On Writing by Stephen King

I am kicking myself. Seriously, I’m so cross. Why has it taken me so long to read this book?

I’ve been a Stephen King fan forever. My favourites are “From a Buick 8” and “Misery”. But somehow this gem passed me by, and as a writer, that’s a serious omission. So if you write, or want to, and haven’t picked up “On writing: a memoir of the craft” then drop everything and read it. Now.

Stephen King draws you into his stories and keeps you there, holding your breath, inhabiting his characters, whilst the rest of the world falls away. This book, although non-fiction, is no exception. He talks about how he started, the triumphs and the failures (thus proving that every writer gets those dreaded rejection slips), and the life events (and people) that influenced him. The postscript, detailing his terrible accident and how he came back from that, is simply and directly told but incredibly moving. Shout out to his wife Tabitha here, who certainly is his rock.

His advice on writing is similarly simple and direct, but like everything he writes, authentic. I was surprised by his eschewing of plot – he doesn’t plan his stories – but it’s definitely something I want to try myself. Stephen King makes it look easy; it isn’t, but he certainly inspires, and the writing wisdom in this book is worth its weight in ink and dreams.

I’m off to write that novel now. Thanks Stephen.

Hodder, 2020, ISBN 9781444723230 (Twentieth Anniversary Edition)

Published by Jo

Writer, Editor, Librarian

2 thoughts on “On Writing by Stephen King

  1. This is the very first book I bought on the craft, and in my opinion it’s the best out there. Filled with straightforward, no-nonsense, and very helpful information for any writer, no matter what stage they’re at. And funny at times; simply and honestly written by a master storyteller. I found it’s best to refer to only a very few writers’ opinions.

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