On Writing
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On Writing : A Memoir of the Craft

4.32 (173,949 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 139.7 x 213.36 x 20.32mm | 340.19g
  • SCRIBNER
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Special edition
  • Anniversary edition
  • 1439156816
  • 9781439156810
  • 21,184

Review quote

"This is a special book, animated by a unique intelligence, and filled with useful truth."--Michael Chabon "The best book on writing. Ever."--The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) "A one-of-a-kind classic."--The Wall Street Journal "On Writing had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White's The Elements of Style."--Roger Ebert
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About Stephen King

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), the Bill Hodges trilogy End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and an AT&T Audience Network original television series). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
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Rating details

173,949 ratings
4.32 out of 5 stars
5 51% (89,225)
4 34% (58,338)
3 12% (20,898)
2 2% (3,862)
1 1% (1,626)

Our customer reviews

ON WRITING is better than I thought it would be. It's marvelous. I finished it in less than two days. In the First Forward, Stephen King observes that popular novelists are never "asked about the language" when queried by admiring fans. Thus, he states: "What follows is an attempt to put down , briefly and simply, how I came to the craft (of telling stories on paper), what I know about it now, and how it's done. It's about the day job; it's about the language." In the first hundred or so pages, King shares his experiences growing up in Maine and Connecticut, his marriage, his struggles as a novice writer, and his drug and alcohol problems. King intends this section not as an autobiography, but as a curriculum vitae. It ends with the assignment of the paperback rights to CARRIE, his first novel. In the next 150 pages, the author describes how he performs his craft. He explains the "tools" of writing (vocabulary and grammar), the creative environment (the room, the door, the determination to close the door, and the music - Hard Rock in King's case), style and formatting (paragraphing, narration, description, and dialogue), and the final stretch to a finished piece (drafts, editing, and proofreading by a trusted friend - wife/author Tabitha in King's case). The final few pages, in a way, are the most interesting. It's Stephen's account of the road accident in 1999 that inflicted multiple fractures to his ribs and lower body, and the effect the mishap had on his writing. Ironically enough, he'd half completed this book at the time of the incident, and he had to struggle to come back and finish. Though King was once a high school English teacher, ON WRITING is in no way pedantic, but chatty and informal. It's a book straight from the author's heart, and it shows. "Don't wait for the muse ... This isn't the Ouija board or the spirit-world we're talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you're going to be every day from nine 'til noon or seven 'til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he'll start showing up, chomping his cigar and making his magic." This last excerpt illustrates why I like this book so much. It's applicable to any sort of writing whether it be reviews for Amazon or technical writing on-the-job, both of which I do in tremendous amounts. The author's first rule for good writing is that the writer must read a lot. Well, I do that - constantly. Perhaps I can improve my own poor scribbling. In this overview of the volume, I've followed his advice; I've kept the paragraphs short and avoided use of passive sentence construction. That's something, at least.show more
by John Smithee
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