Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

Editor’s Note

“The Writing Life...”

Funny, insightful, & engaging, this deeply personal look into the life & work of the prolific writer is a divine spark for any aspiring writer.
Scribd Editor
“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.

Topics: Inspirational, Creativity, Writing, 20th Century, Maine, and American Author

Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9780743211536
List price: $11.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Surprisingly good book about writing, wish I'd listened to this before NaNoWriMo 2010 started! Still, a good "read" on the subject of writing and getting published.

This is actually the first Stephen King book I've read!more
This is a combination memoir of a writer and a how-to-better by one of the top horror writers in English. He tells it straight. There's tons of great specific advice, from length of sentences to the myth of writers needing alcohol (King is a recovering alcoholic, and tells his own hard story), to where ideas come from. I've read it twice.more
This is an EXCELLENT book. King gives you so many details about his childhood and personal life. He's hilarious without trying to be. The second part of the book is more like a grammar textbook; however, it's not like any english textbook you've ever read. King makes the rules of boring old grammar fun and entertaining. This is a great read!more
Having read quite a few books on writing, I now expect to disagree with some rules that writers put out there -- no joke, Stephen King is quite the master, but I'm not as offended by adverbs as he is. His process of drafting is also vastly different from mine. However, I have found that writing is more of a personal discovery, and it really does differ with each writer.There is a lot to appreciate in this book, though. I like the fact that King gives a lot of examples to prove his points. I learn so much more from examples than from simple explanations, so I really appreciated that. I also like that when King sets down a rule, he doesn't make it an absolute and even admits to falling victim to sloppy/indulgent writing himself. When he talks about how you shouldn't use adverbs, he straight-out admits that he wishes he used fewer, which is nice. It gives the book a very helpful, conversational feel instead of a "I know everything, so this is what you should do" kind of thing.The one thing that I really loved about On Writing: you can tell, throughout the entire thing how much King loves to write. He completely lays out the magic, and the utter pleasure of creating a story. I so enjoyed that. Besides giving solid writing advice, he inspires his readers by making them want to write. While reading, I kept thinking to myself, "I want to start on my story right now." Few books have that power.Anyone interested in writing should read this book. It's a fast-paced, entertaining read -- not at all like the dry reference-type book I think of when I think of "how-to" books. You'll enjoy it, you'll learn some good tips, and you'll be inspired. There's nothing more anyone can ask for.more
I really enjoyed reading Stephen King's book about writing. I've observed several times that I know snobby people who won't touch his stuff: I kind of want to shove this book in their face and tell them that this, this book by this crappy bestselling author? This contains the Ten Commandments of writing. Stuff like kill your darlings (no, really, do) and don't say sugar when you mean shit, and write every day, write all the time. It even suggests a way of getting out of writer's block.

(By snobby people, by the by, I don't mean people who have tried Stephen King and don't like it. That's fair enough, and, I think, as justifiable as my dislike of the Harry Potter books. I'm talking about people who refuse to ever read them, not because they don't like scary books or because they just can't get on with his writing, but just "on principle".)

Two things I really, especially loved about this, though.

1) He is up front and frank about this being just his experience. The book's a conversation with you about writing, and you've got room to disagree. He's just putting his thoughts on the table and saying, hey, if they'll help, I'm really glad.

2) The idea of the Ideal Reader, his being his wife. It reminds me of stuff other writers have suggested (write a book to your favourite author, make your stories love letters to someone, etc) and King writes about it with feeling and also understanding. He doesn't pretend that Ideal Reader won't ever laugh in your face.

So, I think this is definitely a book writers should read. If only to see if they can get their heads out of their asses and listen to all kinds of experience: if they can't, then they've got no business trying to write. It's got good advice, in his opinion and mine, and something obviously works because, hey, bestselling author.

I also think that maybe you should give this to your Ideal Reader to read. Tabitha King sounds like exactly the kind of first reader an author needs.more
Now I have to read some of his novels. This fascinating memoir-cum-instruction book includes King's account of his 1999 accident and recovery, excellent advice for would-be fiction writers and discussions of how he came to write a number of his novels.more
A must read for every aspiring writer. (Even if you're one of those who rolls their eyes at the mention of Stephen King. Which my experience has been, those who are too haughty for Mr. King, usually have never read him. But that's just my .02.)more
It made me want to write. Damn you, Stephen King.more
I just read this book for the second time, and I think I enjoyed it even more than the first time around. I own the hardcover already, but recently picked up the audio as well when I realized that Stephen King himself narrates it. That fact just added the final touch to what was already an amazing book--it's just like having your very own best-selling author in your home, helping you to become a more effective writer. (Which is not at all scary and Misery-like, because you're not the one forcing him to write--he's encouraging you. And no one loses any body parts, which is always a plus.) The first half is pretty much a memoir--mainly the parts of his life that explain how he developed as a writer and why he writes what he does--and the second is the part that's specifically "on writing". He's the first to tell you that he doesn't have all the answers--he just tells you what he does and why and if it makes sense to you, great; if it doesn't, you aren't going to be the first person to question his sanity. If his subject matter is what keeps you from reading his novels, novellas, and short stories, then this is the Stephen King book for you. (My mother loved it, and she hasn't been able to read any of this other works except "The Body". She loves his writing, dislikes the genre.) If you're already a fan, then this is a must-read to see what goes on in the mind of this particular writer.more
He isn't the best writer, but I think he's a fantastic storyteller. Stephen is a charmer. Loved this one.more
I have tons of highlights on my Kindle after reading this book. I suppose this is an indication of how much I enjoyed it and how much I took away from King's advice. From the get-go, I loved reading the anecdotes and stories King shares about his life growing up in Maine. His humor gets me nearly every time and I really appreciate the way he can recollect and/or recreate memories without making them seem fake. (I'm talking to you, Chelsea Handler--though you are funny)

"I remember an immense feeling of possibility at the idea, as if I had been ushered into a vast building filled with closed doors and had been given leave to open any I liked. There were more doors than one person could ever open in a lifetime, I thought. (and still think)" (Loc. 220 on Kindle version) This sums up one of the biggest reasons I love reading--originality. There is nothing quite like the thrill of reading something that feels fresh and like nothing I've ever read before. I wish it happened more than it does!

King spends a significant amount of time in this work speaking about another of my loves--a great story. He describes writing a draft and giving it, after a little tuning, to his wife/reader. If she thinks a part is boring, he might take it out. Just the way he describes it is perfect--Cut out the long descriptive sections and get back to the story! (description issues are usually what cause a reader to say "it got boring") This is a major gripe I have with a lot of books and it becomes especially apparent in audiobook format. I find myself spacing out during bouts of boring description and I'm in a state of constant rewind to try to concentrate on what is going on in the story. My book clubbers know I will skim through these sections in regular books. (gasp!) I feel like Stephen King might not chastise me for doing so. I mean, I don't give a &*($ what someone is wearing in most instances, I want to know who the killer is! King writes, "Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's." (Loc. 2077)Exactly.

Obviously, I'm not going to retype all of my saved highlights. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys King's work (I loved how he wove the creation of many of his works in so we found out some of his inspirations and experiences) and/or anyone who has an interest in writing.more
Re-read in May, 2012: I've subjected myself to a lot of "how I write" books over the last year, and this remains one of the best. As someone who has made my living as a copywriter for more than 25 years, I don't believe anyone can throw a template or simple step-by-step "system" at the craft of writing and expect it to work.

I think the better writing books acknowledge that, and Stephen King does a good job of laying out his writing process while combining it with examples from his career. The result is an engaging bio/how-to book that has earned a fair amount of respect. It's more process oriented than Anne Lamott's amusing and inspirational Bird by Bird, and overall -- though I'm not a huge fan of Stephen King's books -- I am huge fan of Stephen King the writer.




A funny, entertaining memoir about the writer's life, and though some of the advice in the second half of the book is a little too specific (time has altered the industry some), it's still something aspiring writers will want to read.

more
Definitely worth reading. It was interesting learning about King's story and just how committed he was to writing, even from the beginning. And the description of his accident and the aftermath was powerful.

