Sunday, November 13, 2005

Book Review: "On Writing"

I just finished reading Stephen King's On Writing, a Memoir of the Craft for the second time.  I've skimmed quite a few books on writing, and I've taken creative writing and read the textbooks, but to be honest they all sucked.  Except for this one.  Why?

First, it is written by one of the most successful writers out there.  Second, he has a talent for cutting out all the bullshit.  This book has everything you really need in just under three hundred pages.  And it is a quick three hundred at that.  He discusses everything from adverbs (he hates them, and explains why) to how you should submit a story for publication (presentation is everything!).  If you need to know it, it's here or he tells you where to find it. 

A lot of the book is also a memoir.  He talks about his life from very early on in little flashes that give you an idea of how he grew and developed as a man and a writer.  He discusses everything from his first published story to his alcoholism and drug addiction.  He also discusses the accident which nearly killed him in 1999 and how writing allowed him to enjoy living again.

Any Stephen King fan should read this.  If you need to, skip over the writing stuff and just read the memoir part (it's worth it!).  Any writer of any fiction genre should also read this.  I would not call myself a Stephen King fan by any stretch, but he knows his stuff.  He doesn't gear the book toward his main genre, horror, but to fiction writing in general.

I liked this book, and there is a lot in there.  Some of it I had remembered, but a lot I had forgotten.  I plan on keeping it close to hand from now on and I've also marked certain sections which I think are important to me.  I suggest anyone who has an extra eight bucks lying around should pick this book up.  I don't think you will regret it.

Just a final note:  I avoided reading anything by Stephen King and J. K. Rowling for years because I believed they were 'fad' writers and people only read their books because it was the 'in' thing to do.  I regret that now.  I've done it many times with many authors, but these two stand out as the ones I was most mistaken about. 

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