As I mentioned in a previous post, I have recently undertaken the challenge of writing a novel. In order to succeed where in the past I have so drastically failed, this time I decided to read a few books on the subject. “On Writing” by Stephen King is the second of such books.
“On Writing” by Stephen King is in a genre of its own, as it is not only a guide on writing but also partly an autobiography. In his beautifully irreverent prose and brutally honest manner, King first takes us on a tour of the major moments and aspects of his life, and then begins imparting his opinion and experience on the skill of writing and how it is best executed.
Unlike the K.M. Weiland’s book that I reviewed last week, King takes a more holistic approach writing advice. Apart from a rather thorough rebuke on the overuse of Adverbs, King provides little in the way of concrete tips. There aren’t any “rules” to copy down and memorize, or even any passages that I could directly quote that would give you any idea of the knowledge imparted. Rather than an academic text, the book can probably best be described as how a grandfather or an elder would educate the young on the subject of writing: using personal experience and homespun knowledge. King chooses to change the way we think about writing in its totality, rather than attempting to fix exact practices.
Stephen King has been one of my literary heroes since I first saw “The Shawshank Redemption”, “The Running Man” and “The Green Mile”, and began reading his books. As a lover of truly imaginative ideas, I have trouble thinking of someone as efficacious as King. This work has undoubtedly had a profound effect on me precisely because of my admiration for King. It is one thing to receive advice from someone who is accomplished; it is quite something else to receive advice from one of your heroes. Despite my obvious bias, I have absolutely no problems suggesting this book for anyone and everyone. Whether you wish to be an author or not, this is an amazingly well written book, full of interesting stories about King’s life and experiences, and, what’s more, it offers a fresh perspective on what it means to be a story teller.
Title: On Writing
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 288 (Paperback)
Josh’s Rating: 5/5