On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
Confession. I’ve never read a single (other) book by Stephen King, but I like a lot of movies that have been adapted from his work, I like him as a person, and I like him on Twitter. He is basically a human honey badger, which is delightful.
People love this book, I think because it feels like you’re hanging out with the guy, and you learn a lot about his life. I like that he came from humble beginnings, I have much respect for his mother, who raised two children on a terrible minimum-wage job, by herself. He loves his family, his wife, and truly adores reading. But, and maybe this is just me because it has a 4+ average on Goodreads, there was not a lot of ….specific writing advice…? Although, This is beautiful, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” #truth, Mr. King.
“Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes,” writes King. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”
“Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do — to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street,”
“All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing is the purest distillation,”
….says King. An important element of writing is transference. Your job isn’t to write words on the page, but rather to transfer the ideas inside your head into the heads of your readers.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:
read a lot and write a lot.
There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
The ‘No Shortcut’ thing should get its own chapter, and can not be stressed enough. I think a pretty high number of people who seek out a how-to-write education, are really hoping to find out how to make it fast and easy. I’m sure you’re speed improves after a few decades.
He also thinks you should ditch your television machine. It’s… “poisonous to creativity,” he says. “Writers need to look into themselves, and turn toward the life of the imagination.” Agreed!
To recap: Read. Read A lot.
What did you think? Have you read this, or other books by this author? What was your favorite part? Is there another, similar book that you prefer? Is there anything you wish the author explained in greater detail? Do you disagree with something they said? Let me know in the comments section, below. Thanks!
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