I can't agree with everything he says about the writing process (because clearly no two people write the same way or we wouldn't need so publishers to produce all their books). However, I like the practical approach he espouses. Just getting it done is not something I do well in my floundering attempts, so I may well try the 2,000 words-a-day schedule.

I'm not sure if this is something I'll pick up for myself, possibly because the one prompt in the book is something I have little interest in writing about. (Except if he still accepts excerpts and will read them. I'd feel a bit disingenuous, since I've only read one of his books and don't even remember which, but I did read this one, right?)

All in all, though, if you see it, pick it up.more
There are two writing books that I keep going back to during the various stages of the writing process. One is Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem!, which I use as sort of a shorthand guide to get me through “Just write the damn thing, okay?” The other book that I go back to for all of the nitty gritty details is this one. Not only is it a solid book on writing and crafting, but unlike many of the other writing manuals I’ve read, King manages to add his own personal touch. (Actually, I recommend On Writing not only to aspiring writers, but to avid readers as well.) Not to mention, it’s interesting; I love the bookends of King’s personal life in between the actual writing sections. Definitely a must-read.more
I like On Writing as much or more for the autobiographical bits as the actual writing advice. King's exactly the sort of person who can take a very average life and find the story-worthy bits in it, and then tell them well. That's worth more than all the style advice or rapidly aging publishing know-how in the world.more
King tries to claim that he doesn't outline and that the most important thing to him is character. this reeks of bullshit -- the kind of thing King wants people to believe. maybe it's true now, but i doubt it was true for most of his career. then again, he also talks about having no memory of writing Cujo and dealing with alcoholism for most of the 70s and early 80s. so, who knows what he thinks he did.

