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On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft | [Stephen King]

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

The prolific, perennially best selling author recounts his early life and writing struggles, gives advice on the crucial aspects of the writing art, and talks about his much-publicized, near-fatal accident.
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Audible Editor Reviews

To begin with, you've got Stephen King, a writer so talented in the art of thrill-generation that he could insert excitement into the assembly instructions for a bookshelf. Or, say, a book about writing and grammar. And that's precisely what King does in On Writing, an improbably fascinating, relentlessly compelling trip through the mind, style, life, and work of one of our greatest popular writers.

Hearing this unique combination of anecdotes and insider's advice told in King's charmingly nasal voice makes an already insightful narrative even more personal and powerful. If you want to write, this audiobook will quickly become a treasured resource, because it will improve your writing. But even if you have no interest whatsoever in writing, King's anecdotes and instructions into the art and process will probably make you a better, more informed reader.

Publisher's Summary

"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write." Here is Stephen King's master class on his craft.

On Writing begins with a mesmerizing account of King's childhood and his 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, offer a fresh and often funny perspective on the formation of a writer. King then turns to the tools of his trade, examining 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.

King was in the middle of writing this book when he was nearly killed in a widely reported accident. On Writing culminates with a profoundly moving account of how his need to write spurred him toward recovery, and brought him back to his life.

©2000 Stephen King, All Rights Reserved; (P)2000 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Spunky, vivid prose are the prime ingredients of what must be considered not at all the usual writer's guide." (Booklist)
"On Writing contains some of the most harrowing pages he has ever written." (Salon.com)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Jose Santo Andre, Brazil 03-09-14
    Jose Santo Andre, Brazil 03-09-14 Member Since 2014

    You can tell who I am by my reading, or can you?

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    "A class on good writing"

    In this book Stephen King takes us on his method of writing a novel. He tells a little bit about his own life and the history about some of his books. A must read for Stephen King's fans, for readers in general and for those aspiring to be writers of course. I don't aspire being a writer but the reading of this book helped me on understanding the reading of novels in general and understanding storytelling. Definetly one of the best books I have listen at last year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Arturo Zapopan, Mexico 02-28-14
    Arturo Zapopan, Mexico 02-28-14 Member Since 2014
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    "It forces you to stand up and write, right now."

    Having heard tons of good reviews about this book, I was afraid that my expectations would be a little too high to enjoy it fully. I was of course wrong. The book exceeded my expectations by a wide margin. More than any kind of "manual" on how to write (a concept which King swiftly tears apart), this is a great book about the love of writing, about the lengths and shortcomings we go into when trying it, and above all, about King being utterly honest about his profession.
    I think I really liked it because of that. Rather than talking to us from some golden throne about "Writing" (queue thunder noises); King explains his trade in the most informal and open of ambiances, without pretending nor trying to embellish it, a feeling which is exponentially enhanced by his narration, which by the way is brilliant.
    I have the feeling that anyone reading this book is already captivated by either books, writing, or both of them, and thus needs little convincing that writing is the most awesome thing in the world. With that in mind, I would recommend this book as a way to praise or share something that both you and King really love, with the added bonus of learning some great tips about this art. The full banana.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lisa Burns, OR, United States 02-04-14
    lisa Burns, OR, United States 02-04-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Not exactly what I expected"

    This is part memoir, part advice. The beginning is a beautifully written history of King's beginnings as a writer. I'm not an avid reader of King's works and I found this part provocative as well as entertaining. I came away with a greater appreciation of King as a writer and I loved that he narrated it himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 01-20-14
    William 01-20-14 Member Since 2015

    Bill

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    "My favorite book on writing and one of Kings best"
    Would you listen to On Writing again? Why?

    I have read "On writing" several times. Listening was just as good. Maybe even better.
    It is an enjoyable read because it's just good. it's good for a writer to re-visit the ideas that have made king so successful.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of On Writing?

    The story of his near death and return to writing is the most memorable moment for me. It's almost a redemption.


    What does Stephen King bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    King brings his own feeling to his own story. He isn't the most eloquent reader but he adds his own feelings to his story. This is most telling in "On Writing."


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    The book was too long to listen to in one sitting but if it had been shorter I might have done so. I prefer longer books though.


    Any additional comments?

    A lot of people, even writers, tell me they don't like King because his work is too dark. This is not true of "On Writing." It is serious but also hopeful and funny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Matt north grafton, MA, United States 01-06-14
    Matt north grafton, MA, United States 01-06-14

    Fiction lover, wannabe writer. lost of flights with my new job. Audible is PERFECT to keep me up the books I want to read.

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    "As a wanabe writer this book is a MUST."

    I've listed to this book a dozen times, no exaggeration. The insight into King's mind is priceless. If you pay attention you catch him talking about things and people that were direct inspirations for people events, and places in his books. His personal stories are fascinating, and the actual writing advice is spot on. A must have.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Robin Brno, Czech Republic 01-02-14
    Robin Brno, Czech Republic 01-02-14 Member Since 2013

    Educator and communicator living in the Czech Republic.

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    "Everything you need to know from the master"
    Any additional comments?

    Look, Stephen King is Stephen King. The self-professed McDonald's of literature - but he's successful, and there's always loads to learn from success.

    Fascinating, gripping, funny in places and even moving, ~On writing is part auto-biography / part instruction manual, yet dispite that it never bores or preaches.

    It's only flaw is being too slow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Robert LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 01-01-14
    Robert LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 01-01-14 Member Since 2012
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    "very intresting, even if you're not a King fan."
    Would you listen to On Writing again? Why?

    Yes, the second half of the book is a clinic on the craft of writing, very informative.


    If you’ve listened to books by Stephen King before, how does this one compare?

    I am not normally a Steven King fan, and for the first half of this book I was worried this was just going to be him recounting his childhood but wait for it - the second half is worth the wait.


    What about Stephen King’s performance did you like?

    He is an incredibly prolific writer and hearing his views on writing is worth a listen.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    King sits as his desk for hours! WHY IN GODS NAME WOULD YOU WATCH THIS MOVIE!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Michael CONNELLYS SPRINGS, NC, United States 11-27-13
    Michael CONNELLYS SPRINGS, NC, United States 11-27-13
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    "Great listen for every aspiring writer."
    What made the experience of listening to On Writing the most enjoyable?

    Great sneak peek into a great writer's development.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Very practical nuggets on writing.


    Any additional comments?

    Not a formal "textbook" on writing. More of a story where you pick and choose things that can help you along your way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Julia Grant Rocky River, OH, US 09-28-13
    Julia Grant Rocky River, OH, US 09-28-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Fascinating insights"
    Would you listen to On Writing again? Why?

    Absolutely, and I will. It feels like an intimate conversation with Stephen King, who reads it. And it is filled with insights into both his own life and into the creative process.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of On Writing?

    His description of his first book success.


    Have you listened to any of Stephen King’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It did indeed make me laugh at times.


    Any additional comments?

    Stephen Kings does a great job of reading his own words to you. I highly recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Oso Harris Fort Worth, TX, United States 09-26-13
    Oso Harris Fort Worth, TX, United States 09-26-13 Member Since 2014

    I'm a dog.

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    "Practical and insightful."
    Where does On Writing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a how-to manual on the practice and business of writing with a great deal of value for aspiring writers.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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