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.
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.
"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)
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.
I work. I ski. I play. I write. I have a family. I garden. I coach. I volunteer. I sketch. I run. I read.
I would recommend this book to anyone that is an aspiring writer. It's also a good autobiography.
One thing that stands out is his dislike of adverbs.
He has a sense of humor.
I did not have an extreme reaction. However, I did pick up my old copy of Elements of Style. I also have been writing almost everyday now.
I would listen to this book again.
As one of at least a billion would-be writers, I will take good help where I can get it.
I spotted this book on the bookshelves at a local store and immediately dialed it into my phone (don't you just love tech?) for a later listen. I put off listening to the book, listening to two others first for fear that a book on writing would be bland and dry and a struggle to get through.
Stephen King is as honest in his instruction as he is with his fiction. He speaks candidly to his readers, sometimes baring more than I would feel comfortable with were I in his shoes, but always driving home his point with an elegance of simplicity to his words.
Mr. King's comfortable use of a conversational voice has made the beginner's mantra of "just write" less intimidating and more feasible.
Will everyone like his tendency to use profanity to drive his points home? No, not everyone. But I enjoyed every word, even the "bad" ones. It was like sitting down with a good friend over a coffee and having a discussion on a topic favored by both.
I intend to read this one again, if only to better cement some of the concepts into my working mind. Highly recommended.
This was very personal. Mr. King presented the information in as interesting a manner as possible. His humor and sincerity kept me reading, and his work ethic inspired me. Interestingly, he recommends work habits that line up nicely with that of another successful writer I admire. And I have seen the quality of my own writing improve. I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in seeing their work published.
I have listened to him read "The Wind through the Keyhole", one of his Dark Tower books. His sincerity, and his love of storytelling draw me into the story and I find that his voice grows on me. But this book was even better, because it was King on King. Hilarious and touching.
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