On Writing, by Stephen King

by Jessica Anderson on October 16, 2009

in Non-Fiction, Reviews

Title: On Writing
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 297
Publisher: Pocket Books
Copyright: 2000
Format: Paperback
Rating: [rating:4]

____________________________

So, I’ve never read much by Stephen King. I’ve read the short story/novella “Hearts in Atlantis,” the short story “1408,” and the first 500 or so pages of The Stand. But, I couldn’t resist his book on writing, especially since I’ve heard such good things about it from various sources – most recently from Melissa Donovan at Writing Forward.

The first part of the book consists of writing-related memoirs of King’s life. It was fascinating to read about his road to publication – and the nail(s) that he hung his numerous rejection letters on. The little vignettes were just the right size to keep me interested and reading. And, it is always a pleasure for me to read about the life of a writer.

The second part of the book was the primer on writing. This was a little less interesting for me, likely because it is the same general advice that all writers give. Write everyday. Use correct grammar. Except when you don’t. Et cetera. He did have an useful analogy about the tools in the writer’s toolbox. And I did like his concept about writing the first draft of something with the door closed, and then rewriting with the door open. I think he’s right about that “inner critic” and those real critics who can stop you from just getting the words on the page.

As an added bonus, King includes in the book a narrative about getting hit by a car and almost dying. He was in the middle of writing, or was thinking about writing, On Writing when the accident occurred. Also included in the back of the book is a suggested reading list.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading about King’s writing life and even his advice.

On Writing, by Stephen King [rating:4]

Other Reviews:
5-Squared
American Bibliophile
Confessions of a Bibliophile
Daily Writing Tips
Mixtures: Books . . . +
Ms. Bookish
Reading Comes from Writing
Reading Thru the Night
Ready When You Are, C.B.
Rebecca Reads
Writing Forward

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Loren Eaton October 16, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Might I also suggest King’s excellent non-fiction study of horror Danse Macabre? It’s fascinating even if you aren’t a fan of the genre.

Reply

Sarah at SmallWorld Reads October 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I absolutely loved this book. I used to read everything by King.

Reply

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) October 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm

I’ve heard from people who really love this book and others who really hate this book — I feel like there isn’t much middle ground. I’d really like to read it though; thanks for the review!

Reply

Anastasia October 17, 2009 at 11:29 pm

I don’t read much of Stephen King’s fiction, either, but I really liked this book when I read it a few years ago. I don’t even want to be a writer, but I thought ON WRITING was really entertaining– though I think I skimmed through the second part. The memoir bits were infinitely more interesting, for sure.

Reply

Rebecca Reid October 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm

I was not impressed with this book. I’m in the “hate it” category that Kim is talking about!

Reply

emma atucha October 23, 2009 at 1:05 am

i always love every stephen king’s books…Misery is one of my all time favorites…i also have a paperback of hearts in atlantis….hehe just a paperback… what can i do i’m poor…

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: