But it ’ s several very different books and booklets, within a single set of covers- curious that thi memoir about writing does n't sugges to now what kin of th ook it is.In one of three forewords, King says “ Most books about writing are filled with bullshit ”.
But I often found good things, including a passionate passage about books being a ort of telepathy, culminating with the delicious: “ Books are a uniquely portable magic. ” This book isn ’ t about how to rea in general, it ’ s about how to rite like Stephen King, and for thi, it may be excellent.1.
They ave much in common, but “ What ties us most strongly are the words, the language, and work of our lives. ” The other key message is that there is no repository of great story ideas.
Anothe novelist has to spot, recognise, and polish them, and King gives examples of how he came upon the seeds of many of his tories.
Another nteresting case study is to compare Raymond Carver ’ s short story collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, in their originally published and heavily edited form with his originals, now published under the title Beginners.
Reading his short section, the las something that caused me from throwing the book across the room was that it was borrowed from a friend.
It does what most prescriptive guides do: conflates stylistic preference with grammatical rules, and makes sweeping generalisations ( such as “ the best form of dialogue attribution is ‘ said ’. ”), largely ignoring the paramount importance of context and audience.
It ’ s asy to each and test rules, but serious writers need to cultivate an intuitive feel for language in a myriad of genre, rather than being bogged down analysing parts of speech.King taught grammar, but gives examples of Tom Swifties that are n't, and keeps talking about " passive tense ", though later correctly says " passive voice ".
It ’ s toug to argue with, but it ’ s no help with discerning which words might be needless.King says this section is short because readers probably know enough grammar already, but he then agrees with Strunk and White, that if readers don ’ t, “ It ’ s extremel late ”.
King promises “ Everything I now about how to write good fiction. ”, along with encouragement, but with the caveat that you an ’ t ake a ad writer a competent one, or a good writer great, but you can giv a competent writer good, as long as they master the basics in the previous section: vocabulary, grammar, and style.
King stresses the importance and joy of reading, in ll and any situations, developing “ an ease and intimacy with the process of writing. ” But for writing itself, he reminds you need good health ( though poor health was what got him started, and he was successful when a heavy-drinking alcoholic), a stable relationship ( don ’ many great writers emerge from the opposite?), strict routine, and your own space ( no distractions, and th door to close).
“ Plot is… the good writer ’ s last resort and the dullard ’ s first choice. ” And “ There ’ s a huge ifference between story and plot.
King writes of when he was out walking in 1999 and was hit by a driver who could have ha from one of his periodical.
And Furthermore 3* ( annotated example of first and second drafts) This has a ery hort story that King invites readers to edit.
Booklists 3* ( books to ead, mostly fiction) There are two fiction booklists, mostly novels, but th few short story collections.
I was bored by the only other King I 've read ( The Shining, my review HERE), and I generally abhor the narrow prescriptivism of " How to rite " guides.