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On Writing

Narrated by: Stephen King
Length: 7 hrs and 59 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (1,778 ratings)

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Summary

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.

Critic reviews

"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)

"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)

What listeners say about On Writing

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

13 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

I listened to this a number of times over the years before I began writing myself but have just revisited it having become an author with a few books under my belt and therefore some experience to help put King's book in context. I don't agree with every last word he says and some of the advice on publishing is naturally dated, but this is a brilliant book and I recommend it wholeheartedly to any aspiring author. Or, in fact, any author at all.

15 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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Not a King fan but this is excellent

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely, this is well thought out advice from one of the most successful writers of our time.

Any additional comments?

I've not read much Stephen King but I have no hesitation in recommending this audiobook.

It provides many, many useful writing tips and advice and if you are writer you cannot fail but to gain something from it regardless of your experience level.

You only have to look at the number of writing courses and text books which quote from this text to see how valuable it is.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting and informative

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Any one who dreams of being a writer should read this book. It's not a writing manual, but more of a guide on how to develop the tools all writers need. With practical examples and advice drawn from his own experience and writing career, King takes the reader on a guided tour of his development as a writer and highlights some of the skills he believes good writing should demonstrate.

What did you like best about this story?

This is part autobiography and part writers aid and is full of little details that keep the listener interested all the way to the end. If you like biographies or Stephen King, you can't really go wrong with this book

What about Stephen King’s performance did you like?

King's voice takes a little getting used to, but once you have the rhythm of his speech in your head, his voice is engaging and he has some very interesting points to make.

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

I did listen to this in one sitting, but it's a book you can dip in and out of and your leisure as well.

Any additional comments?

For fans of Stephen King this is a must read book, but for me the best way to 'read' this book was to listen King's voice narrating his own story.

3 people found this helpful

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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!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring

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

2 people found this helpful

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Essential read for any writer

This was my first audiobook experience, and I couldn't have chosen any better. Pure magic!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Karen
  • 10-09-12

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • milo
  • 12-08-18

i love this book

if you want to know more about writing no nonsense style with a big grin on your face, well, look no further.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matt
  • 02-02-14

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 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-09-20

Great book!!

Great author and narrator. Listened to it twice and would listen to it again. Very helpful and inspiring for beginners in the craft of novel writing!!

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  • Iveaux Caster
  • 26-06-20

Absolutely inspiring & informative!

I loved King's autobiographical way of sharing his experience. It was a huge encouragement for someone such as myself starting out as a writer. I'm definitely going to be listening to this a second time through. I wish you all the best of luck as you embark on the journey. Thanks Mr. King for being so personal!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-06-20

great value listen

said everything an aspiring writer needs to hear and covered most questions I had and wondered about

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  • Lim
  • 13-05-20

A master story-teller even when it's a non-fiction

I enjoyed listening to this a lot for the simple reason that Stephen King speaks about his craft in a non-technical manner. What makes it interesting and inspiring is that the stories he shared are real and they give you a glimpse (and sometimes front seat viewing) of his personal life - his passion, vulnerability, drive, lessons learned and other things that make him the prolific and successful writer that he is today. He also came across as being his authentic self when he narrates the book. He didn't come across as pretentious. This appeals to me a lot as it's not often when I experience an author speaking to me from his heart when their words are actually in written form. This has become one of my few favourite audio books so far.

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  • Noah Ilogon
  • 18-10-19

F*CKING AMAZING

ONLY THE BEST FROM THE BEST AUTHOR ONE OF THE ONLY NON FICTION THAT KEEP ME HOOKED

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  • Bronwyn Johnson
  • 15-07-19

Part biography, part teaching, pure magic!

I was really surprised with Stephen King's courage and honesty with the stories he shares in this book. He shares his struggles with substance abuse, incredible partnership with his wife Tabitha and his unique approach to writing. I was particularly surprised to learn that he doesn't create a completed plot for his books before he starts writing and that he allows the characters and the stories to evolve over time. As he says, if even he doesn't know how the story will end, then there's no way his readers will be able to guess the ending. This book is not a technical manual on writing or a recipe to follow step-by-step, but it does provide answers to many questions that Stephen has been asked over his career and a truly generous sharing of what works for him. It was as if I was sitting in the same room, listening to him share openly from his vast experience - the good times and the bad. I loved the book. It is as entertaining as it is educational. I will apply some of the lessons he shared in my own career moving forward.

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  • emeraldeye
  • 05-04-19

fantastic

still just as relevant today as it was when it was published, barring a few old references. and King is a gem to listen to. highly recommended