"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."
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.
"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)
Writer, geek, dad.
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.
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.
If you're thinking of buying this book then I have two words of advice; buy it.
This book is probably the most direct and honest book of writing advice you've ever come across. It's rooted and illustrated in Stephen King's life and by the end of it - even if, like me, you never thought of yourself as a fan - you'll feel like you have hung out with 'Stevie' for a few days.
Stephen King is so honest in this book. It feels like he's not holding something back either because we might not want to hear it or he might not want to disclose it. It's the sort of heart to heart that you'd hope for if your best friend was a best seller.
If strong language is a problem you could find the choice of vocabulary of the book troubling in places - but don't let any preconceptions about Stephen King be a barrier. This is a fabulous book and you'll finish it somehow more inspired and clear sighted than when you began.
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
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.
I loved reading about the ideas for his books, how one simple idea would slowly transform into a long novel.
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.
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.
This book does what it says on the tin. It's narrated by Stephen King himself which gives it a real edge as he combines his memories of growing up, early adulthood, with his advice on how to write and get published. It's clever and inspiring and I would recommend it to any aspiring writer or simply any fan of the great horror writer.
Stephen King has produced something very special with this book.
King describes his approach to his creative process with a degree of openness and honesty usually only found in those individuals who are truly comfortable with their output.
Not only does he invite those interested in writing to embark on their own journey by demystifying the process that many other writers tend to embellish with vague references to intangible internal monologues, he does so in a highly accessible way and even includes genuine descriptions of the techniques used by one of the worlds greatest writers of fiction. Highly recommended.
An inspiring glimpse into the mind of a true genius, an inspiring listen that makes even the unskilled in wordplay want to start typing something imaginative.
Nice work Mr King
I spend my time writing about bees and beekeeping and teaching people how to keep bees. I enjoy listening to audiobooks.
I have read many books that set out to teach the art and craft of writing, but none are as clear, approachable and engaging as King's. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to create convincing characters and use them to tell a memorable story.
As always narration by the author is the most enjoyable thing about listening to autobiographies, and in this case it made it even more special to have an icon like Stephen King spend a few hours with me telling of his child hood and early influences, of his life changing writing experiences, giving hints and tips about writing good stories, and offering his first hand account of that horrific accident that nearly ended his life. You also get to know the man behind the books, how down to earth he really is, and his deep seated feelings on how important literature is in shaping lives (not just his own work).
It did not matter that I'm not a big fan of Stephen King, nor am I an inspiring writer looking for the secret to success, I have a lot of respect for what he has accomplished, and I absolutely loved this book! I can't imagine how a true fan and/or a wanna be writer might feel after getting this chance to spend time with him too.
"Part 'How to' part Autobiographical"
Yes - easier to access for busy budding writers
None, Stephen King's advice and narration are so easy to listen to and his honesty is very inspiring.
Yes, Bag of Bones, love his voice, this was a different type of book and very easy to listen to.
I was very moved when he admitted and owned his alcoholism.
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.
"Rather than a How-To Book, this is a How-I-Did."
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.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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