in admitting that King is y favourite author amd for a very good reason. I’ve had my sisters brush him off at first because they found him “too mainstream” due to his well-deserved popularity but there is a reason why he sells millions of books. He’s brilliant and I would be more than happy to recommend a few novels of his if you want.

  2. I love most of Kings’ books. He is my favorite author – I have yet to find another writer who can make me “believe” his stories the way he does. From “Needful Things” to “Salem’s Lot” to his “Dark Tower” series, he can spin a tale that actually makes you live the story together with his characters. Oh, I could go on for a while here but you get my point. 🙂
    I loved On Writing, too.

  3. Jenny

    This was the first of Stephen King’s books that I read – recommended by the tutor on a summer writing course I took in 2009.

    Like others, I had been put off by King’s often gruesome choice of subject, and was, I suppose, a bit snobbish about reading something so mainstream. Well, I was wrong. When I read this book, I was bowled over by his accomplished style and thoughtful approach. I realised I needed to revise my viewpoint and try some other of King’s writing. I have since read a collection of his short stories and several of his novels. They seem to get better and better!

    For the reader new to Stephen King, I recommend the story collection ‘Just after sunset’ and his novel ‘11.22.63’ (if you can get past the irritation of the US date format). The former published in 2008 and the latter in 2011, so both quite recent works, which I consider among the best of his that I’ve read – so far.

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