anyway, i can't hold all that stuff against him, but really King is not the best person to take advice from. the book mainly gives a glimpse into his early years and his writing process. for a writer though there's not really anything solid to take away from this.more
In this book well-known writer Stephen King looks at the horrors of his own life and tries to put into words what it means to be a writer.
I have never been much of a fan of Stephen King’s books due to their wordiness. Since reading this book, I have a new respect for the man and I think that I will give him another chance now that I understand where he is coming from. The one thing I take away from this book is the same thing I’ve used as my motto since I got back into writing. “A Writer Writes Always!” If you are a writer or an aspiring writer, I think that this book is well worth the read.
more
I really enjoyed this book, and I thought it offered some great tips for aspiring writers, on the process of writing. There are some interesting side bits in this book, and Mr. King mentions alternate endings for several of his novels. If you like Stephen King novels, you'll enjoy this non-fiction one. He's a great writer, and this one is great, too.more
Sound Advice from a MasterStephen King published this book in 2000 and I had never read it until someone loaned me a copy this past month. If you think you want to be a writer, then I highly recommend this book to you. It contains a lot of wisdom as well as “street smarts” about the craft. Many of the tips in this book I learned the hard way and I’ve found them to be useful. The best thing about this book is that it is practical and down to earth.This book not only gives some of King’s history on how he became a writer, it also mentions his struggles and what he did to make things work. The bottom line, if you want to be a writer you need to be committed and take it seriously even though you may never earn enough money to support yourself from it. Not everyone who makes this commitment will make it as a writer, but you have an even lower chance of success if you don’t take it seriously.My Review: I highly recommend this book to individuals who want to write professionally.more
I read this book quite a while back. It is interesting if you like Stephen King and wonder a little about his life. It is even better if you are in anyway involved in writing yourself and would like a glimpse of how a professional writer with decades of experience goes about his day to day business of writing great stories. Very informative and as you would expect, very well written.more
This is my favorite book on writing. His advice seems very down to Earth and after reading this book, I felt I understood where he was coming from with all his novels.more
What a brilliant stroke of genius to intermingle writing advice from an American master, Stephen King, within an autobiography. I'd be happy to read either, but combining them has resulted in a book I have read over and over again. It's a fantastic reference and a fantastic autobiography. As my wife has said, "I would read a grocery list if it was written by Stephen King." Writers and Stephen King fans shouldn't miss out on this one.more
Ever had one of this "wish I'd known this sooner" moments? After reading Stephen King's On Writing, I had one of those moments.I wish I had read this wonderful, entertaining, and absolutely edifying guide to the craft of fiction writing when it was first released twelve years ago. It probably would have reduced the number of drafts on my first novel. Happily, much of the advice King offers I had employed in my second novel (now in the hands of my publisher) but as with anything else in life, you never stop learning.King neatly bookends his advice and opinions with engaging highlights from his life starting with his childhood in a single parent family and ending with his recovery after being struck and nearly killed by a van in 1999. In between his reminiscings, King offers pithy advice on many aspects of writing including characters, story, theme, research, backstory, plot vs. organic storytelling, and moral/meaning vs. resonance. Damn the adverbs and not so hot on critique groups or writing classes either is Mr. King.What King is keen on in his memoir: write the first draft quickly and for yourself (with the door closed to the outside world), write the second draft and revise with the door open (allow your Ideal Reader to review your manuscript). The only dated advice in the book deals with publishing. In 1997, when King began this project, self publishing was still considered "vanity press" and nowhere near the booming industry that it has become wherein NYT bestselling authors have dumped their agents in favor of publishing their work directly.When it comes to the craft of storytelling, On Writing is a recommended read especially for the burgeoning writer.more
Finally read this in its entirety, many years after I first started it. I was struck by the direct genius of King's writing. He doesn't beat around the bush with flowery language or lengthy and wonderful descriptions; instead, his descriptive language is sharp, precise, and thus often truer and wittier than things would have been otherwise. Anyone who doubts that King is a great writer need only to read this, in order to be awed and inspired to read his other books.more
If you're a Stephen King fan, if you like writing or if you just enjoy memoirs, you will enjoy this book. I probably would never have chosen it up on my own but it was a gift. I'm so glad I read it. It is not just about writing. It just goes to show you can always count on King for a good read.more
I am not sure how this one got by me and I’ve been a fan, since the mid-70s. Maybe it was released during a period that I was taking a break from Mr. King. There were some weak stretches in his bibliography, along with the amazing ones. Whatever the reason, I am glad I finally picked it up. It’s quite a joy to read.The first half of the book is a memoir, taking the reader through his hard-scrabble childhood, raised by his tough hard-working mother. We look at his college years and his many attempts to publish his short stories and then there is his early marriage, struggling to support a growing family on a teacher’s salary and then the eventual sale of a little book called Carrie. All perfectly told in his smart, amusing, no nonsense style.The 2nd half is about the craft of writing and it’s equally as fascinating. He keeps his advice pretty simple:"I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs and I will shout it from the rooftops."or"... there is a huge difference between story and plot. Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty and best kept under house arrest."Even if you are not a King fan, I know there are a few of you out there, give it a try. I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised.more
I first read On Writing in college as a film student and now I reread it (or listen to the audiobook) once a year or so. This memoir speaks to me on many levels: the process of writing and of being a good writer, the inerrant passion of living creatively and as a short history of one of my favorite authors.I doubt I'll ever be a writer of novels, but there's no denying how inspired I am by the process. Stephen King describes writing a story like an archaeologist unearthing a fossil - discovering a small section at first and then, over time and with great care, uncovering the whole creation. This frames writing more like a journey, and that idea changed my life.more
Interesting read - it's very much a guide to how *he* does his writing which may not suit everyone, and no reason why it should. The biography part was slightly odd, you get a whole chunk then he backtracks and says oh by the way, I was totally drunk/stoned for all those years. Left me feeling a bit cheated somehow. I love reading/seeing how any successful creative person learnt and does their craft (writer / artist / performer whatever) and this is highly recommended for that.more
As a fiction writer and huge Stephen King fan, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book when it first came out ten years ago. Part memoir, part how-to book, there is something for both reader and writer alike. I love reading books about writers, delving into their thought process, discovering the roots of their creativity, maybe discovering a kernel of knowledge I can apply to my own work. I've purchase copies as gifts for writer friends. Recommend for reader and writer alike.more
Read all 175 reviews

Reviews

Surprisingly good book about writing, wish I'd listened to this before NaNoWriMo 2010 started! Still, a good "read" on the subject of writing and getting published.

