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

Love him or loathe him, one thing is certain. You will have heard of Stephen King. And even if you haven't read any of his novels, it is likely that you can name at least one of them. And you've probably see at least one (or even part of one,) of the films based on his works. On Writing is a unique book in that the first half is King's memoirs. The second half is a collection of tips for aspiring writers, things that King has learned over many, many years of writing. 

I am not going to lie. The whole thing is fascinating reading. King certainly had a unique upbringing, the younger son of a single mother who often struggled to make ends meet, during an era when people weren't necessarily kind to single mothers. He also speaks honestly about his struggles with addiction (his drug habit was so huge at once stage, there are entire books that he cannot remember writing,) and the near-fatal accident in 1999 that received a lot of press coverage. (He was midway through writing this book at the time.) The second half of the book offers advice that is both practical and filled with common sense--I certainly picked up a few things that I didn't know. The only thing that spoiled this book for me slightly is that parts of his advice is so often repeated as fact by some of the more boorish of people that one often encounters in writing who actually don't know anything but how to regurgitate writing advice from books on writing written by very famous people. That said, this would make an excellent resource for any aspiring writer, or perhaps even more experienced ones who are looking to improve their work.



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