On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

As many of you know, I’m completely infatuated with Stephen King books. On Writing is extremely different from any other work by King. It’s half a memoir of King’s life and what led him to becoming a successful writer, and half “instruction manual”. It’s definitely not as dry as the instruction manual you’re picturing in your head, but it’s a basic roadmap of how to enhance your writing. I’m definitely not a strong writer in a fiction sense (I love writing essays, weird right, but I have a limited creative imagination, and even less patience). HOWEVER, I can totally see how the writing tips he discussed can be useful for aspiring writers.

Like I said, I’m not a writer. But if YOU are, If YOU’RE aspiring to be a fiction writer— PICK THIS DAMN BOOK UP!! Some of the tools for writing are really unique. This novel is waaaaay different than a writing class– it just highlights some tips and tricks that are easy to pick up for the next time you write. King gives mere suggestions at times. But why not try them out? Why not try Stephen King’s routine for writing? It could really help. It’s fricken’ STEPHEN KING! Seriously. What do you have to lose?

The part that I found most interesting was the short memoir on King’s earlier life. I’ve already read a conglomerate of King’s works, and he gave the inside scoop to some of them. How did he get the seed of an idea for Carrie? How did the terrifying story of Misery come to him? These are questions that have always plagued me as I was deep into a King book. Thoughts and questions like: “Is this man okay?! Does he have terrifying dreams? Why is he thinking of this stuff?! But thank God, because I can’t get enough of it!”

I just assumed these actual answers weren’t out there. And honestly, he didn’t have to share. I totally respect privacy, especially of an author and his creative work. Buuuut…I got some of my answers through On Writing. And honestly, it makes me respect King way more. I’m glad that I finally have some sort of feel for how he does it. Why he does it. These are things that matter to me. Reading books is my life. I want to know what writing books means to that author. I truly feel like I have a relationship with an author after I engage with their book. I realize that this relationship is one-dimensional, but it’s special to me. They have touched my life, they have captured my interest. It’s a relationship.

And on this note, I’ll wrap up with a part that truly touched my soul. King talked about the resonance he seeks to engage the reader with. The part of the book where the reader puts it down and goes, “Damn. That made me feel things”. Or, “Damn, that made me look at things a different way”. I’ve talked about this before, but Different Seasons by Stephen King did just that for me. The Shawshank Redemption made me feel feelings that I rarely experience through a book. But I do experience different feelings through every single book I read. And that makes me appreciative of the authors. On Writing allowed me to appreciate Stephen King in a new light. I’d totally recommend this, especially for aspiring fiction writers.

Rating: 4/5


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