Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing
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Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  534 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Exclusive Book-of-the-Month-Club anthology of hard to find non-fiction pieces, little known interviews, short stories, and articles about writing for those looking for direction on how to find their own "windows"—or for anyone wishing to be touched by Stephen King's humor and wisdom...

Included in this collection are unpublished early fiction (very early; King was 12 when h...more
Hardcover, 433 pages
Published October 2000 by Book of the Month Club
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This companion book to On Writing has a great introduction by Peter Straub, King speeches and interviews, his "Horror Fiction" piece from Danse Macabre, lots of discussion about other authors and books of note, and much more. Again, it is so thoroughly enjoyable to "listen" to King talk about what he loves doing best. Enjoy!
This book is marketed as a companion to King's spectacular craft memoir On Writing. That is being way too generous. This particular book-of-the-month club exclusive is by no means up to that standard. This is a collection of random pieces, most of which can be found elsewhere: the foreword to Night Shift, the "Horror Fiction" chapter from Danse Macabre, various notes to introduce books-of-the-month, introductions for The Girl Next Door and The Collectors, interviews, and other such things.

This is for serious King fans only. That said, its a great book for a serious King fan to have. There were some great fiction and nonfiction pieces here, my only issue is I wish they would have put more hard to find stuff in here rather then reprint a quarter of Danse Macabe
Robert Beveridge
Stephen King, On Writing/Secret Windows (Scribner's,
2000 and BOMC, 2000)
[originally posted 6Nov2000]

"Most of the things you find in books on writing are bullshit." How can you not like a book on writing that begins so endearingly? Shortly after, King makes a promise to keep the book as short as possible, and for King, he does an admirable job (it weighs in under 300 pages, a short story for this guy). Capitalizing on the publication of On Writing, Book of the Month Club (who are the behind-the-s...more
SECRET WINDOWS is set up as a book of the month club companion piece to King's bestselling memoir/how-to guide ON WRITING. Apart from a very heartfelt ode in the introduction by King's fellow master of horror and collaborator Straub it contains various essays and short works of fiction dedicated to the art of writing. The dates of the pieces in the collection range from when Stephen was a wee lad of 12 writing for his brother's paper to the time of publication. There are some well known pieces,...more
This is apparently the companion guide to On Writing, Stephen King's hybrid of autobiography and instruction manual. It contains examples of Stephen King's fictional work as well as essays on the craft of writing, on being a writer, and on the horror genre in general.

What I found interesting is King's comments on the writing business. He gives details that most people over look like the financial aspect, the paperback vs. hardback dynamic. His essays also show how smart he is. I mean, obviously...more
Probably closer to 3.5. I enjoyed this collection of nonfiction essays about writing and inspiration.

King has a very conversational voice, and brings the reader along in a soothing and relaxing way. There are little quips and as nice use of interspersed storytelling to move things along, and that works well. One great piece talks about (in the early 1990s) why his soon Joe will be the writer, of his three kids.

There is some retelling of stories from his other nonfiction books, but not enough to...more
Dana West
This was an insightful read. As an English Major, I read many short gothic tales that were heralded as great works of literary fiction and yet, I was ridiculed for being a Constant Reader. I have believed since the first SK novel I read that SK has a great insight into the human psyche and an artful way of portraying human nature while putting characters in some extreme situations.

This was a great read for aspiring writers, but also for those that may disregard SK as a "serious" writer.
Brent Soderstrum
This is an interesting book. It contains various writing and interviews with Stephen King regarding the craft of writing and how he got into it. I enjoyed learning about his background and how he struggled to make a living until he finally got Carrie published. This book includes a serial story by 12 year old King that he wrote for his brother's weekly newsletter called Jumper. It also includes an original short story called "In the Death Room" which was very good. It made you feel like you were...more
There is something to be said about being absorbed into a story that you've seen the movie adaptation of a couple of dozen times. This story is very well written and easy to get through. It is not without it's twists and turns that a good thriller novel requires. And, to my pleasant surprise, the ending in the book was very different from the ending in the movie - which is good enough a reason to read the book, in my opinion. I am a big fan of Stephen King's novellas, and this one is definitely...more
This rare collection of Essays and Fiction by Stephen King is a must have for any King fan. The majority of this book consists of essays with some interviews and two fiction stories. If you enjoyed "On Writing", you will find King's wit and humor in this book just as appealing. Although King is primarily a horror writer, this book can be read by anyone interested in writing in any genre, the nucleus is there in all he says.

