The Personal Experiences Of Stephen King's On Writing

805 Words 4 Pages
Many books claim to contain the secrets of becoming a good writer. Some are written by academics, others by prize-winning writers, and it is often difficult to decide which are worth reading. In 2000, bestselling author Stephen King took his own stab at it (King’s usual subject matter forces me to use that clichéd metaphor), publishing nearly 300 pages of advice for aspiring writers under the tile On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft . King acknowledges almost immediately that “most books about writing are filled with bullshit” (page ix), yet he somehow manages to avoid that fate.
It seems that King wrote On Writing for the beginning writer, particularly a writer of fiction. If you have a basic background in English (i.e. you know the difference
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While this section, titled “C.V.”, is fascinating, it does not provide much insight for the aspiring writer. The memoir portion of this “memoir of the craft” shows the importance of mining personal experiences. This is valuable to a new writer who may not yet be familiar with this concept or is stuck in a search for inspiration. If you are picking up this book for its writing advice alone, however, there is little else of value in these first few pages.
The real good stuff, then, is packed into the next 200 pages. King approaches his advice with a metaphor that is easy to understand: his writing toolbox. He breaks down the layers of his toolbox in short, easily digestible sections that touch on vocabulary, grammar, style, dialogue and plot, spending just enough time on each “tool” to get your mind working without boring you. The writing tips in this section are universal, such as using active voice rather than passive voice, but come with useful examples and comical flavour that only King can
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His recommendations cover everything from the space where you should write – a place of your own with a closed door and no telephone – to what you should write. He encourages the writer inside you, saying, “If you happen to be a science fiction fan, it’s natural that you should want to write science fiction… If you’re a mystery fan, you’ll want to write mysteries, and if you enjoy romances, it’s natural for you to want to write romances of your own. There’s nothing wrong with writing these things. What would be very wrong, I think, is to turn away from what you know and like… in favour of things you believe will impress your friends, relatives, and writing-circle colleagues. ” (pages

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