Read Escrever: memórias de um ofício by Stephen King Maria Carvalho Online


Em 1999, Stephen King começou a escrever sobre o seu ofício e a sua vida. A meio do ano, um acidente muito noticiado ameaçara a sua sobrevivência e, nos meses de recuperação, o nexo entre a escrita e a vida tornou-se mais crucial do que nunca para o escritor. O resultado é uma obra clara, útil e reveladora.Escrever é, assim, um relato fascinante que, partindo da experiênciEm 1999, Stephen King começou a escrever sobre o seu ofício e a sua vida. A meio do ano, um acidente muito noticiado ameaçara a sua sobrevivência e, nos meses de recuperação, o nexo entre a escrita e a vida tornou-se mais crucial do que nunca para o escritor. O resultado é uma obra clara, útil e reveladora.Escrever é, assim, um relato fascinante que, partindo da experiência específica do autor, proporcionará aos leitores uma nova perspectiva sobre a formação de um escritor, com conselhos práticos e inspiradores sobre todas as fases, desde o desenvolvimento da intriga e a criação das personagens até aos hábitos profissionais e à fuga ao trabalho. Publicado originalmente no New Yorker e vivamente aclamado, Escrever culmina com um testemunho comovente do modo como a necessidade irresistível de escrever estimulou a recuperação de Stephen King e o trouxe de volta à vida. Brilhantemente estruturado e cativante, este livro ensinará - e divertirá - todos os que o lerem.Stephen King escreveu mais de trinta livros, todos best-sellers internacionais. Muitos foram adaptados ao cinema - como Carrie, Misery ou Shining - tornando-se filmes de terror de culto. Escrever - Memórias de um Ofício é o seu primeiro livro de não ficção....

Title : Escrever: memórias de um ofício
Author :
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ISBN : 9789727594597
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Escrever: memórias de um ofício Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-03-24 13:37

    ”Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy okay? Getting happy.”I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to over my lifetime who wanted to write a book. Most didn’t know what they wanted to write about, but some of them wanted to write their autobiography because their life had been so thrilling. I think my life has been reasonably boring, and it usually turns out that my life has been ten times more exciting than theirs. When situations like this happen to me, it is usually mildly amusing, but it can quickly turn to sneering when the person reveals to me that they don’t have time to read or don’t really like to read. Don’t talk to me about writing a book if you don’t read. Don’t talk to me about NOT having time to read. What does Stephen King have to say about this?”If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around those two things….”Now, why would someone not want to read? Maybe it depends on when they were born. ”But TV came relatively late to the King household, and I’m glad. I am, when you stop to think of it, a member of a fairly select group: the final handful of American novelists who learned to read and write before they learned to eat a daily helping of video bullshit.”Now someone needs to wrap me in cellophane and stand me up in a museum because I’m probably one of the youngest members of that elite group. I grew up on a farm in the middle of bumfrilling Kansas, where a twenty foot antenna could only pull in three TV channels and one of those channels rolled most of the time. TV had no real impact on my life until I left home at the age of 18 and moved to Phoenix. Thank Zeus!!Now I have young, wannabe writers writing me from all over the world, sending me links to “hilarious” YouTube videos, or they talk to me about binging all weekend on a Netflix show. They are completely enamored with spoon fed entertainment, and what they find funny is to me like paddling around in the kiddy pool of humor in the book world. I wonder why I’m so grumpy.”A novel likeThe Grapes of Wrath may fill a new writer with feelings of despair and good old-fashioned jealousy---’I’ll never be able to write anything that good, not if I live to be a thousand’---but such feelings can also serve as a spur, goading the writer to work harder and aim higher.”I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt that way. Whenever I read a wonderful book like The Great Gatsby or meet a character like Atticus Finch, I fall on my bed and stare at the ceiling and think why am I harboring any thoughts that I can write a novel? My problem, of course, is that I don’t want to just write a novel. I want to write a fantastic novel. I don’t want to just entertain people; I want them to feel the socks ripped off their feet and have them floating around in the air around their head when they read my novel. Stephen King will go into a time when he was struggling with alcohol and using drugs, or should I say abusing drugs. He will tell you all about the accident that nearly ended his life, which happened while he was writing this book. He will talk about trials and tribulations. He will recommend books. There is a whole list of modern books in the back of this book that impressed the hell out of him and impacted his writing. The point is, of course, that even though he is probably the most famous writer on the planet, he is still learning, still enjoying reading, and still writing every day. I take a book everywhere I go. I take a book with me to work every day and read a page or two while my computer is booting up. I have a book with me all the time because I never know when I will be sitting in road work or waiting on a doctor or gleefully reading, in the glow of my flashlight beam on the pages of my book, waiting for the power to come back on at work. I live to read. I live to write. I fornicate somewhere in the middle. This has been one of the most inspiring books about writing I’ve ever read. King talked about examples of the work ethics of writers, but the one that resonated with me the most was Anthony Trollope. He used to write, EXACTLY, for two and half hours every day before going to the post office. If his writing time was up, he would stop in the middle of a sentence and head to work. If he finished a novel fifteen minutes before his time was up, he wrote THE END and started immediately into his next novel. It brought tears to my eyes because that is what it means to be a writer...dedication to the craft. If you want to get rich, go be a frilling stock broker. If you want to write, then turn the squawk box off and search for those buried fossils in the words swimming around in your head. King calls good ideas fossils. For me writing is more like when Michelangelo used to lay his head on a block of marble and listened to the voices in the stone that wanted to be freed. All you have to do is chisel those characters free, and give them life.If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Madeline
    2019-03-24 14:50

    Let's be honest: Stephen King is not one of the greatest writers of all time. He will never win a Pulitzer or a Nobel (he might win a Newberry though, if he ever decides to tap into the Kids/Young Adult market), and on the few times his books are featured in the New York Times Book Review, the reviewer will treat the book with a sort of haughty disdain, knowing their time could be better spent trashing Joyce Carol Oates. None of this should suggest, however, that King is not qualified to write a book about how to write. Sure, he churns out pulpy horror stories that are proudly displayed in airport bookstores, but the man knows how to write a good story, and he's probably one of the most well-known, non-dead American authors in the world. So he must be doing something right. I'm not the biggest fan of King's books, but I really enjoyed On Writing. He talks about writing frankly and practically, mixing tried-and-true pieces of advice (fear the adverb, never write "replied/remarked/muttered/yelled etc" when you can write "said", and don't be afraid to kill off your favorite character) with anecdotes about how some of his books came about. I especially liked the story behind Carrie: King was working as a janitor at a high school, and one night he was cleaning the girls' locker room. He asked the other janitor what that little metal dispenser box on the wall was, and the other man replied that it was for "pussy pluggers." At the same time, King had been reading about how psychic abilities often manifest in girls just beginning to go through puberty. He combined the two ideas and wrote out a couple pages that would turn into the opening of Carrie. (if you haven't read it you should.) Many thanks to King's wife, who rescued the pages from the wastebasket after King first decided that the idea was stupid and threw them away. So, in conclusion: even if you aren't a fan of Stephen King's work, he has some very good advice about writing and storytelling, plus some good stories of his own. Sure, you can call him a sellout. But I like him. Also, he once said in an interview that Stephenie Meyer "can't write worth a darn." You stay classy, Mr. King.

