On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

kingI usually write my book review on my personal blog: ckbooksblog.wordpress.com, but today I am putting my book review here because this is a book that a writer might be more interested in reading.

Genre: Memoir/how to (? – really unsure how to categorize this one)

Blurb: (from Goodreads) Rarely has a book on writing been so clear, so useful, and so revealing. “On Writing” begins with a mesmerizing account of King’s childhood and his uncannily 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, ” will afford readers a fresh and often very funny perspective on the formation of a writer. King next turns to the basic tools of his trade — how to sharpen and multiply them through use, and how the writer must always have them close at hand. He takes the reader through 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.

Serialized in the “New Yorker” to vivid acclaim, “On Writing” culminates with a profoundly moving account of how King’s overwhelming need to write spurred him toward recovery, and brought him back to his life.

Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, “On Writing” will empower — and entertain — everyone who reads it.

(Usual blurb – lots of spin!)

What I liked: It was interesting learning about Kings life. I had no idea (I won’t give anything away here in case you want to read it and don’t know anything about King, like I didn’t.) It is also interesting to hear what he thinks is important related to writing and story. He also has a list of books he has read that he likes. An interesting list as well.

What I didn’t like: Some of his recommendation/tips about writing are pretty vague. I think this is in part, because he has a pretty strong innate skill with writing. He would have to to be able to write and deal with the things he had to deal with (sorry, have to read the book to find out!)  e.g., When talking about dialogue, he says to be truthful (so a similar word). Sorry – not very helpful. I read one review of this book where the reviewer thought he was condescending. Maybe a little, but as a fellow writer put it – I guess he might have a right to be a bit condescending. I guess I would agree. He does know what he’s doing as his books and his readership will attest to.

Rating: 4/5