This is actually the first Stephen King book I've read!more
This is a combination memoir of a writer and a how-to-better by one of the top horror writers in English. He tells it straight. There's tons of great specific advice, from length of sentences to the myth of writers needing alcohol (King is a recovering alcoholic, and tells his own hard story), to where ideas come from. I've read it twice.more
This is an EXCELLENT book. King gives you so many details about his childhood and personal life. He's hilarious without trying to be. The second part of the book is more like a grammar textbook; however, it's not like any english textbook you've ever read. King makes the rules of boring old grammar fun and entertaining. This is a great read!more
Having read quite a few books on writing, I now expect to disagree with some rules that writers put out there -- no joke, Stephen King is quite the master, but I'm not as offended by adverbs as he is. His process of drafting is also vastly different from mine. However, I have found that writing is more of a personal discovery, and it really does differ with each writer.There is a lot to appreciate in this book, though. I like the fact that King gives a lot of examples to prove his points. I learn so much more from examples than from simple explanations, so I really appreciated that. I also like that when King sets down a rule, he doesn't make it an absolute and even admits to falling victim to sloppy/indulgent writing himself. When he talks about how you shouldn't use adverbs, he straight-out admits that he wishes he used fewer, which is nice. It gives the book a very helpful, conversational feel instead of a "I know everything, so this is what you should do" kind of thing.The one thing that I really loved about On Writing: you can tell, throughout the entire thing how much King loves to write. He completely lays out the magic, and the utter pleasure of creating a story. I so enjoyed that. Besides giving solid writing advice, he inspires his readers by making them want to write. While reading, I kept thinking to myself, "I want to start on my story right now." Few books have that power.Anyone interested in writing should read this book. It's a fast-paced, entertaining read -- not at all like the dry reference-type book I think of when I think of "how-to" books. You'll enjoy it, you'll learn some good tips, and you'll be inspired. There's nothing more anyone can ask for.more
I really enjoyed reading Stephen King's book about writing. I've observed several times that I know snobby people who won't touch his stuff: I kind of want to shove this book in their face and tell them that this, this book by this crappy bestselling author? This contains the Ten Commandments of writing. Stuff like kill your darlings (no, really, do) and don't say sugar when you mean shit, and write every day, write all the time. It even suggests a way of getting out of writer's block.

(By snobby people, by the by, I don't mean people who have tried Stephen King and don't like it. That's fair enough, and, I think, as justifiable as my dislike of the Harry Potter books. I'm talking about people who refuse to ever read them, not because they don't like scary books or because they just can't get on with his writing, but just "on principle".)

Two things I really, especially loved about this, though.

1) He is up front and frank about this being just his experience. The book's a conversation with you about writing, and you've got room to disagree. He's just putting his thoughts on the table and saying, hey, if they'll help, I'm really glad.

2) The idea of the Ideal Reader, his being his wife. It reminds me of stuff other writers have suggested (write a book to your favourite author, make your stories love letters to someone, etc) and King writes about it with feeling and also understanding. He doesn't pretend that Ideal Reader won't ever laugh in your face.

So, I think this is definitely a book writers should read. If only to see if they can get their heads out of their asses and listen to all kinds of experience: if they can't, then they've got no business trying to write. It's got good advice, in his opinion and mine, and something obviously works because, hey, bestselling author.

I also think that maybe you should give this to your Ideal Reader to read. Tabitha King sounds like exactly the kind of first reader an author needs.more
Now I have to read some of his novels. This fascinating memoir-cum-instruction book includes King's account of his 1999 accident and recovery, excellent advice for would-be fiction writers and discussions of how he came to write a number of his novels.more
A must read for every aspiring writer. (Even if you're one of those who rolls their eyes at the mention of Stephen King. Which my experience has been, those who are too haughty for Mr. King, usually have never read him. But that's just my .02.)more
It made me want to write. Damn you, Stephen King.more
I just read this book for the second time, and I think I enjoyed it even more than the first time around. I own the hardcover already, but recently picked up the audio as well when I realized that Stephen King himself narrates it. That fact just added the final touch to what was already an amazing book--it's just like having your very own best-selling author in your home, helping you to become a more effective writer. (Which is not at all scary and Misery-like, because you're not the one forcing him to write--he's encouraging you. And no one loses any body parts, which is always a plus.) The first half is pretty much a memoir--mainly the parts of his life that explain how he developed as a writer and why he writes what he does--and the second is the part that's specifically "on writing". He's the first to tell you that he doesn't have all the answers--he just tells you what he does and why and if it makes sense to you, great; if it doesn't, you aren't going to be the first person to question his sanity. If his subject matter is what keeps you from reading his novels, novellas, and short stories, then this is the Stephen King book for you. (My mother loved it, and she hasn't been able to read any of this other works except "The Body". She loves his writing, dislikes the genre.) If you're already a fan, then this is a must-read to see what goes on in the mind of this particular writer.more
He isn't the best writer, but I think he's a fantastic storyteller. Stephen is a charmer. Loved this one.more
I have tons of highlights on my Kindle after reading this book. I suppose this is an indication of how much I enjoyed it and how much I took away from King's advice. From the get-go, I loved reading the anecdotes and stories King shares about his life growing up in Maine. His humor gets me nearly every time and I really appreciate the way he can recollect and/or recreate memories without making them seem fake. (I'm talking to you, Chelsea Handler--though you are funny)

"I remember an immense feeling of possibility at the idea, as if I had been ushered into a vast building filled with closed doors and had been given leave to open any I liked. There were more doors than one person could ever open in a lifetime, I thought. (and still think)" (Loc. 220 on Kindle version) This sums up one of the biggest reasons I love reading--originality. There is nothing quite like the thrill of reading something that feels fresh and like nothing I've ever read before. I wish it happened more than it does!

King spends a significant amount of time in this work speaking about another of my loves--a great story. He describes writing a draft and giving it, after a little tuning, to his wife/reader. If she thinks a part is boring, he might take it out. Just the way he describes it is perfect--Cut out the long descriptive sections and get back to the story! (description issues are usually what cause a reader to say "it got boring") This is a major gripe I have with a lot of books and it becomes especially apparent in audiobook format. I find myself spacing out during bouts of boring description and I'm in a state of constant rewind to try to concentrate on what is going on in the story. My book clubbers know I will skim through these sections in regular books. (gasp!) I feel like Stephen King might not chastise me for doing so. I mean, I don't give a &*($ what someone is wearing in most instances, I want to know who the killer is! King writes, "Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's." (Loc. 2077)Exactly.

Obviously, I'm not going to retype all of my saved highlights. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys King's work (I loved how he wove the creation of many of his works in so we found out some of his inspirations and experiences) and/or anyone who has an interest in writing.more
Re-read in May, 2012: I've subjected myself to a lot of "how I write" books over the last year, and this remains one of the best. As someone who has made my living as a copywriter for more than 25 years, I don't believe anyone can throw a template or simple step-by-step "system" at the craft of writing and expect it to work.

I think the better writing books acknowledge that, and Stephen King does a good job of laying out his writing process while combining it with examples from his career. The result is an engaging bio/how-to book that has earned a fair amount of respect. It's more process oriented than Anne Lamott's amusing and inspirational Bird by Bird, and overall -- though I'm not a huge fan of Stephen King's books -- I am huge fan of Stephen King the writer.




A funny, entertaining memoir about the writer's life, and though some of the advice in the second half of the book is a little too specific (time has altered the industry some), it's still something aspiring writers will want to read.

more
Definitely worth reading. It was interesting learning about King's story and just how committed he was to writing, even from the beginning. And the description of his accident and the aftermath was powerful.