  • Ariel
    2019-04-05 14:30

    There's this magic thing that happens sometimes: I can't wait to reread a book I haven't even finished yet. It's a rare feeling, but one that happens whenever I'm in the midst of a new favourite book. I'm reading these amazing scenes, freaking out over fantastic passages, and already looking forward to the second time I'll read them, when they'll be even clearer and start to feel familiar.It's a rare occurrence, it only happens a few times a year, but it happened with On Writing. The moment it started I knew I would be flipping through it for the rest of my life. It's that moment where you find a new favourite book.If you care about writing at all, if you want to be a writer or are fascinated by the world of writing, I absolutely recommend this gem.

  • Fabian
    2019-04-15 09:45

    So it's become very clear to me now that very few writers actually write about the craft. The only Latin American writer to do so? Mario Vargas Llosa (who took several years off of his busy novel-writing to write about his now-ex-pal Gabriel Garcia Marquez). But I suddenly forgot who the King was (no, I mean literally: I've not read him in years! High school being the prime time for Stephen King, & all): the guy has useful insight, no shit, because he is not only prolific & uber-successful (he got $400,000 for his first novel, “Carrie”!), but because, let’s all admit it, he’s pretty damn good. Maybe prose is not the forte per se, but story sure is (think of how many times he has tapped the vein of the zeitgeist to produce visceral, emblematic and modern monsters). It's interesting to compare this with the only other non-fiction I’ve read of late, “The Perpetual Orgy” & “Letters to a Young Novelist” by the already mentioned Peruvian auteur. They both (Vargas Llosa and King) tell us to seriously commit to writing, to write, write, write, WRITE, but, even more splendidly, they endorse heavy reading (duh!). I love Stephen King quotes, like this little morsel of truth: “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” Take that, non-reading punks verging-perilously-close-to-ignoramuses! !Let me recall some of the stuff I’ve learned (the rest has been absorbed as if by osmosis): 1) rewrite at least two times once the novel has been completed, 2) write & read for at least 5 hours every single day, 3) IMPORTANT: look for an editor (they are eager for new talent, King says), 4) VERY IMPORTANT: begin a serious submitting process (L. Williford has always emphasized the importance of this!), 5) write solely to your IR (Ideal Reader)… it's all super helpful. Perhaps the “Toolbox” section is its weakest part (inversely, MVL’s bag of tricks is on glorious display in “Letters” [though he never mentions the publishing process like King does])… going over rudimentary English is, I am forced to admit, quite lame. But King does seem enthusiastic throughout as only the best teachers are in the classroom—his tone is one of (slight) optimism for the developing novelist. He cheers you on (THE Stephen King!) !!! Bottom line: INVALUABLE stuff, a few (awesome for the fans) confessional tidbits, & some golly-good pointers.

  • Wil Wheaton
    2019-03-30 09:41

    I know it's like saying "puppies are cute," but it bears repeating: everyone who wants to write, whether for a living or not, simply must read this book.On Writing did more for me as a writer than anything, and any success I've found as a storyteller can be traced to my reading it.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-04-08 13:43

    I read this shortly after finishing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, actually it would be more accurate to say I devoured it. This is full of great writing advice, and I'll need to get a copy and read it 1-2 times a year. Most helpful? The section on grammar! Seriously, I never really learned grammar."Gould said something else that was interesting on the day I turned in my first two pieces: write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right - as right as you can, anyway - it belongs to anyone who wants to read it.""...The writer's original perception of a character or characters may be erroneous as the reader's. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.""You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair - the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly.""The object of fiction isn't grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.... Writing is seduction. Good talk is part of seduction.""Once I start work on a project, I don't stop and I don't slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don't write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind - they begin to seem like characters instead of real people. The tale's narrative cutting edge starts to rust and I begin to lose my hold on the story's plot and pace. Worst of all, the excitement of spinning something new begins to fade. The work starts to feel like work, and for most writers that is the smooch of death.""If I have to tell you, I lose. If, on the other hand, I can show you a silent, dirty-haired woman who compulsively gobbles cake and candy, then have you draw the conclusion that Annie is in the depressive part of a manic-depressive cycle, I win. And if I am able, even briefly, to give you a Wilkes'-eye-view of the world - if I can make you understand her madness - then perhaps I can make her someone you sympathize with or even identify with. The result? She's more frightening than ever, because she's close to real.""What you should probably be doing is writing as fast as the Gingerbread Man runs, getting that first draft down on paper while the shape of the fossil is still bright and clear in your mind.""The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.""Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.""Reading is the creative center of a writer's life."

  • Riku Sayuj
    2019-03-19 13:56

    The book is great and if you like writing, it is probably a must read.I could write a summary of the book, it is easy enough to summarize and there are only a few important points that King presents, but then I dont want you to get it for free. :) Go and read the book yourself, it is worth it. Rude? As King says, "...if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway." Here is are a few excerpts from the book that might inspire you to take my advice - If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, mostly fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read. It’s what I do at night, kicked back in my blue chair. Similarly, I don’t read fiction to study the art of fiction, but simply because I like stories. Yet there is a learning process going on. Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but “didn’t have time to read,” I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows.Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head. Even when no one is listening(or reading, or watching), every outing is a bravura performance, because you as the creator are happy. Perhaps even ecstatic. That goes for reading and writing as well as for playing a musical instrument, hitting a baseball, or running the four-forty. The sort of strenuous reading and writing program I advocate—four to six hours a day, every day—will not seem strenuous if you really enjoy doing these things and have an aptitude for them; in fact, you may be following such a program already. If you feel you need permission to do all the reading and writing your little heart desires, however, consider it hereby granted by yours truly.I love this book because it agrees with all my preconceptions. Feels nice to be on the right track. It is also quite inspiring when it comes to kicking you into putting on your writing cap.I couldn't resist putting in this anecdote about James Joyce as well:One of my favorite stories on the subject—probably more myth than truth—concerns James Joyce. According to the story, a friend came to visit him one day and found the great man sprawled across his writing desk in a posture of utter despair.“James, what’s wrong?” the friend asked. “Is it the work?”Joyce indicated assent without even raising his head to look at the friend. Of course it was the work; isn’t it always?“How many words did you get today?” the friend pursued.Joyce (still in despair, still sprawled facedown on his desk):“Seven.”“Seven? But James . . . that’s good, at least for you!”“Yes,” Joyce said, finally looking up. “I suppose it is . . . but I don’t know what order they go in!”Of course, the book is not intended just as a writing manual. Even if you never intend to write, the memoir is a wonderful graphic tale on King's life and like all his stories, it does not lack in imagination or entertainment.Meanwhile, let me get down to some actual writing...

