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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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  •  
    Russell 03-26-12
    Russell 03-26-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible - worth listening again and again"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

    Hearing Stephen King read this himself. His voice adds so much.


    What did you like best about this story?

    All of it. His tips are amazing. Understanding his past really makes it come alive.


    What about Stephen King’s performance did you like?

    It felt like we were having a conversation. Very 'personal' experience


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

    Inspires me to keep writing


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darby Green Bay, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 03-19-12
    Darby Green Bay, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 03-19-12 Member Since 2010

    I was born in 1967. Haven't died yet.

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    "Pretty darn good- and I'm not a fan."

    Before I bought this I had finished reading only one Stephen King book and listened to only a couple on audio. The one I managed to finish was only 148 pages long so I wouldn't call myself a "fan." Especially since I've started several of his books in the last thirty years and just given up on them.

    So why did I purchase "On Writing?" Well, I am a writer trying to make a switch to mainstream fiction, and who else has been more successful AND written a book with advice on how he did it AND been available on Audible?

    The experiment was a success as far as I am concerned. The book gives lots of insight into the publishing industry as well as where he got some of his ideas. He courageously gives opinions on his stories and other writers which, more often than not made me shrug and think, "That's pretty accurate, I guess..." His personal history was pretty cool too, and it's always nice for writers to see that someone is actually doing what we want to do. Realistically, even if I do break into writing, I'm not likely to replicate King's success- none of us are- but to think that you might be able to make a living at it is nice, even if it is a LOOOOOONG shot.

    Mr King's narration is fine. He's not as expressive as Simon Preble, but he knows his material! I've thought for years that he wasn't the best narrator of his books because his women sound like his men and his dialogue often sounds like his exposition, but I realized as I listened to this that it doesn't matter that much. He may not be a great "actor" but he tells a heckuva story. Now I think I've been unfair to him.

    I don't think a recap of the book is appropriate here. If you look at the cover you know what it's about. The only thing you really require from a review is whether it does a good job with what it sets out to do. My answer is- yes, it does. The greatest thing I can say about this audio book is that it makes me want to go out and buy the hard copy- not because I wouldn't listen again, I will, but because I want to use it as a reference.

    If you're on the fence (and I was at one point), I say take the leap. You'll enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew STOCKTON, CA, United States 03-19-12
    Andrew STOCKTON, CA, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2011

    I'm a 26 Year Old going for my MA in Theology.

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    "A True Insight - Wisdom of King Is Intriguing"
    What made the experience of listening to On Writing the most enjoyable?

    Beside the context of this book I greatly enjoyed the fact that King himself narrates this insight on writing.


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

    I won't give that away however I'll just say you should purchase this book to find-out,


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I won't give that away, again, however I'll just say you should purchase this book to find-out,


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

    Absolutely, once you get started your stuck in awe as if listening to your Grand Parents telling you about the olden day's...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    James Weatherford, TX, United States 03-12-12
    James Weatherford, TX, United States 03-12-12
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    "Great read."
    What made the experience of listening to On Writing the most enjoyable?

    If you have ever wanted to be a writer, I highly suggest you read this book. It has helped me move into a field I am really enjoying. King presents it from a unique style as his books often are and it is important to study the craft if you want to be successful.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stephen king makes this a personal journey.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When king began the mechanics of writing and how he comes by his stories, I sat up and paid attention. It has helped to spark many stories for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Richard Sacramento, CA, United States 02-14-12
    Richard Sacramento, CA, United States 02-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Thank you Mr. King"

    It’s like a friend sharing private stories, loved the book and recommend it to others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luke J. Morris Elmwood Park, IL, United States 02-13-12
    Luke J. Morris Elmwood Park, IL, United States 02-13-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Fun listen, with some helpful tips"
    What made the experience of listening to On Writing the most enjoyable?

    King's self-deprecating humor, including his admission that he sometimes doesn't follow the advice he's giving, even when it's great advice.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The tips on writing itself, particularly on scheduling work and beating procrastination.

    The memoir parts were okay, and they do give some insight into a


    Any additional comments?

    King's voice isn't great, but he reads surprisingly well. As the author, he knows exactly which points to emphasize, which helps the whole book come alive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wade 01-21-12
    Wade 01-21-12
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    "Story behind the Stories"
    Where does On Writing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book would rank in the top 3 of the audio books I have listened to.


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

    The recounting of the authours early life and struggles are a story of interest


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was the authours recounting of his accident, being struck by the van.


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

    I found this an interesting autobiography c/w some advice on being a writer.


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth the listen, especially as Stephen King narrates the book himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Suzanne Valley Head, WV, United States 12-28-11
    Suzanne Valley Head, WV, United States 12-28-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Exciting Listen for Wanna Be Writers"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print version, but found Stephen King's personal narration to be one of the highlights of the experience.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen King? Why or why not?

    I've read several Stephen King books, though certainly not the majority of his work.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Stephen's reaction to selling the paperback rights to Carrie.


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

    I laughed several times throughout the book. Stephen King has quite a sense of humor.


    Any additional comments?

    His writing technique advice was less prolific than I had imagined it to be, but the advice he gave was quite specific and VERY useful to me as a new writer. His open, easy, down to earth style, both in his written work and in his narration, were a pleasure. I bought this book after having read his latest publication, 11-22-63, which I found to be extremely well written and entertaining, more so than any of his previous work, and decided that with his mad, story-telling skills, any advice from him would be highly valuable. I wasn't wrong in my assumption.Note: This is not a 'how to' book. It reads largely as a narrative of Stephen's life with writing advice included. I liked the format...liked 'watching' a regular guy become a best selling author and, even better, remain a regular guy, but it's not an instruction manual.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Edward ny, NY, USA 03-22-09
    Edward ny, NY, USA 03-22-09
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    "great and inspritational"

    stephen king is probably the best reader of stephen king. i loved hearing him talk about his life and career. i would highly recommend this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric PASADENA, CA, United States 11-20-08
    Eric PASADENA, CA, United States 11-20-08 Listener Since 2006
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    "Loved it"

    I loved this book, Steven mainly because you are truly honest and true in it. You greatly inspired me even though I am not a writer, my favorite part is when you talk about plot vs story, that's brilliant. It's inspired me to let the story unfold in my everyday life. You've also inspired me to read more fiction and other books by you. Thanks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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