I can't agree with everything he says about the writing process (because clearly no two people write the same way or we wouldn't need so publishers to produce all their books). However, I like the practical approach he espouses. Just getting it done is not something I do well in my floundering attempts, so I may well try the 2,000 words-a-day schedule.

I'm not sure if this is something I'll pick up for myself, possibly because the one prompt in the book is something I have little interest in writing about. (Except if he still accepts excerpts and will read them. I'd feel a bit disingenuous, since I've only read one of his books and don't even remember which, but I did read this one, right?)

All in all, though, if you see it, pick it up.more
There are two writing books that I keep going back to during the various stages of the writing process. One is Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem!, which I use as sort of a shorthand guide to get me through “Just write the damn thing, okay?” The other book that I go back to for all of the nitty gritty details is this one. Not only is it a solid book on writing and crafting, but unlike many of the other writing manuals I’ve read, King manages to add his own personal touch. (Actually, I recommend On Writing not only to aspiring writers, but to avid readers as well.) Not to mention, it’s interesting; I love the bookends of King’s personal life in between the actual writing sections. Definitely a must-read.more
I like On Writing as much or more for the autobiographical bits as the actual writing advice. King's exactly the sort of person who can take a very average life and find the story-worthy bits in it, and then tell them well. That's worth more than all the style advice or rapidly aging publishing know-how in the world.more
King tries to claim that he doesn't outline and that the most important thing to him is character. this reeks of bullshit -- the kind of thing King wants people to believe. maybe it's true now, but i doubt it was true for most of his career. then again, he also talks about having no memory of writing Cujo and dealing with alcoholism for most of the 70s and early 80s. so, who knows what he thinks he did.