  • Joe Valdez
    2019-04-12 13:37

    January 6, 2018 reviewI'm kicking off my fifth year on Goodreads with a re-read of the best book about writing that I've read to date. I've considered that On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft--Stephen King's contribution to the crowded field of How To Write a Novel, published in 2000--might hold this slot due to King being one of my favorite living authors. Ball players can tune out a coach who never made it in the pros quicker than a guy who did and was a superstar to boot, and I'm certainly more likely to heed the advice of a guru who didn't attain his divinity by mysterious means. The author of The Shining certainly had my attention.King begins his instruction by doing something I wish my teachers did on the first day of class; he tells us about himself. Raised by a single mother in Maine in the 1950s and '60s, King recounts his childhood, his earliest discoveries in fiction, his first forays into writing and publishing, his breakthrough debut novel Carrie some ten years later in 1974 and his near collapse from alcohol and drugs. The writing advice kicks in, covering vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style and much more. This was the book King was chipping away at in June 1999 when he was struck by a negligent driver while on an afternoon walk, and this life changing experience is recounted as well.Even when King isn't dispensing writing advice--and when he does, it's helpful to anyone from students writing a paper to writers with dreams of being the next King of Horror--simply reading his prose is a motivation and a delight. Holder of a Bachelor's of Arts in English from the University of Maine at Orono, King's manner or style has always reminded me of a character in a King novel, an English instructor perhaps, but more likely a guy who works at the hardware or auto parts store in town and who loves: 1) talking to people, and 2) helping people by sharing his expertise. King's forte is storytelling, with a minor in popular culture.-- Imitation preceded creation; I would copy Combat Casey comics word for word in my Blue Horse tablet, sometimes adding my own descriptions where they seemed appropriate. "They were camped in a big dratty farmhouse room," I might write; it was another year or two before I discovered that drat anddraft were different words. During the same period I remember believing that details were dentals and that a bitch was an extremely tall woman. A son of a bitch was apt to be a basketball player. When you're six, most of your Bingo balls are still floating around in the draw-tank.-- I was born in 1947 and we didn't get our first television until 1958. The first thing I remember watching on it was Robot Monster, a film in which a guy dressed in an ape-suit with a goldfish bowl on his head--Ro-Man, he was called--ran around trying to kill the last survivors of a nuclear war. I felt this was art of quite a high nature. But TV came relatively late to the King household, and I'm glad. I am, when you stop to think about it, a member of a fairly select group: the final handful of American novelists who learned to read and write before they learned to eat a daily helping of video bullshit. This might not be important.-- "What I don't understand, Stevie," she said, "is why you'd write junk like this in the first place. You're talented. Why do you want to waste your abilities?" She had rolled up a copy of V.I.B. #1 and was brandishing it at me the way a person might brandish a rolled-up newspaper at a dog that has piddled on the rug. She waited for me to answer--to her credit, the question was not entirely rhetorical--but I had no answer to give. I was ashamed. I have spent a good many years since--too many, I think--being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it.-- I wasn't having much success with my own writing, either. Horror, science fiction, and crime stories in the men's magazines were being replaced by increasingly graphic tales of sex. That was part of the trouble, but not all of it. The bigger deal was that, for the first time in my life, writing was hard. The problem was the teaching. I liked my coworkers and loved the kids--even the Beavis and Butt-Head types in Living with English could be interesting--but by most Friday afternoons I felt as if I'd spent the week with jumper cables clamped to my brain. If I ever came close to despairing about my future as a writer, it was then.-- I had written three other novels before Carrie--Rage, The Long Walk, and The Running Man were later published. But none of them taught me the things I learned from Carrie White. The most important is that the writer's original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader's. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.-- Put vocabulary on the top shelf of your toolbox, and don't make any conscious effort to improve it. One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed. Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind if it is appropriate and colorful.-- Two pages of the passive voice--just about any business document ever written, in other words, not to mention reams of bad fiction--make me want to scream. It's weak, it's circuitous, and it's frequently torturous, as well. How about this: My first kiss will always be recalled by me as how my romance with Shayna began. Oh, man--who farted, right? A simpler way to express this idea--sweeter and more forceful, as well--might be this: My romance with Shayna began with our first kiss. I'll never forget it. I'm not in love with this because it uses with twice in four words, but at least we're out of that awful passive voice.-- The best form of dialogue attribution is said, as in he said, she said, Bill said, Monica said. If you want to see this put stringently into practice, I urge you to read or reread a novel by Larry McMurtry, the Shane of dialogue attribution. That looks damned snide on the page, but I'm speaking with complete sincerity. McMurtry has allowed few adverbial dandelions to grow on his lawn. He believes in he-said/she-said even in moments of emotional crisis (and in Larry McMurtry novels there are a lot of those.) Go and do thou likewise.-- I am approaching the heart of this book with two theses, both simple. The first is that good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals (vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style) and then filling the third level of your toolbox with the right instruments. The second is that while it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one.-- Smith wasn't looking at the road on the afternoon our lives came together because his rottweiler had jumped from the very rear of his van into the back-seat area, where there was an Igloo cooler with some meat stored inside. The rottweiler's name is Bullet (Smith has another rottweiler at home; that one is named Pistol). Bullet started to nose at the lid of the cooler. Smith turned around and tried to push Bullet away. He was still looking at Bullet and pushing his head away from the cooler when he came over the top of the knoll; still looking and pushing when he struck me. Smith told friends later that he thought he'd hit "a small deer" until he noticed my bloody spectacles lying on the front seat of his van. They were knocked from my face when I tried to get out of Smith's way. The frames were bent and twisted, but the lenses were unbroken. They are the lenses I'm wearing now, as I write this.I could keep going and going with excerpts, which with only a few of the digressions that turned It into a 444,414 word kiddie high chair and Under the Dome into a 334,074 word boat anchor, are just by their free flowing honesty inspirational to anyone who seeks to communicate thought to print. Instead, I think I'll dust off my half-finished manuscript and channel the spirit of Carrie White to get to writing.January 8, 2014 reviewIt's not every day you can buy two great books for the price of one, but with On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, readers are treated to both an engaging autobiography of one of the 20th century's most prolific novelists, and his illuminative thoughts on the craft of writing. Stephen King had been publishing for more than 25 years when this memoir arrived in 2000, and while he's probably been asked "Where do you get your ideas?" or "How do I become a novelist?" enough times over to want to either strangle someone or answer that a book, I love how balanced and unassuming his approach was in going about the latter.Rather than document the genesis of every novel he ever wrote as if they were masterpieces (most are far from it, including Cujo, which King admits he can't remember writing through the cocaine and beer), or offer novelists a definitive instruction manual on how to become a bestselling author like him, King dabs his pen in each of those inkwells with welcome doses of humility and insight.King writes about his youth -- watching his grandfather tote a giant tool box outside for the seemingly mundane task of repairing a screen door, or writing Carrie in the laundry room of the trailer he shared with his wife -- as well as his near death in 1999, when the author is struck by a distracted driver.My greatest takeaway from the sections of the book which deal with craft is King's revelation that for him, writing feels less like dreaming up stories and more like paleontology, pulling a fossil out of the ground. A story is buried somewhere. King touches on the tools a writer can use to dig it up.Whether you're a writer, or a fan of King's, or both, this memoir is like opening up a safety deposit box you've been given the key to and finding rich stuff (to borrow an expression from The Goonies) inside.

