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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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  •  
    Susan QUEMADO, NM, United States 07-05-12
    Susan QUEMADO, NM, United States 07-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent! (not a King fan--till now)"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

    Personally, yes, becasue King reasds his own work so well.


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

    I was struck by the fact that King has worked so hard--at his writing, supoorting his family by working difficult and unpleasant jobs before his novels sold.
    He emphasizes that a lot of hard work is needed to become a writer, and he embodies that fact so well!


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

    Himself, of course. I very much enjoyed learning about him and his early life. Even though I am not a horror fan, I plan to ead some of his books now.


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

    When he told about his being hit by a van and nearly killed, and then that he finished writing this very book, while in excruciating pain. I will listen to this book again!


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this book almost more than I can say. King has not been high on my list of authors, but I am very , very glad I purchased this book. I will go back to it and listen to it again and again, especially the parts on writing advice. Thank you, Stephen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Tate. 06-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Im glad I bought this audiobook"

    I had the ebook edition sitting inside my Kindle for months, somehow I didn't get through the first pages. Since I got a good deal in Audible, I decided to go for the audiobook and listen to it better.

    I've read some of King's books and unfinished a couple, fiction is not my cup of tea. However I've been focusing on writing on the last years which has made me read almost everything there is on the topic. I bought On Writing, at the beginning for educational purposes, and thought King might have something good to say about it, and he did.

    The cool thing about the audiobook is that it is narrated by him, so it is great when you have the author read his book. Second, it goes through King's personal life in a biographical style which is very interesting. And third, it entertains and at the same time delivers scattered advice throughout the book on tips on writing.
    I really enjoyed the book and I would listen to it again, specially Chapter 4.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Xilon Gimhae, South Korea 06-20-12
    Jeff Xilon Gimhae, South Korea 06-20-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Memoir, Ok Book on Writing"
    Would you listen to On Writing again? Why?

    Yes, some of it. I would probably never listen to the whole thing through again. It's the kind of book you might revisit parts of, but not feel the need to re-experience in full.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The best thing about On Writing as an Audiobook is getting to listen to Stephen King read it himself. As the book is written as a sort of talk to the reader this works fantastically. It's like having Mr. King sitting beside you telling stories about his experiences and his beliefs about writing.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I found the part of the book where Mr. King discusses how he felt he had spent a lot of his career being made to feel guilty about what he wrote very inspirational. As a fan of genre fiction and someone trying to write such things myself I worry I'll look silly to some. This made me rethink those feelings.


    Any additional comments?

    I do think it is important to realize that most of this book is not really a guide to writing. It's not a complete autobiography either but it is more memoir than guide. Also, most of what Mr. King does give as writing advice is fairly standard stuff. Not that that's bad, it's standard stuff because it works. For many people having Stephen King say it right to you himself though might help it have more impact. I really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the parts on writing. But, I didn't find it profound in anyway. This is not "Stephen King Teaches You How to Write". Which is fine, but folks should know that going in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Columbia, MO, United States 06-18-12
    Ellen Columbia, MO, United States 06-18-12 Member Since 2013

    Love Romance, Suspense, strong character development a must. Authors I go to: Erik Larson (NF), Stephen King, Suzanne Brockmann, Susan Elizabeth Phillips,

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    "Love to Hear King Read"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

    Yes. But only because I have both. King is really animated and I enjoy hearing his voice.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stephen King is a character. I enjoyed his memories about his upbringing but also his "view" of the car that hit him


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

    Always Superb


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

    No. I liked digesting the information and then being able to listen again if I wanted to


    Any additional comments?

    One of the most useful fiction writing books I have ever heard

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-09-12
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-09-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Discipline, Reality, Work, Fate"
    What did you love best about On Writing?

    Getting to know Stephen King as a human, rather than by the content of his novels


    What did you like best about this story?

    King's frank and direct approach. Some of what he said was not good news but I took it at face value and was grateful he was so forthcoming.


    What about Stephen King’s performance did you like?

    The sincerity and care of it. He truly wants to improve the craft and made it clear that he wishes all writers to be effective and successful.


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

    The story about his injury and the struggles he went through with the beautiful help of his devoted wife.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone wishing to be a successful writer had better either read this book and take it to heart or be lucky enough to be one in ten million writers, who has natural ability that will carry them over the brutal truths and requirements that block most authors from attaining greatness merely by putting letters together in a stream.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Sibyl United States 05-28-12
    Sibyl United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Loved it. Very Informative! Thanks, Stephen"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you are thinking of writing, and writing horror, this is a must.


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

    I loved the Toolbox reference, and all of the things you need to write.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Alexis SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 05-16-12
    Alexis SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 05-16-12
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    "Worth the Listen"
    What made the experience of listening to On Writing the most enjoyable?

    Great guide for writing. Memoir part is great and the writing tips are really helpful. King's performance of the text is quality. I appreciated both the writing and writing tips and the reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Dara Canon City, CO, United States 04-30-12
    Dara Canon City, CO, United States 04-30-12
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    "King's narration = One of my favorite books ever"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    YES. The writing advice is highly practical, and King reads it with such a personal flair that I can't imagine having digested this book any other way.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    n/a


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

    I felt like he was reading it just to me - his inflections, his unique voice and tone, it made it a journey I will revisit often.


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

    Highly inspired to get my writing career going, and will now use "Uncle Stephen" as the mentor in my head.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Crofton, MD, United States 04-30-12
    Ron Crofton, MD, United States 04-30-12
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    "Inspiring."
    What did you love best about On Writing?

    Surprisingly candid. Great story telling.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Thoughtful, honest and spellbinding. A book that could only have been narrated by Mr. King. A great opportunity to learn from the master. The audio adds immeasurably to the story.


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

    Stephen King. It turns out that he is, in no way, the monster that I had envisioned prior to hearing his book. Whomever decided to allow Mr. King to narrate his book deserves a gold star and a seat at the head of the class.


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

    The entire story/presentation was not unlike the beginning of an earthquake. Just enough rumbles to get going and then swallowing up the listener with wonderful stories. Bravo!


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe another "inside" story by the author?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Berrien Springs, MI, United States 04-23-12
    Jeffrey Berrien Springs, MI, United States 04-23-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Inside the head of the most published auther"
    Would you listen to On Writing again? Why?

    I would listen again because King's encouragement and style are engaging and fascinating.


    What other book might you compare On Writing to and why?

    Strunk & White meet Frankenstein


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Intervention


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

    His telling of the accident.


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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