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On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King MAG
“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”
Personally, I have never read a Stephen King novel in my life (so far). I have a copy of “It” thicker than the pages of homework I get and a couple of his other gems residing on my bookshelf, but I have not read his novels, despite loving the horror genre. Why? I’m not sure.
However, my mother bought me a copy of “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” for Christmas, and I sped through the book during my brother’s baseball games. I was focused more on absorbing King’s intellect he gained from long years of being a successful writer than watching my brother slam a home run out of the park.
“On Writing” by no means informs you of everything in the writing world. Instead, King simplififies the writing process with a taste of his hilarious personal experiences, and even heartbreaking ones. The book is separated into five sections. The first section dives into his childhood, and King claims that this is not an autobiography, but sporadic whisps of memories peeking out from his mind. He recalls his development as a writer, how he met his wife, and other instances that led him to the spot he is at today. My favorite part of this section are the hilarious stories laced throughout.
The second section is about what writing is – simplified to the core. King offers the advice that to be a successful writer, you must read and write a lot.
The third section highlights the “writing toolbox.” There are parts dedicated to writing, grammar, and more. I learned a lot about the process of writing a novel in this section. It made me ask, “What is really inside my writing toolbox?”
The fourth section is my personal favorite, as it guides readers into King’s advice on symbolism, themes, and the other literary devices. With his own examples, King made the book a learning experience for starry-eyed dreamers like me. Getting taught by one of the most dominant authors in the business is something that will stick in my mind like gum.
The final section deals with a tragic car crash that King suffered from when he was struck by a van. His descriptions of the injuries were enough to make one cringe and squirm in their seats. I was shocked to learn that King plunged into a four-month-long writing block. Yet instead of being discouraged, he continued to persevere. This specific part put into context that the best of us struggle too, and that we are all human.
I also specifically liked how King provides examples in the book. He mentiones a few of his specific novels and novellas. In the end of the book, he also has reading lists of books that inspired him or that he simply enjoyed. Immediately, I searched for them all on Goodreads.
“On Writing” is by no means a writing bible, but it changed the way I view the craft. King allowed inspiration to bloom inside my mind.
I recommend this book to anybody interested in the art of writing, who one day dreams of having the story drilled in their head unfold for others to read.
As King says, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”