  • Cecily
    2019-03-22 11:31

    Like the curate’s egg, this is good in parts. I can see why writers, and budding writers find this book inspirational, and fans of his oeuvre will enjoy learning how certain stories came to be. But it’s several very different books and booklets, within a single set of covers - curious that a book about writing doesn't seem to know what sort of a book it is.In one of the three forewords, King says “Most books about writing are filled with bullshit”. I found a fair bit here, too. But I also found good things, including a passionate passage about books being a sort of telepathy, culminating with the delicious: “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”This book isn’t about how to write in general, it’s about how to write like Stephen King, and for that, it may be excellent.1. C.V. 4* (memoir, 118 pages, or 33% of the book)This is a charming scattering of snapshots of King’s childhood, and snippets of adulthood and advice; the CV of how one writer was formed. I enjoyed a peek into ordinary 1950s small-town USA. He points out that he is one of "the final handful of American novelists who learned to read and write before they learned to eat a daily helping of video bullshit". (He was 11 when the family got their first TV.)He missed most of first grade because of ear-related health problems, so retreated into comic books and writing stories in a similar vein. His mother always encouraged him, and the importance of encouragement is the strongest message of the book. Conversely, a teacher criticised him for wasting his talent writing junk, and King remained ashamed of what he wrote until his forties. (The “junk” was a novelisation of the film of The Pit and the Pendulum, which he’d been selling at school – unaware that it was originally a short story by Poe!)His wife, Tabitha, also gets much credit: her belief in his ability and her consequent encouragement, even when they could barely pay the bills. They have much in common, but “What ties us most strongly are the words, the language, and the work of our lives.”The other key message is that there is no repository of great story ideas. They come from nowhere. The writer has to spot, recognise, and polish them, and King gives examples of how he came upon the seeds of many of his stories. King points out that even the author’s perception of his characters may be wrong (I don’t disagree, and it may be related to his not realising that he was writing about himself when he penned Jack, in The Shining). But in a foreword, he makes a more extreme generalisation, “The editor is always right”. An interesting case study is to compare Raymond Carver’s short story collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, in their originally published and heavily edited form with his originals, now published under the title Beginners. Sometimes I think the editor was right, but in several cases, I prefer Carver’s version. I’ve explored the differences a little in my reviews: HERE and HERE, respectively.2. Toolbox 1* (grammar etc, 34 pages)“Writing is seduction.” Not necessarily. Reading this short section, the only thing that prevented me from throwing the book across the room was that it was borrowed from a friend. It does what most prescriptive guides do: conflates stylistic preference with grammatical rules, and makes sweeping generalisations (such as “the best form of dialogue attribution is ‘said’.”), largely ignoring the paramount importance of context and audience. It’s easy to teach and test rules, but serious writers need to cultivate an intuitive feel for language in a variety of styles, rather than being bogged down analysing parts of speech.King taught grammar, but gives examples of Tom Swifties that aren't, and keeps talking about the "passive tense", though later correctly says "passive voice". He decries it, using ludicrous, unidiomatic examples (“My first kiss will always be recalled by me”). He decries adverbs by using a convoluted passive (they “seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind”) and an adverb (saying writers use them when not expressing themselves “clearly”), and says both passives and adverbs are the resort of "timid writers". He claims, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” One is OK, but they’re like dandelions: prone to multiply. In section 3, he berates pronouns too, using a pronoun “I hate and mistrust pronouns, every one of them as slippery as a fly-by-night personal-injury lawyer””. Why?Strunk and White’s* (in)famous rule 17, “Omit needless words”, is lauded. It’s hard to disagree with, but it’s no help with discerning which words might be needless.King says this section is short because readers probably know enough grammar already, but he then agrees with Strunk and White, that if readers don’t, “It’s too late”. So much for encouraging timid writers. And yet many find this book helpful. I’m pleased for them, but a little surprised. There are some good points. He stresses the importance of an extensive vocabulary, and says it should be acquired through reading widely, rather than conscious effort. He describes paragraphs as “maps of intent” and “the basic unit of writing” (rather than sentences). And there is a nod to context, negating much of what precedes it, “Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes.” Amen to that.3. On Writing 3* (how he writes, 143 pages, or 40%)And suddenly it’s back to memoir-ish, but with focus on the process of writing, and a smattering of prescriptive absolutes and empty homilies alongside fascinating insights and ideas. King promises “Everything I know about how to write good fiction.”, along with encouragement, but with the caveat that you can’t make a bad writer a competent one, or a good writer great, but you can make a competent writer good, as long as they master the basics in the previous section: vocabulary, grammar, and style. King stresses the importance and joy of reading, in all and any situations, developing “an ease and intimacy with the process of writing.”But for writing itself, he says you need good health (though poor health was what got him started, and he was successful when a heavy-drinking alcoholic), a stable relationship (don’t many great writers emerge from the opposite?), strict routine, and your own space (no distractions, and a door to close). “Put your desk in the corner… Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way round.”“Good fiction always begins with story and progresses to theme… Starting with the questions and thematic concerns is a recipe for bad fiction.” The ideas about story and plot were fascinating and liberating - in stark contrast with the straitjacket of the previous section. You need a concrete goal, but “Don’t wait for the muse” and “ Write what you know”. He lists only three components of a story: narrative, description, and dialogue. Don’t worry about plot because our lives are plotless. “Stories are found things, like fossils” and the writer has to give them somewhere to grow (fossils… growing?), thus “My books tend to be based on situation rather than story… The situation comes first… The characters… come next”. Then there’s narration, and he lets the characters figure things out – not always as he expected. Ultimately, “The story should always be the boss”. The story, not the plot. “Plot is… the good writer’s last resort and the dullard’s first choice.” And “There’s a huge difference between story and plot. Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty and best kept under house arrest.” Huh? Fortunately, Bryce came to the rescue in the second comment on her review here:"Plot is a series of events. But story is about the motivations behind those events."Her example is that plot is "The king died and then the queen died."The story is "The king died and then the queen died of grief."When you’ve finished the first draft (which you should never show anyone else for comment), you have to step back, to see the wood for the trees, and figure out what the book is about. Work on a second draft, then take a break and let someone else review that. “Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story”, but you must beware of over-describing: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” That sounds wise and wonderful, but I’m unsure how to apply it. Still less, “The use of simile and other figurative language is one of the chief delights of fiction”, when you’re supposed to be hunting down adverbs, pronouns and other allegedly needless words. “It’s not about the setting… it’s always about the story.” Absolutely always? I think not. So many of my favourite works of fiction are about the setting that I have shelves called Landscape Protagonist and Sea, Islands, Coast. “One of the cardinal rules of good fiction is never to tell us a thing if you can show us.” Never? Again, it’s the absolutism I object to. And then… relax: “Try any goddam thing you like… If it works, fine. If it doesn’t toss it. Toss it even if you love it.” Hooray. 4. On Living 3* (surviving a life-threatening accident, 22 pages)This is a moving addition to recent editions (and briefer versions have been published separately). King writes of when he was out walking in 1999 and was hit by a driver who could have been from one of his books. It recounts his serious injuries, multiple operations, and slow recovery. “Writing didn’t save my live… [but] it makes my life a brighter more pleasant place.”5. And Furthermore 3* (annotated example of first and second drafts)This has a very short story that King invites readers to edit. It is followed by an annotated version, with explanations of the suggestions. Most of them are cuts (back to “Omit needless words”). King reckons editing should trim at least 10%. The other key thing is follow-through, “If there’s a gun on the mantel in Act I, it must go off in Act III”, otherwise it will be either pointless or a deus ex machina. See Checkov’s Gun.6. Booklists 3* (books to read, mostly fiction)There are two fiction booklists, mostly novels, but a few short story collections. It’s a varied mix of classics and modern, highbrow and less so: King’s first/main listNotesI tried to read this with an open mind. I was bored by the only other King I've read (The Shining, my review HERE), and I generally abhor the narrow prescriptivism of "How to write" guides. Most of it defied my fears – except for the grammar stylistic advice. But what do I know? I’m not a published author, let alone one as successful as Stephen King. *For a strident critique of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style (beloved of many US students and largely unknown in the UK), see Prof Geoff Pullum on Elements of Style.Image source for classic Punch cartoon, “The Curate’s egg”:

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-03-24 15:59

    Stephen King shares some stories of his past and some writing tips.This was either my fourth or fifth time reading this. I got it for Christmas around the turn of the century and I've buzz-sawed through it a few times before. The first time, I was just cutting my writing teeth. Now, with seven or eight first drafts of novels writing around, I came to the book with a completely different perspective.Most books about writing, as I've said before, are by people I've never heard of, and are akin to a psychic handing out lottery numbers. If he or she can predict that, why aren't they using the lottery numbers for themselves? Since Stephen King is the big kahuna, I figure he could teach me a few things.The biography chapters were my favorite the first time around and were still the most fun to read. I had vague recollections of these chapters, such as little Stevie needing fluid drained from his ears, and King's substance abuse. As a man who's skated close to the substance abuse abyss a couple times over the years, his cautionary tale seemed very familiar.The writing advice was helpful but this was in no way my favorite book on writing. It seems Old Stevie makes a lot more up on the fly than I'm comfortable doing. Still, his advice on omitting needless words and the second draft being the first draft less 10% seemed helpful. Sticking with your first word choice also seems like sound advice.I'd forgotten there was a section of 1408 included, in first and second draft forms. It was an interesting look behind the curtain and made a lot of sense.Anyway, if you're looking for writing advice, you could do a lot worse than sitting at the feet of the King for a few hours and absorbing what he has to say. I'll try to apply his lessons the next time I write something. Four out of five stars.

  • Lizzy
    2019-03-19 15:53

    It's rare to find an author that adventures into writing about his craft, but Stephen King, with On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, is not one of them. Great book: good tips (best one: write something you would want to read!) on how to write along with a nice memoir. Recommended.

  • Hannah Greendale
    2019-04-17 08:30

    On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft offers an illuminating look at Stephen King's life, highlighting moments that shaped him as an author and revealing lessons he gained from decades of practice and publication. King is unapologetically himself, blending whit and honesty with sophomoric humor and the occasional curse word. For example, when discussing the sin of using passive voice, King provides an example of how not to construct a sentence, followed by the type of commentary one can expect to find throughout his book: How about this: My first kiss will always be recalled by me as how my romance with Shayna was begun. Oh, man - who farted, right? When it comes to writing, King offers advice in a comprehensive manner; he is concise and straightforward in his presentation of the fundamental approaches to writing that have shaped him as an author. There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up. King explains his approach to writing and reveals, without indirectly stating, that he is a discovery writer. He goes so far as to dismiss the validity of first plotting a book before writing. This was the only element of the book that warranted a raised eyebrow. Some authors are plotters and some are discovery writers. Readers are well advised to remember that either approach to writing is acceptable. From simple stories about writing newspaper articles as a child, to the gut wrenching tale of his recovery from a near-fatal accident, Stephen King's narrative of his own life is arresting from start to finish. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a go-to book for aspiring authors, fans of Stephen King, and any artist feeling creatively stumped that would benefit from a kick in the rear.

  • فهد الفهد
    2019-04-16 15:46

    On Writing حصلت على هذا الكتاب وقرأته على الكندل، كأول تجربة لي مع هذا الجهاز الرائع والذي صنع بعناية للقراء، أكثر ما أعجبني في الكندل هو أنه يخبرك عن السطور التي أعجبت الكثير من الناس فقاموا بتظليلها، هكذا تتشارك القراءة مع كل من اشترى الكتاب وقرأه على الكندل مثلك. كتب ستيفن كنج عشرات الروايات والقصص، يكتب بمعدل عالٍ، وتتحول قصصه إلى أفلام شهيرة حال صدورها، في هذا الكتاب يتحدث كنج عن تجربته، عن بداياته مع الكتابة والظروف الصعبة التي مر بها، وكيف كان يعمل في وظيفتين ليعيل زوجة وطفلين، ثم يعود ليكتب قصصاً قصيرة على أمل أن تنشرها المجلات وتعطيه مبالغ صغيرة مقابلها، هذا قبل أن يكتب روايته الأولى ويحصل على مبلغ ضخم مقابلها، وتتسارع مسيرته الكتابية، لتصبح ثروته الآن قرابة الـ 400 مليون دولار. ستيفن كنج ليس كاتباً عظيماً، وكتبه لا تناسب الجميع، لم استطع إكمال آخر كتاب حاولت قراءته له، ولكن كتابه هذا عن الكتابة ممتاز، وأتمنى أن يحظى بترجمة محترمة.

  • J. Kent Messum
    2019-03-23 13:39

    There are countless books out there on writing, storytelling, screenwriting, style, etc. A lot of them are too formulaic and more than a bit bloody cliche. To be honest, the majority usually prove to be a waste of time. But there are a few that are great, and 'On Writing' is definitely one of them. Stephen King is a household name, no doubt, but of all Mr. King’s books, this is the one I praise the most. Part biography, part ‘How-to’ manual, this book is a must-read for anyone and everyone. There’s so much for aspiring writers to absorb in these pages. Trials and tribulations, successes and failures, riding on cloud nine and then hitting rock bottom; it’s all here. From King's humble early childhood to the tragic hit-and-run accident that almost killed him about fifteen years ago, 'On Writing' spans the majority of his life and covers the tips and tricks of the trade he picked up while pursuing his calling. Along the way he worked shitty jobs, got married, had kids, lived in a trailer (where he typed his manuscripts in an empty closet), found fame/fortune, and battled addictions with drugs and alcohol among other things.The insights provided while reading about SK’s long and lucrative career are honest and invaluable. While it might not improve your actual writing, per se, it will certainly help with your mentality on the subject. I read it years ago, and when I finally put the book down, I found myself inspired and newly determined to get my books published. When people ask me about the best books I’ve read in regards to the craft, I always cite ‘On Writing’ as the one that really lit a fire under my ass to pursue writing as a career.And it's not just writers who will mine a shit ton of personal profit out of this book. Most of what King talks about applies to all of the arts disciplines, if not life in general. At King's age and level of experience, he's acquired a good deal of wisdom. Thankfully, he decided to share it with everyone by doing what he does best. Even harsh critics of King's work and/or writing style will concede that 'On Writing' is one damn fine book. Highly recommended. *This book was one of my selections for my '5 Books That Made Me A Better Writer' piece. See which others I picked:

