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Stephen King, On Writing

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:57 pm
by timberline
I was gifted a copy of King's how to write (and how to/not how to live) when I was recuperating in a hospital. I thought enough of it to push a review off to my alma mater's library site and encourage students to learn the tools of writing. You might be interested in what I wrote, but you will be richer for plunking down eight bucks and buying a copy of the book.

Stephen King On Writing…and More

The prolific Mr. King approached the subject of writing, and his autobiography, reluctantly. In fact, more than a third of On Writing is devoted to his curriculum vitae before he opines on “what writing is” and the tools required to be successful. He calls the book, a best seller almost a decade ago, “my attempt to show how one writer was formed. Not how one writer was made.”

A reader, critic or student has to pay a certain amount of attention to someone like King who has published more than 30 novels, sold more than 350 million copies, and given us the films Doris Claiborne, The Shining, and The Green Mile. (King suggests very evenly why John Grisham and James Patterson are so successful at what they do.) “A good deal of literary criticism,” he says, “serves only to reinforce a caste system as old as the intellectual snobbery which nurtured it.” He comments that Raymond Chandler is one of the greats who are often “seated at the end of the table” because he came out of the pulp tradition.

On the subject of grammar as required tools of a successful writer, he suggests the parts of speech are like accessories to go with your high school prom dress, and those weren’t too hard to understand.

It’s a truism that a writer never stops learning the craft, and I’ve been writing professionally for four decades. Yet at this advanced date, King’s book had me underlining passages, dog-earing pages and scrutinizing my own writing to see where the misstatements and lazy verbiage occurred. When I finished reading On Writing, I took it to the writing group that I lead and told them, “Buy or borrow this book if you’re serious about communicating in print.”

(King, Stephen, On Writing, Pocket Book division of Simon and Schuster, New York, 2000, ISBM: 0-671-02425-6, 288 pages.)

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:12 pm
by musthavebeenmykarma
Wow, I read this a long time ago, but your review makes me want to pick it back up. I remember it being a great read, though his description of getting a shot in his ear still makes me cringe. I'll definitely pour through my library tomorrow to find it.

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:23 am
by timberline
"Pour"? Liquid reading? Or pore?

Sorry for nit-picking, but nits grow up to be lice.

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:45 pm
by musthavebeenmykarma
haha thanks. :shock:

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:30 am
by Tyler Anderson
My two cents on the book; I read it probably three times through and listened to the audio CDs probably ten times. Loved it loved it loved it. My first copy was a used copy that my friend got me after HE got it at a book fair. It had so many highlighted and underlined passages, it was starting to look like an old textbook. And I still highlighted more.

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:52 am
by blindside70
Yeah it is great... There was another thread about it on here a while back. I also love it....