On Writing by Stephen King

After taking what seems like forever to finish this book, I finally did. No, it didn’t take me three days short of forever to finish it because it was boring, nor did it take me a long time to finish it because it was tedious reading. I simply took too long to read it; I blame NaNoWriMo since I basically took an entire month off of reading to write a novel, which I did finish! Now back to reviewing…

Being an aspiring writer, I am always looking for tips and books to help me make my stories, poems, and novels even better. King’s memoir does just that. I call it a memoir because, first of all, he does in the title of his book, and also because he has kindly included different stories from his own life to help the reader understand how to become a better writer. The first part of the book, in fact, is completely dedicated to this, and it was very enjoyable. The reader learns the different ways he sort of “began” writing some of his best known books such as Carrie, The Stand, Misery, and others. The end of the book is also a memoir of sorts as it details the horrific incident in which he was hit by a van while he was taking a walk near his home. Despite the accident, he finished the book he was working on–the book happened to be On Writing.

Now, what about the “stuff” in the middle now that I’ve told you about the beginning and the end. Well, it is good, too. I’ll admit that I was hesitant to even pick up this book. It is, believe it or not, the very first book I’ve ever read by Stephen King, but it has inspired me to read some of his others simply because when reading this, you really see just how brilliant of a writer he is.

The pages between the two “memoir” parts consist of many helpful tips and tricks for writers. The first part, aptly named “What Writing Is” is King basically telling the reader if he or she isn’t going to take writing seriously, then this isn’t the book for them. I would agree. King, in his way, basically tells the reader “how it is” and doesn’t sugar coat things. That is part of the charm of the book.

We are then given the “Toolbox.” This is the vocabulary, grammar, and basics section, if you will. Obviously tools that all writers need, King helps this section not be the typical boring “ok, a comma goes here, period here, adverb here, etc.” He really shows the reader what needs to be in his or her own writing “toolbox.”

The meat of the book consists of different sections under the “On Writing” name. King uses this section to talk about everything from where you should put your desk to the theme of your book or story to characterization to editing to agents. When reading this section, you truly understand why King is considered to be a brilliant writer. He, in my opinion, really does know it all when it comes to writing.

So, what does On Writing receive from Coffee & Literature. I give it a B. There were a few things that I didn’t really like from a writer’s perspective, but overall I thought it was a good book that I would recommend to anyone who is serious about writing.