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Book Review: On Writing by Stephen King

Book Review: On Writing by Stephen King

‘”Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon the publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told. ‘

Book Review: On Writing by Stephen King

What I thought:

(You’re not seeing this wrong–I really had this review up before! I realised when I put together the new reading list freebie for my Writer’s Retreat list that I seem to have deleted this review o.o So, here it is again, with updated graphics to boot!)

Part of me is appalled that this is the first book by the King I’m reviewing, but I suppose we all have to start somewhere *ahem*

I didn’t expect it to be so hilarious, honest, open, and encouraging. I feel like I can come back to this any time I’m stuck with my writing or feel bad about any part of the writing process, and it’ll lift me up. It’s such a wonderful book, friends. I can’t believe it’s sat on my shelf for a few months before I finally read it!

Someone – I can’t remember who, for the life of me – once wrote that all novels are really letters aimed at one person. As it happens, I believe this. I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking, ‘I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?’ For me that first reader is my wife, Tabitha.

I’m not entirely sure how to review it beyond that, besides telling you that, if you’re a writer, you need to read this. We writers tend to put ourselves under a tremendous amount of pressure and self-doubt. It’s so important you see that every writer struggles at some point, even legends like Stephen King.

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.

You want the encouragement you get from this. And you will learn something. I’ve made so many notes I had trouble deciding which quotes to include and which ones to leave. Once I’ve got a bigger shelf (or just a second shelf would do, actually) I will have a separate space for inspiring books, and this one will be right up there at the front.

(Update: It now lives above my desk!!)

Buy it on Amazon


Have you read On Writing, or are you tempted? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s talk about books!

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