I am a glutton for knowledge, especially regarding knowledge of myself.
Great tips with examples and a fun story to boot. I thought it was going to be too long of a book, but like any good book, it left me wanting more. I will listen to it again. It was that enjoyable.
Ever thought about writing something? This is your manual. Part biography, part instruction manual, Stephen King lets you in on how he sees the writing, the process and the essential tools that any writer uses and how he got where he is today.
With great humility and direct honesty, he exposes his process of creation and how the story finds it's way to the page without any pretense that he is the possessor of some esoteric knowledge or that he has some arcane connection to ethereal being from other planes (He also never denies either, so it might warrant some scrutiny). He also reveals the secrets to his success: Hard work and persistence. He also makes it very clear that he is one of the lucky ones and that for every one writer that makes a living out if it, at least dozens will not be able to achieve it. In short, money should not be the goal of a writer, just a happy accident.
King also includes a section on how to getting your stuff published. That is actually more of a series of tips on how to minimize rejection letters from editors. However, this section is a it outdated and has more of an historical/biographical value as the outlets for creative writing have undoubtedly changed a great deal with the introduction of a myriad of electronic publishing options.
The biographic elements of the books feel very personal with King himself narrating. It brings you in closer and makes for a very enjoyable glimpse in the author's life from childhood, through tough times and addictions concluding with a very real brush with death.
For my part, I always wanted to write, I just didn't know how to get started. Somehow, I thought I needed some sort of permission to write, not really knowing who or what could grant it. Turns out, I just needed Stephen King to tell me that I was allowed to do it. Now, I have started writing all sorts of things and it is a lot of fun.
I strongly recommend this audiobook to anyone who ever thought about creative writing. It has become my source of motivation when the words are protesting and writing gets harder.
You too can get your Writing license! Steve is waiting!
This is an inspiring book made even more inspiring by the fact that Stephen King took the time to narrate this himself.
J. Jason Gale
The book comes in three parts: true vignettes from his life experiences that propelled him to write tales of horror (he insists it's not an autobiography); writing instructions; and a blow-by-blow recount of his run-in with a minivan.
All three parts are well worth the listening, however, as he notes himself, they are virtually stand-alone units with no through line.
One delicious thing about this book is Steve narrates it himself. Like a suspect confessing under a naked, over-bright light bulb, the eagerness -- or lack there of -- concealed in his voice paints emotional undertones to his stories.
The writing instructions section is the lion's share of the book. (Please let me offer this caution: Mr. King has been writing since his was old enough to hold a pen so some of his advise will be strong meat for the beginning writer.) Mr. King taught high school English for years, and so he relaxes, entertains and hammers home a stream of practical points.
He sorts writers into four types: Bad, Good, Very Good (where he classifies himself) and Magically Gifted. He suggests only the Good can move up to the Very Good; the rest are locked-in. Perhaps if you are not at least a Good writer, you're just wasting your time?
Steve says writing is telepathy: the writer thinks a thought, then the reader has the same thought. If so, after listening to this book, you will know Mr. King intimately and will be able to write like he does, more or less.
It's up there in the top 20.
I like Mr. King's humorous asides - too many to mention!
To quote a character from "Boston Legal", "He's a hoot!"
He has a very distinctive voice and it's pleasant to listen to him. He speaks very conversationally - like the two of you are in a room and he is telling you his story.
I caught myself laughing out loud many times as Stephen told his story. Part autobiography, part instruction manual, the book is entirely entertaining.
Stephen gives a vivid description of writing (Carrie I think) in the laundry room of what sounded like my first apartment.
I laughed a lot, darn near cried at the end, and winced all the way through at some pretty salty language.
I bought the Kindle edition too so I could highlight some sections.
I love King's style of writing and enjoyed hearing his personal take on the craft in his voice. He did a great job telling his story and it was interesting to learn how so many of his famous books were developed. An added bonus is that it is an interesting memoir too.
Any fan of Stephen King would enjoy listening to this book. I read the hard copy years ago and wanted some new inspiration for my own writing. I'm going to listen to the end with hard copy in hand. He has so much to teach!
I really enjoyed this book. It was like Steven and I had an afternoon alone to sit and talk about life and how to best convey it in words The story of his life is as good as his instructions on technique. Thanks Mr. King for your want to help other writers.
marnieml - an aspiring screenwriter and other stuff.
I love that Stephen King narrated this himself.
I purchased On Writing years ago for King's writing advice and even though that half has some invaluable insights, I love listening to the stories of his younger years the most. His youth wasn't much different than the average person's but the way he tells his stories really takes you back in time. And it's cool to see some of little things from his past that have snuck into his writing. Talk about backstory...
I haven't and actually didn't know there were others but as soon as I'm done writing this review I'm going to investigate that.
Into the mind of a Horror master. A true lesson on backstory, and much more. POW!
I recommend this book not only to aspiring writers but to all Stephen King fans.
consumer of goods and bads
The audio version is likely much better than the print version since Mr. King reads it himself.