Book Talk: On Writing

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Title: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Author: Stephen King

Released: 2000

Goodreads Synopsis: On Writing begins with King’s childhood and his uncannily early focus on writing to tell a story. King next turns to the basic tools of his trade and culminates with a profoundly moving account of how King’s overwhelming need to write spurred him toward recovery.

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”

In 1999, Stephen King began to write about his craft — and his life. By midyear, a widely reported accident jeopardized the survival of both. And in his months of recovery, the link between writing and living became more crucial than ever.

Rarely has a book on writing been so clear, so useful, and so revealing. On Writing begins with a mesmerizing account of King’s childhood and his uncannily early focus on writing to tell a story. A series of vivid memories from adolescence, college, and the struggling years that led up to his first novel, Carrie, will afford readers a fresh and often very funny perspective on the formation of a writer. King next turns to the basic tools of his trade — how to sharpen and multiply them through use, and how the writer must always have them close at hand. He takes the reader through crucial aspects of the writer’s art and life, offering practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character development to work habits and rejection.

Serialized in the New Yorker to vivid acclaim, On Writing culminates with a profoundly moving account of how King’s overwhelming need to write spurred him toward recovery, and brought him back to his life.

Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower — and entertain — everyone who reads it.

My Goodreads rating: 5/5

I really loved this book. Most books on the writing craft that I have read feel like they are just finding new ways to reiterate the usual, sometimes outdated advice. Sometimes it feels like they are rambling on in a classroom. This feels like a friendly conversation between writers. It feels like Stephen respects the reader as a writer. You can feel the inspiration in his childhood stories, experiences and characters. (Almost) everything relates back to writing, every experience, thought, moment. Even before he gets to the actual writing advice, he is setting up a writer’s life. 

Overall, this was great. It’s loose and encouraging and productive. I would highly recommend this book for writers at any stage.

-Chelsy

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