Monday, November 12, 2012

Books read in 2012: No. 90 -- On Writing

by Stephen King

Started: Nov. 9
Finished: Nov. 12

Amazon link: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Notes: I've actually read this book twice before, once soon after its initial publishing a dozen or so years ago, and then once more six or seven years ago. I decided to read it again to see if there was something I missed or if I've simply forgotten much. While I recall this book being quite interesting and well written, and offering another insight into King's life, I don't remember it being all that great a book when it come to the craft or business of writing. It seems a lot of people disagree with me, because this book consistently shows up as a favorite among authors as a top book on the craft. Maybe I'm wrong. Which is why I'm reading it again.

Mini review: No, I think I'll stick with my opinion of this book. Don't get me wrong. It is well written, and it is entertaining. It also offers some excellent insight into how King works and gives some fairly new (for the publication date) biographical information about the author. But I still don't think there's a lot of depth here pertaining to the actual craft or business of writing. I could sum up most of King's writing advice as: learn the basics, trust your intuition, then cut 10 percent off the first draft of everything. There are a number of excellent, pithy quotes pertaining to writing, but I don't feel they add much. I think this book would best serve those who are beginning writers, but those of us who have penned a million words or more won't find much here challenging (not that I think I'm above it all or anything, because the basics are always worth looking over again from time to time). To any writer who has not read this book, yes, I believe it is worth checking into. The book is a little dated, the technology and publishing industry having changed much in the last decade, but as with most things penned by King, it's an excellent read. At the very least, one gets to see how King approaches his writing and reading.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I felt much the same way you do. Interesting, but a better view into King's writing world than a book to help others with writing. His comment about agents was way off base, I thought. A long way from my favorite book on writing.