Stephen King’s: On Writing Review:
When I started this blog, I wanted to get my writing skills up in general. I said that after about a year, I would try my hand at writing some fiction. The fiction would be in one of my biggest passions in life – Horror. After writing for 8 months, I decided that I was going to try to write some short stories. I wrote my first one and realized I was lacking in areas. A lot of questions were rising in my mind about narration, dialogue, and how to describe my scenes.
No matter where I went on top lists to learn how to write one book stood out – Stephen King’s: On Writing. I saw the book talked about as the go-to book on how to start writing fiction. I have been a huge Stephen King my entire life. Since I was going to try writing fiction, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to see what the book was all about.
Before I bought the book, some people I know told me they could sum up the book for me in four words – Read More, Write More. One of the mottos I live by is that the best way to learn is to be doing. But I felt this could aid me in areas that I never dived into before. Areas like I mentioned above. So with that, I decided to buy the book.
As soon as I started reading, I knew it was a great buy. King writes to you like he’s writing to a friend. The book reads like a personal letter to you, answering all your questions about the craft. I know King wrote this book over ten years ago, but the advice he gives you is timeless.
A Master Of The Craft:
Right from the start, you know that Stephen King is a master of his craft. The way he talks about the English language could make anyone’s head spin. That is not a bad thing though as he explains it in great detail.
The biggest challenge in writing fiction for my first time was going to be dialogue. I had no idea how to write it even though I have read hundreds of books in my life. After reading On Writing, I realized I didn’t know much about description or narrative. There is no need to worry about that since King goes through it all with you. He cites a lot of examples to show exactly what he’s talking about.
He also shows you how bad adverbs and the passive tense are. I would see these things pop up in WordPress as a red flag, but never knew why they were so bad. Now, after reading On Writing, I can see that they devalue your work. It is one of those books that, after you read it, changes your entire perspective on writing.
After reading those sections my confidence rose. I was confident enough to feel, if I kept writing, I would be able to hone my skills to make something enjoyable. To create something for both me and my audience.
Hard Beginnings and Happy Endings:
The beginning of the book is also a treat. King spends the first half of the book telling you about how he came up. The ups and downs of his childhood and on his way up to become the writer he is today. The entire first half is nothing short of inspirational.
He talks about his first time writing in school and his first submissions to publishers. King also gets into talking about how he wrote Carrie and Salem’s Lot in his laundry room. He wrote these two masterpieces while balancing a small desk on his knees with his typewriter.
The biggest inspirational story from the first half of the book has to be when Carrie got picked up. He had a wife, two children, and was living the definition of a struggling writer. King did all he could to keep going while supporting his family and then one day it happened. He got his first taste of a large amount of money for his work. I won’t spoil the story for you but it was an amazing read.
A big difference from when King wrote On Writing to now is that we are deep into the digital age. I am thankful for the opportunities that I have as a writer today. When people like King were coming up, it was a lot harder to get your work published. With things today like Amazon and self-publishing, anyone can throw their book up on the site. The struggle King went through to get his work to the masses stayed in my mind the entire time I was reading.
Read More, Write More:
Like I said in the beginning of this post, the book can be summed up in four words – Read More, Write More. There are no excuses, especially today, to not work on your craft every day.
Kindles have made reading anywhere, anytime effortless. Amazon as a whole has made it accessible to try to get to your own book out there and into the hands of the consumer.
I will never forget the knowledge I learned from reading On Writing. The strategies and tips King goes into are so valuable. I encourage anybody that wants to get into writing to pick up this book. On Writing is a book that stands the test of time. It is a must have for anyone wanting to create their best piece of work.
I will be reading and writing a lot more. Writing isn’t just for an audience or to make money. It’s an expression of yourself – something you need to get out of you. The money or audience will only come when you create work that is good. On Writing pointed me in the right direction for that.
I have currently only two short stories under my belt so I have a lot of work to do. But with all the knowledge I now have from King’s book, I know I will develop into something great.