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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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  •  
    MAB Toronto, Ontario, Canada 01-24-13
    MAB Toronto, Ontario, Canada 01-24-13 Member Since 2010

    Fiction: I like Paranormal, Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Classics. Non-Fiction: I like Historical, Military, Memoirs.

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    "The best non-fiction book I own"
    Where does On Writing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    On Writing is one of the very best books I've listened to so far.


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

    Stephen King's honest, sometimes snarky, wisdom. He is a master of his craft.


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

    I was surprised by Stephen King's wonderful narration. These are his words, and he brings them to life in a way that never drags or becomes boring. He did a fantastic job.


    Any additional comments?

    This is hands down the best non-fiction audiobook I have ever listened to, and an invaluable tool for writers and aspiring writers alike.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Austin, TX 01-21-04
    Doug Austin, TX 01-21-04 Listener Since 2003
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    "A Gift to Writers"


    Buy this book on audio.

    If anyone out there is anything like me then you are looking at this book because you are a writer, you have questions about writing and you have a desire to improve your writing. This recording has one unique and powerful element: Stephen King reads the narration himself creating a one-on-one conversational aspect I have never experienced in an audible book.
    King cuts through and breaks down the illusions of amateur writing and tells it like it is, like it should be. He does not make rules or attempt to police the lifestyle of a writer. Instead, his is a book of suggestions, personal stories and honest opinions on writing.
    This has been the single most helpful book/experience that I have yet encountered as a writer and I think many of you will agree. In a profession where the path to learning and mastering the craft is a shrouded and personal path, Stephen King proved an unexpected mentor on the journey.
    You don't have to be a Stephen King fan to appreciate this book! I had never once read a book of his before and seriously wondered if a horror writer could help. His messages transcend any genre and are applicable to anyone who loves to write...
    (I am now reading his 'The Gunslinger' and am sure to read many more.)

    Thanks Stephen King!

    Try it, buy it!

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bart Omaha, NE, USA 05-13-03
    Bart Omaha, NE, USA 05-13-03
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    "Honest and Well Written"

    This is a combined memoir and how-to book on writing. It has increased my respect for Stephen King. I never would have bought it except for the ratings of other listeners. Definitely worth the listen, especially for aspiring writers.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Toledo, OH, United States 01-15-03
    Mary Toledo, OH, United States 01-15-03
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    "King on King"

    This book is part autobiography, part advice to the would-be writer. The autobiographical parts are a must-read for all Stephen King fans; the writing advice is lively, practical, down-to-earth, and ought to be a required text in college writing classes because it's a lot more useful than what they usually teach in college classes. I've never read a Stephen King novel because my tastes run to something a little gentler like a nice Miss Marple mystery, but I listened to this book and couldn't put it down and ended up really liking Stephen King the person.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee MUNCIE, IN, USA 05-16-10
    Lee MUNCIE, IN, USA 05-16-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Why Stephen King Is Stephen King"

    If you've ever wondered what makes Stephen King tick, or if you've ever wondered what it would be like to have him tell you what it takes to become one of the most prolific writers of our time, this is a must listen. Whether you are a wannabe novelist, or merely a fan of Mr. King, you will not be disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I am SO glad that the author read it himself. A gift, in my opinion.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annette South Holland, IL, USA 09-20-07
    Annette South Holland, IL, USA 09-20-07
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    "Entertaining and Educational"

    I had not read a single Steven King novel before this one, I will now have to read some.

    The tone and language of this book is so comfortable that it is like talking with the author over coffee at Starbucks. Much of the book is biographical in nature, but King's talent at turning a phrase makes even the long narratives educational. I constantly wondered how he came up with certain phrases, and laughed out loud in several places.

    If you want to write, this has lots of great tips and even an exercise. If you just want to be entertained, Steven King is a great story teller.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary T. Cornwell BEAUMONT, TX, US 08-17-04
    Gary T. Cornwell BEAUMONT, TX, US 08-17-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Fabulous"

    Not just for aspiring authors, this is a book you should read simply because it's a great book: well written, entertaining and thought provoking. If you ever intend to write anything -- even a letter to your mother -- it will help you do it better. But even if you are only a reader, and never intend to write a word for any reason for the rest of your life, you'll love it for the peek you'll get at the windmills inside a great author's mind.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thug4life Sutton, MA 07-31-13
    Thug4life Sutton, MA 07-31-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.

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    "How the King's thinking machinery works"
    Any additional comments?

    Just to get my bias out of the way, I am a huge Stephen King fan. I have very minimal tolerance for those erudite intellectuals who feel best about themselves when criticizing the literary accomplishment of Mr. King. So if you are reading this review and are one those erudite intellectuals, I will gladly meet you in a quite location and to beat you with a copy of The Stand. As for the rest of us, On Writing gives Mr. King the opportunity to explain his personal writing process in a very detailed and well organized fashion. I am fascinated to learn about how true professionals approach a job or task. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn how artists and professionals solve problems, approach problems, and engage a task. On Writing also allows Mr. King to identify how some the early childhood experiences that shaped hime into a successful writer. Mr. King fully gives himself to the book, where he is brutally honest and make no apologies for the fact that reading On Writing is will not make you a great writer. Instead, READ the works others and engage in lots of practice WRITING.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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    Christina Medina, OH, USA 02-17-04
    Christina Medina, OH, USA 02-17-04
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    "Must read for all writers"

    I can only join in with the other glowing reviews. This is an honest, fascinating, helpful, and (of course) well-written book. The autobiographical part demonstrates how much writing is an internal need that shows through even in pretty desperate circumstances. A wonderful antidote to our 'get rich and famous quick, without real hard work or self examination' society. The part on writing is most helpful for fiction writers, but is illuminating for all writers. Even though King's genre is not my cup of tea, I learned a lot about writing and gained respect for King himself.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth C. Denver, CO 05-04-04
    Ruth C. Denver, CO 05-04-04 Member Since 2004

    I love to learn... a blessing and a curse as they say... If I loved making money as much as I love to learn, I would be able to buy more books right now! I love Audible.... (and a long term fan of Amazon)... actually joined in 1999 when hardly no one was shopping on the internet. I have always enjoyed someone telling me a good story.

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    "Ah Stephen, just what I thought it would be..."

    For the entire weekend my family and neighbors though I had gone mad. Yes, she finally had done it I am sure they all were thinking. Our in the yard working, my Audible Otis strapped to my side, earphones on, and laughing as Stephen King entertained me. So personal, that New England voice of his. My delight came from a combination of his characteristic wit, his ability to tell a good yarn, and the similarities in our past. I would have liked The Vomit.

    Ah Stephen, you didn't waste your talent. Your right were you should be.



    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
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