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On Writing | [Stephen King]

On Writing

In June of 1999, Stephen King was hit by a van while walking along the shoulder of a country road in Maine. Six operations were required to save his life and mend his broken body. When he was finally able to sit up, he immediately started writing. This book - part biography, part a collection of tips for the aspiring writer - is the extraordinary result.
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Publisher's Summary

"Not since Dickens has a writer had so many readers by the throat.... King's imagination is vast. He knows how to engage the deepest sympathies of his readers.... It is part biography, part collection of tips for the aspiring writer. In the final chapters, King tells, in graphic details, the story of his recent accident.... a bizarre and absorbing story, told brilliantly by one of the great storytellers of our time."
Guardian

In June of 1999, Stephen King was hit by a van while walking along the shoulder of a country road in Maine. Six operations were required to save his life and mend his broken body. When he was finally able to sit up, he immediately started writing. This book is the extraordinary result.

©2000 Stephen King (P)2000 Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This is the written equivalent of Delia Smith's How To Cook. And, like British home cooking, the world of popular fiction will be better off for it." (The Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (182 )
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  •  
    Kev Partner Alton, Hamshire 27/08/2012
    Kev Partner Alton, Hamshire 27/08/2012 Member Since 2011

    Writer, geek, dad.

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    "Masterful"

    Until I listened to this book, I hadn't read any Stephen King books as I'm not a huge fan of the horror genre (more a sci-fi/historical fan). But this is utterly mesmerising.

    Narrated by King himself, it begins with an account of how he became the writer he is. At the start I wondered what the point was in this, but it gives context and depth to the whole work and is, in itself, fascinating.

    He then knuckles down to giving practical, workmanlike and controversial advice. Throughout, he acknowledges that this is just the way he does it - but it certainly produces results for him.

    You then get some practical advice on finding and dealing with an agent and suchlike before, as an epilogue, he details, graphically, the accident that occurred half way through the writing of this book. Thank heavens he survived otherwise this masterwork might never have been published.

    Entertaining, occasionally funny and profane (or funny because its occasionally profane) I have already listened to this twice and intend to do so again. I've also taken his advice and it's paying off.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stephen ALTRINCHAM, United Kingdom 28/11/2013
    stephen ALTRINCHAM, United Kingdom 28/11/2013 Member Since 2013
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    "Genius"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

    I have both the print and the audio version and there are benefits to both. The print is useful as a quick reference guide but the audio is just a brilliant and engaging story and guide to writing


    What did you like best about this story?

    The insight into Stephen King's mind as well as the tips on writing. It made me want to start writing and also left me in awe at his ability to construct the perfect phrase.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I loved reading about the ideas for his books, how one simple idea would slowly transform into a long novel.


    Any additional comments?

    Utterly brilliant, exactly what an audio book should be, if you are on a long journey or doing a task long tedious task you can get yourself lost in the words of Stephen King, this audio book helped a 3 hour drive up the motorway fly by.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr Zube Ross on Wye, United Kingdom 08/05/2013
    Dr Zube Ross on Wye, United Kingdom 08/05/2013 Member Since 2015

    Avid reader and listener, psychologist by profession historian by nature

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    "Autobiographical and a manual for writing"

    The narration by King himself is great, once you get used to his slightly unusual tone. This guy knows about writing and it is a fascinating insight into how King writes. I listened to this in part, a large part to be honest, to get my own writing going again. In some respects this was pretty hard as some of kings advice i struggle to see how I could follow, however many of the tips I could see myself following. The main thing is the sheer love King has for writing is so obvious throughout, and that I found very inspiring.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blinkinmarvellous UK 13/04/2013
    Blinkinmarvellous UK 13/04/2013 Member Since 2012
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    "Great personal insight"

    A rare thing - a modern writer, a great to many, willing to stop and reflect on his success, share his thoughts AND read it himself for the audiobook version. On Writing is part autobiography, part discourse on creative writing read engagingly by the author throughout.



    Don't be put of by the autobiographical element if all you are after is creative writing tips; likewise, don't be put off by the tips if your interest lies in King's life story. The two work well together.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew isle of wight, United Kingdom 30/03/2015
    Andrew isle of wight, United Kingdom 30/03/2015 Member Since 2015

    Aspiring author and audible addict. Don't judge me by my library...

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    "Superb"

    Works great as a good read or a guide to writing. Everyone told me it would be great. It was actually better than that. Very, VERY useful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david ottley 14/03/2015
    david ottley 14/03/2015
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    "Incredible"

    So incredibly easy to listen engaging and informative has made writing a now reachable goal

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reluctant Mermaid 07/03/2015

    Say something about yourself!

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    "FANTASTIC"

    Essential listening / reading for any would-be writer. He's a revelation. I was expecting dark and morose, but he's a wonderful narrator and a generous author. Get it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Earl Robinson 01/03/2015
    Earl Robinson 01/03/2015 Member Since 2015
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    "Memorable and Inspiring"

    The most memorable thing about this book was its honesty - Stephen King allows us to see through the window of his life to get a glimpse of the man and the writer. The most inspiring aspect of this book was the permission it provides to those of us who aspire to write but doubt ourselves. Stephen King, thank you. Thank you for the permission to try, permission to fail, and permission to try again. You are an inspiration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jax London, UK 19/02/2015
    Jax London, UK 19/02/2015 Member Since 2012

    Jax

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    "The Master Storyteller!"

