On Writing by Stephen King
[Image courtesy of bookdepository.com]
This was my second time reading the book (the first time was more than ten years ago) and I found myself still enjoying Stephen King’s no-nonsense, yet humorous and practical approach to the topic.
I like his emphasis on telling the truth in one’s stories, because readers will know.
I also like his take on plots, theme and story. He writes and grows his stories from situations presented to his characters, and he lets them “guide” him in developing the story based on how they “react” to the situations. The plot and theme will follow naturally as the story takes shape and he starts to think about what it all means to him. Some lecturers in creative writing may not agree with him, but I think that’s an effective way of making the story realistic, because it also allows the writer to reflect and consider the situation as if it were happening to him. And it feels so similar to what I used to do as a kid when I made up stories.
Finally, I like his advice on writing simply, and removing words and information that do not help the reader get on with the story. This is useful advice not just for writing fiction, but also for all kinds of writing. I mean, who likes to read long and tedious paragraphs that seem intent on hiding the main point and yet don’t give any relevant information right?
I’ve been a long-time fan of King’s books, and now I’m reminded of why I’m still one.
VERDICT: This is a book for folks who want to know more about writing well. Despite the fact that Stephen King wrote it from the point of view of a fiction writer, a number of his tips will apply in other types of writing too. So if you want these tips and be entertained at the same time, this book will be an enjoyable and informative read.
For those who want a short description of the book, here’s an overview from bookdepository.com:
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.