  • Diane
    2019-04-14 12:44

    This book on writing was even better than I expected. I loved that Stephen King shared some memories from childhood and explained how he became a writer. This book helped me knock off two goals in one: I've been trying to read the best Stephen King books (good grief, the man is prolific) and I'm trying to read more books about writing. King has good advice on ways to improve your writing, but he also has some knockout stories about his life and how they've influenced his novels. The book ends with a moving section about the day in June 1999 when King had been out for his daily walk and was hit by a van whose driver was distracted. King was hit so forcefully that it's a miracle he wasn't killed or paralyzed. He spent weeks in the hospital. When he returned home, he decided to focus his writing energy on finishing this memoir, and I'm grateful he did. On Writing is a true gem. Highly recommended for any writers wanting advice on getting started or improving their craft, and for fans of Stephen King. Also recommended to anyone who likes books. And even if you don't like books, I'd still urge you to read this. It's just fantastic.Favorite Quotes"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.""I'm a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, mostly fiction. I don't read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read. It's what I do at night, kicked back in my blue chair. Similarly, I don't read fiction to study the art of fiction, but simply because I like stories. Yet there is a learning process going on. Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones."[On writing The Stand]"At one moment I had none of this; at the next I had all of it. If there is any one thing I love about writing more than the rest, it's that sudden flash of insight when you see how everything connects.""It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around."

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-04-18 09:52

    On Writing is for me hands-down the best book I've read about the craft of writing and living the life of a writer by a writer.This is not a textbook on grammar and sentence structure. No, the subtitle very succinctly describes the contents. This is about Stephen King's journey to become a published author and his experiences in wrestling with words. To hear stories about how one of the world's most popular authors once upon a time struggled just like the rest of us mortals is refreshing. Those stories about him just starting out were the real draw for me. They are highlighted with a sort of historic timeline, punctuated by his well-known early works. Later on in the book my attention was held by personal anecdotes, such as the time he was hit by a vehicle and nearly killed.I read this prior to having read a single book by King. In fact, at the time I read this I could be called one of King's anti-fans. My college professors imparted a very low opinion of King's work upon me and that opinion stayed with me right up until recently when I read his stuff for myself. So why did I pick up On Writing in the first place? Well, the man's ability to sell a buttload of books (a hell of a lot more than those nay-saying professors) can't be denied. Why wouldn't it be worth reading the advice of an author who had legions of rabid fans, even if I didn't think much of his writing? It would be like shooting off my nose to spite my face. Young, struggling writers, don't shoot your nose off. Read On Writing.

  • Lou
    2019-03-23 15:30

    This is a must read for writers, readers and Stephen King fans. Fully laden with inspiration to walk the walk and start that journey of writing a story of you're own from short story to a full novel. Imagine great writers of the past like Dickens around to give advice to aspiring writers it's a real opportunity to grasp. This man, Stephen King, worked hard to make himself into a writer and had sheer determination, from working all hours to pay his college education to writing his first stories in a trailer. He was a single parent child with one brother. His life story is what dreams are made of, he defeated the single parent upbringing stereotype and made things work. When he was awaiting that call from his agent on selling the paperback rights for Carrie he was only expecting around a $40'000 mark and received an astonishing $400'000 payout. He really loves to write and does mention it was 'never about the money.' His marriage is solid and that helped his career, he met his wife Tabitha at a poetry workshop and both their loves for writing was an important ingredient to their marriage. From a millworker to one of the greatest writers. He had written Running Man in a week and writes one word at a time, he tells us in his book that it's all about the story never the plot.Write what you know, fresh images and simple vocabulary believable characters graceful narration, and truth telling all the hallmarks of good writing.It is really nice to hear him say that if you don't have time to read you don't have time to write, a bad story can teach the reader so much on how not to write a story. Reading is an essential core to successful story writing. As I ponder all this advice I am also looking to try and start writing a story.He says that 1000 words a day is good and to all importantly have that room to write, cut yourself off from distractions, immerse yourself and close that door to the world and write one word at a time.It was interesting to hear of his time in London at The Brown's Hotel. He wrote at Rudyard Kipling's desk the first words of his novel Misery.Here is a photo of the table and what he said."I wrote most of Misery by hand, sitting at Kipling's desk in Brown's Hotel in London.....Then I found out he died at the desk. That spooked me, so I quit the hotel."---From a 1998 interview with journalist Peter ConradClose that door, close out the world and immerse yourself in writing your story! Some quotes from the book."Read to measure ourselves against the good and the greats and to what can be done.""If you don't have the time to read you don't have the time to write."REVIEWHERE TOO.

  • Elizabeth Sagan
    2019-03-29 11:47

    This is a good read for someone who is either interested in Stephen King’s life or wants to become a writer and needs either tips to do it better or some motivation to keep going. If you don’t find yourself in these categories, skip this book.I’m the kind of person who would read this guy’s socks label if I could, so yeah, 5 stars.

  • Andrew Smith
    2019-03-21 13:47

    This is very much a book of three parts. In the first section, King provides a series of anecdotes that seem somewhat fractured and random. They loosely cover his early years, the time before he became a successful writer. Some of the tales are a little spooky, to be honest. Others clearly portray what it was like for him, his wife and his children when he was spending long hours writing whilst also holding down a day job. He had a number of jobs, some pretty menial, but he eventually settled into the role of teaching students how to write. His wife, it is evident, was a huge supporting influence: not only did she allow him the uninterrupted time to ‘do his stuff’, she also served (and still does) as the primary reader of his second drafts - nobody reads his first drafts, except him.The second section is where he talks about – or maybe lectures on – the art of writing. He first covers the basics of vocabulary, grammar, sentence and paragraph construction. He doesn’t linger over the fine detail, but he makes valid points regarding the importance of getting these elements right. He then takes the reader (and maybe prospective writer) through dialogue, character development and the need to focus on situation rather than plot. I found this last bit really interesting. He provides useful examples to illustrate his points and even an exercise for the reader with a prompt to ‘let him know’ how it went! This was the meatiest part of the book and his mantra seemed to be: read a lot and write a lot. He’s a big believer in putting in the effort and the hours – you can’t beat hard work and perseverance (that’s my paraphrasing of what seemed to be one of his key messages). He closes this section down with quite a lengthy piece on why it’s important for writers to find an agent and how to set about achieving this.The final part of the book is back to memoir, but is focused entirely on a serious road accident that almost took his life. It’s pretty harrowing and told in some detail. It’s clear that though he was seriously injured, he was actually very lucky to survive. I’m not quite sure why this was told as a stand-alone piece at the end. Maybe because the first section was all about early events that helped make him the writer he became and the accident just didn’t fit the chronology? Either way, it highlights the fact that the book does feel like a collection of bits and pieces. I listened to the audio version, read by King. He’s not the most engaging reader in the world, but there is something compelling about hearing the material read by the man himself. I enjoyed this book in audio format.In summary, it’s a book that’ll be of interest to fans of the author, who just want to know more about him, his life and his influences. It’s also something that will interest people who write or plan to write. I’ve read a few books from or about writers where some insight into their working methodology was discussed – Lawrence Block, Lee Child and Haruki Murakami amongst them – and this one stands up pretty well against the rest.

  • Becky
    2019-04-15 09:47

    I love Stephen King. I'm not IN love with him, but I love his writing, his stories, his characters, and now, his advice: "Read a lot." (4-6 hours a day, even!) Yessir, Mr. King! Finally some advice I want to heed! OK, I should say that this is really only a small fraction of the wisdom he imparts in this book, and I neglectfully left out the "write a lot" part that immediately follows "read a lot". But I have never actually aspired to be a writer, so the reading part is good enough for me. I admire writers, sure, some more than others, but I've never thought about writing something of my own. I never really had any ideas, and if I did, I never had any follow-through on them, so they just kind of withered and died. I did take creative writing in highschool, but that doesn't count. But here we have a revelation of sorts. Writing doesn't have to be so stiff and planned and diagrammed! I always knew that King had a kind of "organic" (gosh, how cliche that word is becoming these days) writing style - he'd let the characters be themselves and come to life on their own, and let events develop based on these characters, and just see where the story takes him. Sure, I knew that, academically. But I still rather thought that he had a kind of road-map in his head for which direction things would go, and that he filled in the details along the way. Point A to Point B to Point C to Destination D.It's rather inspiring to know that's not how he does it, and that his method WORKS. Because it does work. My highschool creative writing teacher would probably cry herself to sleep every night if she knew. She of the "Plot Diagramming Is Key!" mentality. I really enjoyed the way that this book was written. It didn't feel much like reading. Most of the time, it seemed as if I was having a one-on-one with Steve himself, and he was telling his tale and giving his advice to me alone. I also felt like this, as well as Lisey's Story, is a kind of tribute to Tabitha King, for all the ways that she kept him afloat through the years. It was a little like peeking through the window into their lives. I could see their college days, their trailer with two small babies days, their slightly bigger but still small apartment with two small kids days, their big-break day. I could see the beer cans stacking up in the bin, and the drug-covered floor in the intervention. When King described his various workstations, I could see them clearly in my mind, even though he'd give us only the barest description... but then again, it's a white rabbit with a blue 8. His description of his accident, and the aftermath especially, brought tears to my eyes because, even though I knew how close the world was to losing him that day, I didn't really KNOW until he showed me.I read this in one sitting, which is a testament to King's readability, as I am not by nature a non-fiction reader. He just somehow makes stuff, life, interesting. Even something as seemingly mundane (even to a reader) as grammar rules, he makes it interesting. His personality and sense of humor shine throughout the book and lent it a personal feeling that other grammar and writing texts lack. Man, I wish I could have had him as a teacher. Those lucky bastards. I hope they appreciated every red mark he ever scribbled on their work. King loves to write. That's obvious. He's a gajillionaire and needs never work another day in his life, but he still writes. This makes me happy, because I can't imagine never reading another new Stephen King book. The day he is no longer able to write will be a tragic day indeed. But, hopefully that day will be very long in coming, and King will continue to do what he does best: Tell us stories. :)

  • Leah Williams
    2019-04-17 08:47

    I wish I could give this book more than five stars. The first 100 or so pages were highly colored anecdotes from SK's childhood (did you know Stephen King had an obese, negligent babysitter who used to sit on his head and fart? me neither). I thought the whole book was going to be like this--a personal history intertwined with the occasional tip about persistence, and that was OK with me. That's how entertaining the first bit is. It certainly makes the book worth reading even for those uninterested in learning the writing trade. The nuts and bolts writing advice is solid and practical for the beginning writer. King covers such subjects as vocabulary, grammar, characterization, symbolism, dialogue, and theme. These, he explains, belong in every writer's "toolbox." I loved this analogy and I think that King does an excellent job for the aspiring writer in explaining in a concise, non-bullshitting, "Listen-to-your-Uncle-Stevie" way that writing is complex, fun, and back-breaking hard work.

  • Stepheny
    2019-04-18 13:56

    What better day to post a review for this book than on Stephen King’s birthday? Happy Birthday, ya crazy bastard. ;) Anyway- as most of the GR community knows I am the real life Annie Wilkes a huge fan of Stephen King. He has been a major influence in my life since I was about 10 years old. His writing changed my life. His books changed my mind; my way of thinking.Listen, not everyone knows this but I’m about to out myself. I am an aspiring writer. I don’t flash it, I don’t wave it out there for all to see; I am just me. I am insecure, I am scared and I lack the confidence it takes to put myself out there. It’s terrifying. My whole life I have been a writer. I won several awards throughout my high school career and college professors begged me to change my major and focus more on my writing. It’s just that writing for me is a hobby. I’m afraid if I focus on writing it will become a chore. So I write when the mood strikes me and don’t when it doesn’t. There are a handful of close friends on here who have read what I’ve written and have given me feedback. I even went so far as to submit a short story to As of right now, that’s enough for me. I picked up On Writing for several reasons, the first being that I’m obsessed with Stephen King. Duh! Another was because it’s listed as part memoir and I was dying to know more about his life. And lastly, I thought maybe, just maybe, he might have a few good pointers for the wannabe writer.This book.No really, you don’t understand. This book changes everything. A lot of what he says is great advice, but it’s the things he didn’t say that really resonate. I know what you’re thinking- this crazy MahFah has done lost her mind! But really- the simplicity of it all is laid out before you. It’s up to you to see it. I really can’t imagine how my life might be if my uncle had never bought me Bag of Bones. Would I have eventually picked a different one up? Would I have become the super fan that I am today? Would Stephen King be locked in my basement?I can’t answer those questions. I can only say how thankful I am that he came into my life when he did; a writer who has shaped my life in ways unimaginable. He has enriched my life and saved me countless times. Thank you, Stephen King for giving me books that make life seem like it isn’t ALL bad. I’m your #1 Fan. ;)

  • Paul O'Neill
    2019-04-09 14:47

    The master shares his recommendations for all writers, they should pay attentionOverview – 4 starsI found this book to be more interesting than I thought it would be. There's a lot of King’s personal thoughts about his experiences in the writing business, and what made him a writer in the first place. He covers his rough experience when he got smacked by an idiot in a van in between writing this. (On) WritingThe majority of this book is dedicated to helping writers to work on their ‘toolbox’. He shares what works for him and is very honest about what it takes, and the business as a whole. There are tonnes of quotes used from this, some even appear as you load Goodreads. I agree with all of them (not that I'm a writer in any way but I agree with King’s theories). Here are just a few:you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.The road to hell is paved with adverbsTo write is human, to edit is divineCan I be blunt on this subject? If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as thatStructureIf you've read any of King’s works you'll be familiar with the way he writes. It's no different here but the writing style is, obviously, different. It's a very easy read and the most helpful inclusion has to be the examples he includes, which he dissects and edits throughout. King fan stuffThere was some really interesting factoids littered in this book. Stand outs for me (and I don't think this is spoiler-y since it's non-fiction):• He doesn't remember writing Cujo much, since he spent most of his time high• His idea for Misery came to him in a dream on a plane• He almost ditched the Stand, my favourite book ever• He states that he was disappointed with Insomnia

  • Arah-Lynda
    2019-04-14 07:58

    I think that this was a very courageous book for Stephen King to write. And I loved the casual, conversational tone as King shares with us, glimpse’s into his life both before and after his initial success. He doesn’t pull any punches either; we see the good, the bad and the ugly. It is somehow, not at all, and exactly what I expected. In truth, I loved the memoir part best but even those parts that are instructional in the art of writing are very engaging.Is it not incredible, that such a gifted, successful writer would willingly open up his own private chest, remove the tools hidden within and share his thoughts on each of them with, well anyone?No doubt about it, this guy has chutzpah. Here are the bits I loved:The anecdotes from his childhood Where ideas come from His struggle and first big breakOn CarrieThe love of his lifeHis brush with deathPractical advice (very accessible)A challengeI swear this man could write a book on how to boil water and make it interesting. But don’t listen to me ………. listen to King:Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.Words have weight.Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read.