Out of the fiction in ths book, "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet", whic...more
Steve Chisnell
I'm a sucker for most anything King writes, and this is billed as a companion volume to On Writing. Even so, it's not illuminating for much in the craft of writing. And while most everything has been culled from earlier sources, there are several essays and talks here which are rare or new for me. My favorite reads from the work are "On Becoming a Brand Name," his reflection on fame, and "Horror Writing," a novella-length examination of several great horror novels (originally published in Danse...more
Darren Sapp
If you enjoyed King’s "On Writing," you will like this as well. Some of the articles are redundant, simply because King tells the same stories repeatedly, but that is what readers want. There are many more stories though that continue to motivate and teach the aspiring writer. If you want to read 160 pages of King’s thoughts on horror fiction, prior to 1981, you don’t need to buy "Danse Macabre;" it’s here. I enjoyed several of the interviews and short stories not found elsewhere. Although most...more
Mark Kaplan
As a compilation of King's thoughts on the genre, his experiences, speeches he's made, and forwards from a couple of his books, and a story of two, the reader gets a good idea of who "Stephen King on Writing". I enjoyed his revelations about his beginnings as a writer, the difficulties he faced getting published, and how hard he worked to finally get there.

All in all, it was a fine read, easily digested, with lots of insights, and some scary moments gleaned from other works and writers he mentio...more
The title is very fitting here. Stephen King offered us all an inside look at the man behind the ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his inspirations for some of his most loved novels. Additionally, he offers his take on the best horror novels to date and gave me quite a kick to get started reading a few of the novels he mentions and discusses in detail. You can learn a great deal about Stephen King, and Stephen King the writer as well. I should have thought to read this one a long time ag...more
Michael O'Connell
Secret Windows was sometimes a bit long on the tooth but I expected a choppy read before I started this mainly because it is made up of a number of introductions from a variety of books over many years. There. Now I have a sentence that is a bit long on the tooth. See? I learned something!

Actually I did get quite a few insights for my own writing pursuits. Though, a bit stalled at the moment, I know my own stories will benefit from finding out a bit of what makes Stephen King tick… or scream.
I loved "On Writing" and didn't quite know what to expect from this fringe/b-side/outtake collection. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was kind of a collage of Stephen King's approach to the job of writing and his down-to-earth take on his own identity as a writer. It doesn't quite hang together, dragging a bit at times, but overall a worthwhile read with a fair amount of places to dogear (don't tell S.K.) and return to for gleaming insights and gems of wisdom.
A companion to King's "On Writing," this book offers transcripts of interviews, his very earliest stories (in junior high school, maybe even before then), a few more short stories and a novella. King claims not to be a teacher, but he slices the horror and psychological suspense genres and writing methods with an expert carving knife. I preferred "On Writing," but this text provides some very entertaining stories along with writing treatises.
Aug 01, 2013 Martin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any writer
I very much enjoyed this companion piece to "On Writing." It's a mix of interviews, essays, and a couple of short stories. I'd probably read 1/3 of the stuff before. King's self-analysis is fun to read, because you feel he's being honest and not just angling himself so you find him in a better light.

I'm now only 9 years behind in my King reading.
Re-reading, actually. King shares some interesting thoughts on writing. Not sure how helpful they really are, from the perspective of someone who is considering attempting to write a novel and watching/helping as my husband attempts his first. Definitely interesting, though.
finally got a copy of this off ebay. this compilation of articles interviews and fiction does repeat it's self as king is known for his canned answers to stupid questions. If you enjoyed ON WRITING. think of this as the bonus features dvd.
Brian Kenneth Swain
Collection of essays by King on his background in writing. Some extremely interesting perspectives from arguably the most successful commercial author in world history (J. K. Rowling notwithstanding). Enjoyed it thoroughly.
B.D. Crowell
A good book. A nice companion piece to On Writing, which is an outstanding, dare I say must, read for anyone contemplating a career with words. This one, a bit less so, but still a good complement.
Not as much 'on the craft of writing' as an analysis of good horror writers / novels in general, and a lot of this material is available elsewhere -- but still, some damn good (and useful) reads in here.
Titus Hjelm
Excellent! I had of course read a couple of the reprinted introductions, but still I devoured the book. Hearing master craftsmen talking about their trade is just utterly fascinating.
Alex Callaghan
Good book. Massive section from one of his other published non-fiction work "Dance Macabre". The other sections were brilliant though.
Phil Williams
Most of the articles here have been published before in other mediums, but is a good companion to his very good, On Writing.
May 04, 2013 MiChAeLPaUl marked it as fini
Shelves: books, non-fiction
Insights on craft and what it means to discover and use your own unique storytelling perspective.
a interesting and fun read for any stephan king fan, or anyone just into writing.
Karl Steffey
Jun 21, 2009 Karl Steffey marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction, owned
Secret Windows : Essays and Fiction On The Craft Of Writing by Stephen King (2000)
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M...more
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