    Being a lifelong Stephen King fan, I found this insight into his life and process of writing completely fascinating and compelling. It has also made me want to pick up a pen and get writing, even though that was not my reason for buying it! Listening to him read gave it the feel of a conversation with the great man himself. If you are an aspiring writer or just a fan of his books, this is a fantastic listen and I whizzed through it, wishing for more at the end. Highly recommended!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison St Pierre Lancashire 06/11/2014
    Alison St Pierre Lancashire 06/11/2014 Member Since 2015

    Local Government Officer, listens to audiobooks whilst commuting, loves Biographies of quintessentially English eccentrics.

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    "Great book for "would be" writers."

    The american accent grates after a while and the narration is wooden and lacks fluidity, but the content is sharp, inspirational and extremley valuable for novice writers. The pace is acceptable but so many of his tips and words of wisdom could do with a pen and paper at the ready to capture this valuable information. Perhaps audible could consider providing a summary of key points for customers who have purchased a book? This is not the first time that I have been listening to a great book whilst driving, with no opportunity to record detail and ended up frustrated at the loss of specific information that would be very useful to my personal development!!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 21 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Karen
    Germiston, South Africa
    10/09/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Part 'How to' part Autobiographical"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

    Yes - easier to access for busy budding writers


    What other book might you compare On Writing to and why?

    None, Stephen King's advice and narration are so easy to listen to and his honesty is very inspiring.


    Have you listened to any of Stephen King’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, Bag of Bones, love his voice, this was a different type of book and very easy to listen to.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was very moved when he admitted and owned his alcoholism.


    Any additional comments?

    I love his message, writers need to understand that he wasn't born with a golden spoon. He worked very hard at some seriously menial jobs and perservered with his writing when most of us would be making excuses.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Matt
    Parkdale, Australia
    02/02/14
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    "Not a fan of his genre but this is wonderful"

    Horror and suspense have never been my thing. I only know Stephen King's work through books that have been turned into movies.

    After reading this, I'm thinking perhaps I'll try one of his stories.

    I bought this book because it seems to be universally recommended by writers I respect.

    Glad I did as I loved it from start to finish.

    The first part, where he tells his early life story is hilarious, intimate and interesting. You get to understand why he writes what he writes. I was also left thinking I'd love to have this guy as a friend.

    He narrates beautifully. As such, I'm glad I got the Audible version first rather than the hard copy or Kindle.

    I found what he has to say about his craft humble, helpful and inspiring. He's at pains to dispel some of the common "thou shallts" of writing fiction, such as plotting out in advance and creating character dossiers in advance.

    I won't spoil it for you by summarising the rest. All I want to say is, if you write, whatever you write, you will find this useful and uplifting. You'll also be entertained.

    I'll most likely buy a hard copy or Kindle version too as there's lots of useful stuff I'd like to refer back to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jo
    Holland Park West, Australia
    03/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rather than a How-To Book, this is a How-I-Did."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. He's not condescending or all-knowing, but he is informative. He tells you what worked for him, but also the other options available if that's not for you.


    What does Stephen King bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    It made it even more personal. It was a nice touch that he read it himself - and I think it just brings home everything he said.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    Frankston South, Australia
    08/05/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Must Have"

    That some people still refuse to think of King as anything other than simply a horror writer baffles me. Even at his worst he's considerably more entertaining, inventive and downright readable than most authors are at their best.

    On Writing is simply King advising authors how to improve their skills. It's a nuts and bolts 'how to' guide really but, as with most things King writes, there's way more to it than that. Yes he deals with everything from punctuation and vocab to finding an agent and getting published, but along the way he talks openly about his own journey.

    From his first big payday to alcoholism, from drug abuse to being almost killed by someone who might have been a character from one of his own books, On Writing is tightly written and yet never feels lightweight. And King's account of the aftermath of being hit by a van whilst out walking is some of the most wince-inducing horror I've ever read.

    Faultless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    Manly, NSW, Australia
    23/02/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pragmatic, practical, no fluff."

    I love this book and have listened to it on three occasions over the years. It tells Steve's story in Steve's way with asides on technique, method and practice. His excoriating views on literary conceits and sloppy writing are a hoot. He despises 'ly' adverbs which is a really good thing actually. Inspiring. And his central advice 'just write' says it all. Really.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C.J.R Flanagan
    Bathurst, Australia
    25/01/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well Worth A Listen"

    I've been a fan of Stephen King's novels since I was young. Many of his stories planted the seeds for my interest in the horror/supernatural genre. It was very interested in hearing such a successful and prolific writer give a run down of his writing process.
    The first part of this book is autobiographical. I believe this to be important in giving the listener/reader an idea of how a person such a King comes to be a writer in the first place, and how events in his life have influenced him as a writer.

    The second half deals with the actual writing process. This was very interesting to read.
    It is sometimes easy to believe that writers such as King manifest award winning novels in their sleep with little to no effort, while the rest of us have to grind through hours of bad writing and false starts to achieve a result. King's honest run down of his process does well to dispel this belief, which I found very reassuring!

    I'd recommend this book to prospective writers who are looking for pointers and inspiration, and also to fans of Stephen King's work who would be interested in learning about his life and the processes he used to create some of their favorite stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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