Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On Writing by Stephen King

On WritingThe back of the book calls Stephen Kings On Writing part memoir and part master class and that about sums it up. I've been putting this review off because honestly I didn't know what to write. I'm going to try and put my thoughts into words.

First off I loved it. At times I enjoyed his stories more than the actual lessons on writing. I found myself laughing out loud and marking pages to read to my mom and boyfriend. My favorite story of all is when he talks about Carrie and how he had originally thrown the WIP in the garbage. And it would have stayed there if his wife didn't happen to see it, uncrumple it, read it and then insist that "You've got something here".

I actually teared up at the part where he found out the paperback rights were sold and then laughed out loud when he was determined to get his wife the best mother's day gift possible at the local drugstore. And when he finally told his wife about the sale I shed a few tears. I read that part over a few times to myself, once to my mom and another time to my boyfriend and every time I teared up. Pathetic? Maybe. But what it comes down to is he explained every moment leading up to that one single moment and it made the moment that much bigger. There were times he couldn't afford to get his kids medicine and then there he was being told he just made two hundred thousand dollars on a book he almost gave up on. There is a bigger message than the money. It's never give up and when something proves to be difficult stick to it because the outcome will be more rewarding than anything you thought possible even if it is just the knowledge that you were able to finish it.

His main advice is read a lot and write a lot. Basic. Simple. So important. Probably the best advice any new writer can receive. Stephen King can't teach you how to be a good writer that is something that grows with time, practice and determination and even still as he notes might not help. He basically says you either got it or you don't and it can come off as harsh, but I don't think you can argue the point. He's right because it is more than just getting words on a page. It's getting them on the page and having them make sense and lead into the bigger picture and having your characters come to life in the readers mind. If you can't do that it doesn't matter how many words you can get on paper. Without the life, the story and the flow you have nothing but words.

If you are a writer or even if you are just a reader I would highly recommend this book. It had my attention from the minute I picked it up.

Currently Reading:
Queen of the Dead (A Ghost and the Goth Novel)