  • Char
    2019-04-02 07:33

    Although I have no intention of writing anything other than reviews, I found this book about writing to be interesting and chock full of good information. The first portion was autobiographical in nature, and that was the part I enjoyed most. Hearing about King's menial jobs and how hard he worked, combined with the drug and alcohol abuse and other obstacles he's overcome, made him seem more real to me, somehow. More like a regular guy. The parts on writing, even though I'm not an author, were helpful to me as a reader and a reviewer. I know that in the future I will be on the lookout for a few of the common errors mentioned herein. At the end, King goes into detail about getting hit by that van and boy, is it ever horrific. Even though he wrote Misery long before this incident, when he was talking about it, all I could think about was James Caan's battered legs and Annie Wilkes. In fact, from King's descriptions, I think his legs were in even worse shape than Caan's. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about writing, and also to those who are just curious about Stephen King and the stories behind some of his most popular books.

  • Blake Crouch
    2019-04-15 14:37

    Simply the greatest book ever written about the craft of writing. I have read it more times than I can count, and each new encounter teaches me something new. I imagine even non-writers would thoroughly enjoy Mr. King's memoir.

  • Thomas
    2019-03-31 09:54

    This is a fantastic book about writing - recommended to me by numerous friends and acquaintances, it did not disappoint. With most nonfiction I feel as if I do not really need to remember every detail or fact listed, but with On Writing I wish that I could. It offers an abundance of useful advice that would do any writer much good, regardless of age or experience.At first I felt unsettled by the anecdotes - when I began the novel, I expected something like "writing = grammar + salesmanship" or something formulaic. Needless to say, King razed that assumption rather easily. His personal approach to the book enhanced its effect on the reader. Instead of reading a writer's manual, it was like I listened to a person sitting across the table, telling me his story.I loved the grammar section too. I have already violated some of the things he stated (see: don't use adverbs). One major rule I've taken from this book is to be concise. That is one of my problem areas, and through reading this book I've realized how much better succinct writing can be.I wish all nonfiction was this enjoyable. Note that I also have broken the passive voice vs. active voice rule in this review. I mean, how are you supposed to write with active voice in a book review? "This book spoke volumes to me. It taught me many things. Some of them were.. etc." Wait, that wasn't so hard. Never mind.Want to read more of my reviews? Follow me here.

  • Vitor Martins
    2019-04-19 14:35

    "Escrever é mágico, é a água da vida. A água é de graça. Então beba. Beba até ficar saciado."Eu nunca tinha lido nada do Stephen King, . Comecei por Sobre a Escrita e sinto que conheci esse homem por toda a vida.Mais do que um manual sobre a arte de escrever, esse livro traz muitos ensinamentos sobre a vida. É um livro curto, direto, didático, divertido e muito envolvente! Marquei minhas passagens favoritas porque Sobre a Escrita é o tipo de livro para pegar, reler, relembrar e aprender tudo de novo.Estou escrevendo um livro e foi incrível ver as etapas desse processo sendo narradas pelo King. Ele ajuda, dá bronca, diz o que considera certo mas também não condena o errado. Me senti aliviado vendo que um dos maiores escritores contemporâneos passou pelas mesmas inseguranças que eu, e fiquei feliz por ele ter decidido compartilhar essa história com o mundo. Sem dúvidas, um dos melhores livros do ano!

  • Наталия Янева
    2019-04-16 14:38

    Обичам, когато някой ми разказва за работата си с удоволствие и можеш почти на допир да го усетиш. Аз съм от хората, които (си мислят, че) не харесват Стивън Кинг. Дори не знам дали има такъв вид хора, може да съм някакъв застрашен екземпляр. Единственото негово, което съм опитвала да прочета, е „Способен ученик“ и то ме накара да се чувствам физически зле. Мисля, че леко ми се гадеше през цялото време. Така ме е карало да се чувствам само „Престъпление и наказание“. Предполагам, че това означава, че Стивън Кинг добре си е свършил работата. Или както беше казал С. веднъж: „Хората в България се ужасяват от мисълта, че някой може да ги накара да гледат ужаси“. Та и при мен с четенето им така. Хорър жанрът вероятно си има своите чарове, които аз никога няма да разбера, но в случая ценното беше да науча, че Стивън Кинг всъщност не пише само ужаси. Това откритие искрено ме стъписа (и си писах една точка в графата „Невежа относно неща-които-всички-знаят-само-ти-пак-не-си-разбрала“).Като се имат предвид гореописаните неща, полумемоарите-полунаръчникът по творческо писане ме изненада като стил и начин на поднасяне. За един (утвърден) писател вероятно няма по-голямо признание от това някой да подходи доста резервирано към негова книга и да остане очарован. Стивън Кинг пише с лекота. Само той си знае какво стои зад нея. Допаднаха ми обясненията за внимателното редактиране на текста, съкращаването на първоначалните излияния, дето си натворил, когато си бързал да мисълта ти да попие върху листа. Не е лошо хората да знаят, че дори такива писатели като Стивън Кинг, които се четат в милионни тиражи по света, всъщност не са толкова невероятно гениални, че просто сядат, пишат и всичко е идеално. Има много шлифоване след това. Да, ако си тъпак, вероятно няма да се получи, но ако си нечетивен гений, е не по-малко зле. Захаросани приказки също липсват – няма „Непременно ще успеете, ако много се трудите“. Има съвсем простички препоръки, които той признава, че работят при него. Не се и опитва да скромничи, като на доста места обяснява как хонорарите му са космически, еди-кой си негов роман е страхотен и той е един от най-известните автори. Обикновено такъв вид изказвания ме дразнят до болка, но в случая не ги усетих като израз на самохвалство, а просто като констатации. Не носеха някаква кой знае каква гордост. Просто неща, които са се случили.Отношенията на Стивън Кинг с писането не представляват онази изстрадала връзка, в която са се намирали доста известни автори. Сещате се – как литературата е като любима жена, която ти изневерява и ти хем я обичаш, хем ти се ще да я удушиш. Не. Писането е необходимост, абсолютната невъзможност да не пишеш. То е начин на живот, а в кризисни моменти го и връща към живота. Освен всичко друго е и забавление. Просто писането означава да бъдеш.

  • Grace (BURTSBOOKS)
    2019-04-15 11:39

    me: has never read stephen king in my life also me: prepared to take his every word as the be all end all of writing