anyway, i can't hold all that stuff against him, but really King is not the best person to take advice from. the book mainly gives a glimpse into his early years and his writing process. for a writer though there's not really anything solid to take away from this.more
In this book well-known writer Stephen King looks at the horrors of his own life and tries to put into words what it means to be a writer.
I have never been much of a fan of Stephen King’s books due to their wordiness. Since reading this book, I have a new respect for the man and I think that I will give him another chance now that I understand where he is coming from. The one thing I take away from this book is the same thing I’ve used as my motto since I got back into writing. “A Writer Writes Always!” If you are a writer or an aspiring writer, I think that this book is well worth the read.
more
I really enjoyed this book, and I thought it offered some great tips for aspiring writers, on the process of writing. There are some interesting side bits in this book, and Mr. King mentions alternate endings for several of his novels. If you like Stephen King novels, you'll enjoy this non-fiction one. He's a great writer, and this one is great, too.more
Sound Advice from a MasterStephen King published this book in 2000 and I had never read it until someone loaned me a copy this past month. If you think you want to be a writer, then I highly recommend this book to you. It contains a lot of wisdom as well as “street smarts” about the craft. Many of the tips in this book I learned the hard way and I’ve found them to be useful. The best thing about this book is that it is practical and down to earth.This book not only gives some of King’s history on how he became a writer, it also mentions his struggles and what he did to make things work. The bottom line, if you want to be a writer you need to be committed and take it seriously even though you may never earn enough money to support yourself from it. Not everyone who makes this commitment will make it as a writer, but you have an even lower chance of success if you don’t take it seriously.My Review: I highly recommend this book to individuals who want to write professionally.more
I read this book quite a while back. It is interesting if you like Stephen King and wonder a little about his life. It is even better if you are in anyway involved in writing yourself and would like a glimpse of how a professional writer with decades of experience goes about his day to day business of writing great stories. Very informative and as you would expect, very well written.more
This is my favorite book on writing. His advice seems very down to Earth and after reading this book, I felt I understood where he was coming from with all his novels.more
What a brilliant stroke of genius to intermingle writing advice from an American master, Stephen King, within an autobiography. I'd be happy to read either, but combining them has resulted in a book I have read over and over again. It's a fantastic reference and a fantastic autobiography. As my wife has said, "I would read a grocery list if it was written by Stephen King." Writers and Stephen King fans shouldn't miss out on this one.more
Ever had one of this "wish I'd known this sooner" moments? After reading Stephen King's On Writing, I had one of those moments.I wish I had read this wonderful, entertaining, and absolutely edifying guide to the craft of fiction writing when it was first released twelve years ago. It probably would have reduced the number of drafts on my first novel. Happily, much of the advice King offers I had employed in my second novel (now in the hands of my publisher) but as with anything else in life, you never stop learning.King neatly bookends his advice and opinions with engaging highlights from his life starting with his childhood in a single parent family and ending with his recovery after being struck and nearly killed by a van in 1999. In between his reminiscings, King offers pithy advice on many aspects of writing including characters, story, theme, research, backstory, plot vs. organic storytelling, and moral/meaning vs. resonance. Damn the adverbs and not so hot on critique groups or writing classes either is Mr. King.What King is keen on in his memoir: write the first draft quickly and for yourself (with the door closed to the outside world), write the second draft and revise with the door open (allow your Ideal Reader to review your manuscript). The only dated advice in the book deals with publishing. In 1997, when King began this project, self publishing was still considered "vanity press" and nowhere near the booming industry that it has become wherein NYT bestselling authors have dumped their agents in favor of publishing their work directly.When it comes to the craft of storytelling, On Writing is a recommended read especially for the burgeoning writer.more
Finally read this in its entirety, many years after I first started it. I was struck by the direct genius of King's writing. He doesn't beat around the bush with flowery language or lengthy and wonderful descriptions; instead, his descriptive language is sharp, precise, and thus often truer and wittier than things would have been otherwise. Anyone who doubts that King is a great writer need only to read this, in order to be awed and inspired to read his other books.more
If you're a Stephen King fan, if you like writing or if you just enjoy memoirs, you will enjoy this book. I probably would never have chosen it up on my own but it was a gift. I'm so glad I read it. It is not just about writing. It just goes to show you can always count on King for a good read.more
I am not sure how this one got by me and I’ve been a fan, since the mid-70s. Maybe it was released during a period that I was taking a break from Mr. King. There were some weak stretches in his bibliography, along with the amazing ones. Whatever the reason, I am glad I finally picked it up. It’s quite a joy to read.The first half of the book is a memoir, taking the reader through his hard-scrabble childhood, raised by his tough hard-working mother. We look at his college years and his many attempts to publish his short stories and then there is his early marriage, struggling to support a growing family on a teacher’s salary and then the eventual sale of a little book called Carrie. All perfectly told in his smart, amusing, no nonsense style.The 2nd half is about the craft of writing and it’s equally as fascinating. He keeps his advice pretty simple:"I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs and I will shout it from the rooftops."or"... there is a huge difference between story and plot. Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty and best kept under house arrest."Even if you are not a King fan, I know there are a few of you out there, give it a try. I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised.more
I first read On Writing in college as a film student and now I reread it (or listen to the audiobook) once a year or so. This memoir speaks to me on many levels: the process of writing and of being a good writer, the inerrant passion of living creatively and as a short history of one of my favorite authors.I doubt I'll ever be a writer of novels, but there's no denying how inspired I am by the process. Stephen King describes writing a story like an archaeologist unearthing a fossil - discovering a small section at first and then, over time and with great care, uncovering the whole creation. This frames writing more like a journey, and that idea changed my life.more
Interesting read - it's very much a guide to how *he* does his writing which may not suit everyone, and no reason why it should. The biography part was slightly odd, you get a whole chunk then he backtracks and says oh by the way, I was totally drunk/stoned for all those years. Left me feeling a bit cheated somehow. I love reading/seeing how any successful creative person learnt and does their craft (writer / artist / performer whatever) and this is highly recommended for that.more
As a fiction writer and huge Stephen King fan, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book when it first came out ten years ago. Part memoir, part how-to book, there is something for both reader and writer alike. I love reading books about writers, delving into their thought process, discovering the roots of their creativity, maybe discovering a kernel of knowledge I can apply to my own work. I've purchase copies as gifts for writer friends. Recommend for reader and writer alike.more
Load more
scribd