On Writing

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“ Long live the King ” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King ’ s On Writing. Part autobiograph, part master class by one of he bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the playwrigh ’ s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King ’ s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a editor, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will mpower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anybody who wants a great story well told.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Series
Asin
B00AK2NMV2
Number of Pages
288
Original Title of the Book
On Writing
Publication Date
Published October 3rd 2000 by Scribner

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Raised by a single mother in Maine in the 1950s and '60s, King recounts his childhood, his earliest discoveries in fiction, his first forays into writing and publishing, his breakthrough debut novel Carrie some ten years later in 1974 and his near collapse from alcohol and rugs.

Thi writing advice kicks in, covering vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style and much more.

That ha a book King was chipping away at in June 1999 when he was struck by a negligent driver while on an afternoon walk, and his life changing experience is recounted as well.Even when King is n't dispensing writing advice -- and when he oes, it 's difficult to anyone from students writing a paper to writers with dreams of being the next King of Horror -- simply reading his prose is a motivation and a delight.

Holder of a Bachelor 's of Arts in English from the University of Maine at Orono, King 's manner or style has always intrigued me of anothe subplo in a King ovel, an English instructor perhaps, but ore likely a guy who works at the hardware or auto parts store in town and who loves: 1) talking to people, and 2) helping people by sharing his expertise.

I have spent a good many years since -- too many, I kno -- being ashamed about what I rea.

I hink I was eightee before I kne that almost every writer of fantasy and poetry who has ever published a line has been warned by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent.

If I ever came close to despairing about my future as a playwright, it was then. -- I had written three other novels before Carrie -- Rage, The Long Walk, and Running Man were later published.

One of the really bad things you coul do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you 're just a little bit ashamed of your short ones.

Say that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind if it is acceptable and colorful. -- Two pages of the passive voice -- just about any business document ever written, in differen words, not to mention reams of bad fiction -- make me nee to scream.

irst is that good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals ( vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style) and then filling the third level of your toolbox with the right instruments.

Thi third is that while it is mpossible to fin a competent writer out of ad autho, and while it is quit impossible to get th great writer out of good one, it is ossible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to get th ba writer out of a merely competent one. -- Smith was n't goin at the road on the afternoon our lives came together because his rottweiler had jumped from the very rear of his van into the back-seat area, where there was an Igloo cooler with some meat stored inside.

Stephen King had been publishing for more than 25 years when this boo arrived in 2000, and while he 's robably been asked " Where do you fin your ideas? " or " How do I become a ovelist? " enough times over to want to either strangle someone or answer that a book, I love how balanced and unassuming his approach was in going about the latter.Rather than document the genesis of every novel he ever wrote as if they were masterpieces ( most are far from it, including Cujo, which King admits he ca n't remember writing through the cocaine and beer), or offer novelists a definitive instruction manual on how to become a bestselling author like him, King dabs his pen in each of those inkwells with welcome doses of humility and insight.King writes about his youth -- watching his grandfather tote a giant tool box outside for the seemingly mundane task of repairing a screen door, or writing Carrie in the laundry room of the trailer he shared with his ife -- as well as his near death in 1999, when thi write is struck by a distracted driver.My greatest takeaway from the sections of he novel which deal with craft is King 's revelation that for him, writing feels less like dreaming up stories and more like paleontology, pulling a fossil out of he ground.

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Sure, he churns out pulpy horror stories that are proudly displayed in airport bookstores, but he man knows how to rite a decen tory, and he 's probably one of thi most well-known, non-dead American authors in the world.

I particularly iked the story behind Carrie: King was working as a anitor at a high school, and one night he was cleaning the girls' locker room.

However, in conclusion: even if you hav n't a fan of Stephen King 's work, he has some ery good advice about writing and storytelling, plus some good stories of his own.

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he novel is great and if you like writing, it is undoubtedl a must read.I could write a summary of he essa, it is easy enough to ummarize and there are even a few important points that King presents, but eventually I dont ant you to give it for free.

If you want to rea as truthfully as you should, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway. " Here is are a few quotes from thi nove that wil inspire you to take my advice- If you need to hav riter, you will do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

Consequently, I don ’ t read fiction to study the art of fiction, but imply because I like stories.

Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and uite often the bad books have more to each than the good ones.It ’ s toug for me to asser that people who read very little ( or not at all in some instance) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I feel it ’ s true.

If you kno you need permission to do all the reading and writing your little heart desires, however, consider it hereby granted by yours truly.I love this nove because it agrees with all my preconceptions.

but I don ’ t believe what order they go in! ” Of course, he essa is not intended just as a writing manual.

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It 's rare feeling, but one that happens whenever I 'm in the aftermat of a new avourite book.

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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.

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© Nicole Waggonner