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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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  •  
    Linda S. 02-24-15
    Linda S. 02-24-15

    Lover of books, art & family but not in that order.

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    "Very good"

    I really liked this book. Lots of good info for people interested in writing. Part biography, part how to book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich Clucas 02-06-15
    Rich Clucas 02-06-15
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    "Great information"

    Informative humorous & creative I have learned so much from this book! Stephen king is a great educator as well as author!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie K. Burgess 02-05-15 Member Since 2015

    I enjoy reading literary thought provoking novels, magical realism, and science fiction. I completed my MFA in 2012 and enjoy writing.

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    "Every inspiring writer should read King's book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I recommend this book to every inspiring writer and then even to those who are fans of Stephen King and his writing. One can learn much about Stephen and his life, just by reading this book.


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

    When Stephen talks about his accident, his recovery from it, and his life changes as a result of what he went through and learned about himself.


    Which character – as performed by Stephen King – was your favorite?

    Himself


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Colorado 02-03-15
    Amazon Customer Colorado 02-03-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A personal class from the Master."
    Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

    I believe you'd ideally want both versions. However if you were to just pick one I'd recommend this version. Having King in your ear telling you his stories and his methods means more when it comes from his voice. You can really hear where he means to put emphasis and when he really means to get a point across. The inspiring parts of the book have more weight when they come from him directly and I believe you can't get that when you're own mental voice is sounding in your head instead. Also, there's a lot of good stuff in here about audiobooks and how much he enjoys them as well.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like the part where Stephen gets a setting all lined up for you and just before he says, "go." He throws in a twist and tells you to write about it. I also particularly enjoy the challenge to stop by his website and submit the assignment with the notion that he will at least take a look at it. Another big plus in this book is how much he sets attainable goals for you as a writer starting out. I found that I can accomplish his "beginners goal" of 1000 words a day in about 40 minutes to an hour, and knowing his personal goal is at least 2000 words a day makes me feel confident and accomplished when I too hit that mark. I also like that he says to read a lot. I think that's really important but its nice to hear him verify what I thought. I'm not sure I can get through 60 books a year like him, but I'm going to try.


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

    His voice gives a better weight to the words he's reading because he's also the author. It honestly feels like you're sitting in a room listening to a master talk to you about his craft and his journey through that craft like a personal pupil. Every time I listened to this book I finished my session with a real sense of inspiration as if Stephen himself was telling me personally to "GO for it!" I honestly believe it's the tipping point that got me writing what I write now.


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

    I did, I have purchased "creative writing" books and other "creative crafts" books hoping to find something that I can just do. Drawing, I have to say, is a hard and impressive skill I just can't seem to do naturally despite having a Bachelors in Art. Writing, after listening to what he says about the craft, comes naturally to me now. I don't find myself plagued with self doubt and worry that I'm doing something obviously wrong.


    Any additional comments?

    If you want to write. I mean really throw away the bull and learn what you really need to know. Give this book a shot. Stephen often refers to other masters of the craft and even recommends a few other books to read if you're serious. Thanks Mr. King for the inspiration and personal feel you gave me while listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Salima Y Benjamin Los Angeles, CA, US 01-19-15
    Salima Y Benjamin Los Angeles, CA, US 01-19-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Pure inspiration and hardcore toolkit for writers"

    If I said all the things that I am motivated to say after reading and listening to this book, you wouldn't trust me. This book has exceeded my expectations in every way. I just finished reading/listening for the first time, but will begin a second read/listen today. It is filled with treasure, and I'm going back in for a second haul.
    So happy that SK narrated this book himself. It is a very personal book, and no one could "voice" this story better than "The Man" himself. If you love to write and live to write, this is a book that you must have in your collection, right next to your basics, like The Elements of Style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie L 01-15-15
    Melanie L 01-15-15

    writer

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    "Writing Tips from the Master"
    What made the experience of listening to On Writing the most enjoyable?

    Stephen King narrated the book -- the next best thing to speaking with him personally.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stephen King, of course.


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

    Only he, the book's author, could read it like he meant for it to be read.


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

    How Stephen King writes, and you can too.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved how Stephen says he never worries about plot, narrative, climax, etc. when writing a book. Instead, he just gets characters into predicaments, then lets them find their ways out. He explains that he doesn't create the stories. Rather, he digs them up, carefully, like ancient, priceless fossils. Inspiring and motivating!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith N. Jeremie Mankato, MN USA 01-12-15
    Judith N. Jeremie Mankato, MN USA 01-12-15 Member Since 2014

    Judi

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    "Great book"

    Well written and very engaging. I enjoyed not only learning about King's method of writing, but also learning about King himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Las Vegas, NV, United States 12-30-14
    Paul Las Vegas, NV, United States 12-30-14 Member Since 2011

    I am constantly on the road and a voracious reader, so audiobooks are a must!

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    "Excellent memoir of the craft"

    Any writer should read this book. It's always helpful to plumb the minds of people who are better at any given task, and Stephen King is one of the best. Here he shares stories from his own life which helped mold him into the writer he is today as well as practical advice for anyone who wants to write or write better. This book is definitely worth the time investment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 12-07-14
    Robin 12-07-14
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    "A must-read if you love Stephen King!"
    If you could sum up On Writing in three words, what would they be?

    His approach to writing, combined with the way his mind integrates his own experiences and invents others, is nothing short of amazing. Great tips.


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

    Definitely worth a credit!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Brown everett, wa usa 11-26-14
    Christopher Brown everett, wa usa 11-26-14 Listener Since 2003

    res00mwd

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    "Stephen King reads it!!!!!"
    What did you love best about On Writing?

    king read it. he gives all the feelings of his writing here, it really sinks in for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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