On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen KingDo you want to be a writer?

I’m not asking “do you want to write?” It’s not the same question. Rather “do you want to be a writer?” If so, you could do worse than reading On Writing by Stephen King.

On Writing is part memoir that provides context for the evolution of an author (a highly successful one, at that). It is also part instructive guide on how to write well. This refreshing read forgoes the technical intricacies of stringing words together. Instead, it gives a much more practical overview of the mental approach necessary to write well; which means, of course, to write honestly.

It is easy to see why Stephen King is such a successful author. His easy style is a friendly read. Of course, being conversational means that “conversational” words are woven throughout. And Stephen King’s conversational vocabulary can be a bit… salty. Still, it’s honest and instructive.

One of my favorite parts include his toolbox analogy, where he relates the essential skills of writing to tools, with the most important and commonly used ones in the top drawer, easily accessible. He manages to touch on all of the critical parts of writing well, and places each one of them within reach of an aspiring author.

An attempt to summarize all of the finer points would not do the book justice. The fine points are just too numerous. I’ll just have to pass along my hearty recommendation that, if you want to be a writer, read this book. You’ll be glad you did.

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