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Editorial 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 ©2000 Stephen King, All Rights Reserved; (P)2000 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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)

"These rare glimpses into King's personal life - as related in his earnest tone and real (thank God) Maine accent - are fascinating.... If you write - or want to - get this book." (AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inspired

Don't bother with other books about plot points and planning your novel. This is the one you should read first.

If you want to start writing, but don't
know how or have gotten stuck this book will certainly nudge you over.

Stephen King captures the truth about writing. The magic, the story, ideas coming together and the characters. The real reason why writers write.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Final Chapter Worth Your Credit By Itself

A fine little volume for aspiring writers, fans of King, or just avid readers. Time Magazine ranked this book in its top 10 non-fiction books and I get why.

This book has been heavily reviewed, so just a short thought: the final chapter talks about the car accident that nearly killed King and how his love of his wife and writing helped him to recover. This chapter is one of the best things I've ever read and particularly moving to hear King read it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff
  • Pickering, Ontario, Canada
  • 12-22-12

WHAT A STUNNING SURPRISE THIS WAS

What a remarkably fun ride this little book is! Lordy did I ever misjudge him. Who would have thought Steven King would be so funny? Other reviews here will tell you what this books about. What I want to convey is how enjoyable a read this was, just look at the ratings

I had never read or intended to read any of kings books. That horror crap was the last thing I ever wanted to read . Then I read this book which completely changed my view of him as a writer and as a person, then I heard an interview with him on the radio when his new release called "11/22/63" was being discussed and that sounded like a book I might really like because it dealt with time travel, I LOVED IT. So I explored his books and found that not all of them where hard core horror. Remember the great movies SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and STAND BY ME? He wrote those as books!

Under the dome was the next king book I read and again I LOVED IT, and let me tell you.... it was amazing on audible..WOW.. While the dome book had more than its fair share of murder and blood, it was done very well. Since, I've read many of his other books including "it" , Duma Key, The Stand, Misery, and the Green Mile which (let me tell you) made an astounding movie, If you want to have a truly rare first rate emotional experience. First read the green mile, then watch the movie. You will never forget it!! I think Its the most effective adaptation I've ever seen, and the special features on the dvd are really, really good and add an awful lot to the experience.

So the bottom line is that we always need to challenge our pre-conceived notions.and stay "open" I've even read some of his horror stuff and to my amazement...I liked it. It just wasn't what I thought it was.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Carl
  • United States
  • 04-10-12

Good if you have the right expectations

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wouldn't recommend this book for someone trying to become a writer. I'm sure it would be fine for that but there are probably better books on that score. This book excels on two points: first it was interesting to hear the context of some of the works that have become a part of the culture. Second I love hearing the story of a person who loves what they do and that's where this story really shines. If that's what you're looking for I'd recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jayme
  • Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
  • 07-27-10

You'll Never Look at Adverbs the Same Way Again

Really fun to listen to and I'm glad King actually read the book too. Sometimes books read by the author are a huge mistake, but King does a great job with this. The first half of this book was a bit of a biography, at least of the parts of King's life that led him to writing. The second half wasn't so much a how-to-write book, as a way to think about writing. He gives an overview of what he thinks are the important parts of writing a story and some advice based on his own experience. I would recommend this even if you have no wish to be a writer, but would simply like a behind the scenes look at the world of writing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Todd
  • Beamsville, Ontario, Canada
  • 11-15-09

King doesn't disappoint!

Stephen King is at the top of his game in this book. Part biography, part writing advice, part entertainment. I will likely re-listen to this book often. It's that good, and the content is that helpful. If you're a fan of Stephen King, or if you're looking for some good tips and motivation for writing, look no further.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Logan, UT, USA
  • 11-15-08

Refreshingly insiteful

Steven King does a great job of explaing how writing works for him by detailing his personal experiences that inspired him to write. He is very honest about his ability to teach others how to be writers and the fact that everyone is different and that sometimes it just doesn't work. Awsome book and very inspiring. I have greater respect for him as a writer than ever.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining... and informative

I heard this as a recommendation off a popular tech podcast - I've never been a great writer, however i could always get my point across.
Me personally, i'm a student of success, and who better to learn from than one of the greats?! Not a straight up, laid out, here is how i write well, try it and see what works... but it's weaved with his life story.

Overall great nuggets of gold scattered throughout, and entertaining the whole way through. I would have given it 4 1/2 stars only because at some points Steven reading sounds a little bit tired (not the whole way through just little parts) but if i had to choose 4 or 5 i went with 5 stars...

check it out and learn something.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • Newark, DE, USA
  • 06-02-08

I only wish...

I only wish for a small bit of the talent and fun displayed in Mr. King's 'On Writing'. Not only did I laugh my butt off hearing about "Super Dave's" experiments and Stephen's experiences as a young writer, but I feel like I have begun to put the tools in my toolbox, and I look forward to digging up the fossils that I discover.
I highly recommend this book for anyone with a story to tell.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Got Me Off My Rear End

I had suffered nearly a decade of "writer's block" until I listened to this book. King kicked me in the posterior with this inspiring and informative book. Three months after I first listened to this book, I had finished a 55,500-word first draft of a new novel! This is such a good book for writers or people who are interested in what makes King tick. I hate to admit it, but I have only read a few of his other books. That will now change! Thanks, Mr. King.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful