Friday, October 7, 2011
Book Review: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Author: Stephen King
Enjoyment Rating: 9/10
Referral: Someone in my fiction seminar last winter mentioned it
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Books I've read this year: 123
I've read quite a few books on the craft of writing since starting the MFA program (and I have quite a few more to read in order to make the books I've listed on my prospectus an honest reflection of books I've actually read). In general, I don't like these books. Yeah, I've gotten a few good tips from them, but they basically say the same things-- use fewer adjectives, avoid adverbs entirely, trust yourself, write regularly, blah, blah, blah.
Stephen King says all these things, but he couches the advice in a memoir of his writing life, so instead of feeling like a book I was reading for work, this felt like a book I was reading for pure enjoyment. The funny thing is that I am not a Stephen King fan. In fact, this is the first Stephen King book I've ever read. But after reading it, I feel like I know and trust him as a writer and as a person. He gives great, practical advice, talks about his own strengths, shortcomings, and neuroses as a writer, and isn't afraid to poke fun at himself. I also feel like I learned some things about writing-- particularly about the discipline King puts in at his writing desk (he writes at least 2000 words EVERY day) and about what tasks he tackles in a first draft and what he tackles in a second draft (symbolism, for example, is a second draft element in a SK novel).