Book Review: On Writing by Stephen King


297 pages

Published 2002 by Pocket Books


Greetings Brave Adventurers,

This book by prolific author Stephen King is part biography and part writing handbook, and should most definitely be on the ‘must read’ list of any aspiring fiction author.

I’m going to start my review at the end, for I finished this book feeling strangely uplifted and positive about my writing. Perhaps it was King’s assertion that there is no simple ‘pill’ to making a selling writer. His advice is that a writer is made from hard work, a touch of luck and a certain amount of natural ability.

King’s advice is straightforward and simple, and is guaranteed to make your writing instantly better; edit hard, write every day, read, get rid of adverbs and unnecessary attributions and stop watching TV (which I think is great advice for everyone). The way he explains the act of writing and reading was a real ‘ah-ha’ moment for me. Not all his advice I agreed with; I continue to plot to some extent, finding his ‘pantser’ method leads to too much rambling.

The advice King gives is sandwiched between biographical recounts of his childhood and younger years, and a terrible car-crash he had in 2000, which nearly killed him. King knows how to spin a tale, for the glimpse into his youth was fascinating, and I had a huge smile on my face when he narrated his ‘big break’ with Carrie, after a life of financial hardship. In contrast, the recount of his car crash and the resulting injuries was a terrible moment in Stephen King’s life, one that he is lucky to have survived.

If you have not read this book, I highly suggest that you do.
10/10 masterful dragons

10 dragons


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