On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

Cover ImageFinished on 1-22-08, rating 5/5, non-fiction, pub. 2000

  My knowledge of Stephen King’s novels is limited.  I’ve read a few, listened to a few more on road trips with my husband, and seen some of the movies.  I usually enjoy them, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan.  So, I was justifiably surprised when I was totally charmed by this book and its author.

  The first half of this book is memoir full of stories of his youth and early writing successes.  There were stories of his first sale, for 25 cents to his mother, and his busy adolescence making a statement with his writing.  King moves onto adulthood, marriage, kids, a job he doesn’t enjoy and he doesn’t pull any punches.  This book is told with such honesty that you are drawn into King’s world.  His drug and alcohol abuse could have led to self-pity or delusions of grandeur, but it didn’t.  All of these snapshots of his life are told with rich detail, but with an understanding of just how much to tell.

  The second half is devoted to the craft of writing.  Having read much advice from established authors I know there as many ways to write a book as limbs on a tree (King loves simile and metaphor), and King gives his best, unapologetic nuggets of wisdom.  He doesn’t mince words, but they are told with humor and real-life experiences from his own prosperous writing career.  He also delves into what happened when he was hit by a van and was close to death.  The book comes full circle with his telling of the accident.

I loved this book.  I loved the mix of humor, truth, detail, and brevity.  I have been charmed by a horror writer and I’m not ashamed to admit it. 🙂

8 thoughts on “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

  1. mysteryshrink says:

    Thanks for the review. I’ll get the book. I am a psychologist just starting up a blog on what we can learn about people, relationships, and writing from the movies.

    Charmed by a horror writer . . . hmmmm

  2. stacybuckeye says:

    Mdott- I checked out your blog and you have several interesting book reviews. I’m glad you warned about the new Sebold book.

    MysteryShrink- I think you’ll like the book and your blog sounds cool. Where can I find it?


  3. hamlettethedame says:

    I love this book too! Not a fan of his fiction (I have read one of his fiction books, “Salem’s Lot,” and that was enough. I don’t like horror), but this book is splendid. I have read it three times and fully intend to read it again at some point.

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