Friday, November 4, 2011

Retro Friday Review: On Writing by Stephen King

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie of Angieville and "focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc."

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 2000
ISBN: 9781439156810
Source: Library

Acting as both a brief autobiography and as a guide for aspiring writers, King's book brings together anecdotes from his childhood and early career and tips for those seeking to get into writing. 

Things I Liked:
I think this makes an appropriate NaNoWriMo book, for those who are trying to write a novel in a month (ok, confession: I'm unofficially trying this - yikes!)  I really liked the sections on writing and the way King creates and crafts his works.  I found a lot of what he said to be insightful and helpful for those struggling really in any part of the process from idea through revisions.  Also, he really had a interestingly morbid childhood, which kind of explains some of his fascination with the macabre.  Definitely a great book for anyone aspiring to write or just interested in improving their writing.  I wish I'd written down more of his tips, but alas, I'll have to check it out again.

Things I Didn't Like:
It reminded me just why I'd never be interested in reading his books.  I hate horror novels and some of his stories sound like they'd give me nightmares for weeks.  Also, I really could have done without all the swearing.  Yes, that's probably how he talks, but it would have been just as good with about 1/4 the number of f-words.  I think a few of his tips or tricks might be a little outdated, possibly with the publishing contacts and stuff, but most of it will be true forever.

I've not read any other writing books, but try The Art of Fiction by John Gardner or Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster

s-factor: !@#$%
lots and lots and lots of strong language (f-word all over)

mrg-factor: X
a little bit in passing

v-factor: ->
he does describe some of his books :)

Overall rating: ****

What are your writing book suggestions?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Yeah, King swears a lot and, yeah, his books aren't for everyone, but I agree with you, he has some really great advice in this book.

    I didn't know you liked to write. Have "unofficial" fun. ;)

  2. I have NO DESIRE to ever write a book. They say everyone has one book in them -- well someone who has two books published took mine. Anyway, I read this book and enjoyed it, because I used to be an avid King fan -- and I liked hearing about his creation of all those wonderful books.

  3. Jenny, yeah I think I'm safely going to avoid his stuff forever. I'm ok being the only person too wussy to read them.

    Annette, yeah I'm not sure my story will ever be written, I try once in a while :-)

  4. I love this book, but I agree about the language!


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