Greta is Erikasbuddy's Reviews > On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Writing by Stephen King
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's review
Nov 07, 2010

it was amazing
Read from November 07 to 10, 2010

I've been wanting to read this book for maybe a year now. .... Maybe shorter... but probably pretty close to a year.

What stopped me?

Well, I've never been much for book-learning and I kinda figured this book would intimidate me.

But it's by Stephen King! Why would he want to intimidate you?

Ok, it's not that he'd intimidate me... it's more like I felt my little simple mind wouldn't be able to understand it. I will be the first one to admit that I am in NO WAY The smartest tool in the shack or the deadliest razor in bathroom. I'm more of the dull butter knife that has been forgotten about in the bottom of the silverware drawer. You know the one. (seriously, why do we all keep that thing? It's simply useless.)

I saw that Cutie the goddess of uhh.... hmmm.... What would be a good way of putting it? I'm unsure what she is the deity of but everyone seems to lovers her... I guess I'll call her the goddess of Pink Fluffy Clouds because that's what I think of when I think of Cutie. Anyways... I noticed that Cutie Lord and Overruler of all that is Pink and Fluffy got this book. I asked her to let me know if I would be able to understand it once she was done (she was reading it for a college class). She (probably about) two weeks later tagged me back and told me it was simple enough that I could wrap my ferret mind around it and thus gave me her blessing to go get it from the library. (ok ok... she didn't give me her blessing but I think the ruler of clouds and stuff should give you a blessing when they scope out a book for ya. It leaves you with a fuzzy feeling.... and I'd like to think that I had that fuzzy feeling when I got her message)

I got the book (that's a lie... I had already put it on hold when I asked her about it. It just lined up that the day that she gave me the go-ahead that I had just picked it up. Oh look!! It was a sign!! LOLZ!) and started reading.

The first part of the book is really really neat!! It's all about how Stephen King got into writing. THere are stories about his youth that inspired him to write novels, how he got into short stories, newspaper jobs, rejection letters, farting babysitters, giant rats in factories, and a whole gob of stuff.

I actually remember a couple of those stories being told on Oprah (god praise Oprah!) about twenty years ago. My Mom (and everyone else's on this planet) really loves Oprah. She was on every afternoon at my house at 4pm. The day Oprah had Stephan King on (Well the one time I remember) I was in middle school. I had seen my share of his movies but had never read any of his books (I also had an idea that my cat would steal my breath, people with axes were mad, and crazy twisted sisters named Zelda scared the pee and poptarts out of me). I was probably too young to understand any of them back them. Let's remember that I was in the slow readers class in elementary school. I didn't pick up my first King Book until I was 17.

Anyways, my Mom was all excited that Stephen King was going to be on (god praise) Oprah. She squealed and I think even gave me a Pepsi and invited me to watch it with her.

Out came a tall skinny man with glasses. He resembled my Dad (upon telling my husband this story over the weekend we now believe that My mom had the hots for Mr. King) with big glasses, dark hair, and a long face... but it was his voice that got me. I had never heard a voice like that. It was not what I expected. I guess from the master of terror you expect a voice that sends chills down your spine... No, this voice was more like what you would expect your vet to have. But he spoke and I listened and while listening I'm sure it somehow warped me because now whenever I write something I try to figure out ways to creep people out. Thank you Mr. King... LOLZ

I don't remember what book he was plugging. I'm sure he was plugging something. But what I remember was one conversation he had with (god praise) Oprah. She told Mr. King how she didn't like going into dark rooms. That she thought there might be someone in there ready to attack her. He told her that while that is creepy what would be creepier is if while feeling the wall for the light switch someone happened to guide your hand up to it.

Creepy, yes?

She also talked about how she hated going into parking decks because people could be hiding under you car.

(I still think of this when in a parking deck)

And he said what would be scarier is if someone was already hidden in the back seat .

Brilliant!! I watched with fascination and I'm pretty sure we rented some of his movies over that weekend. My mom was like that. She lived for horror movies. I can't tell you how many times I have seen the 70s version of Psycho. That was the cool thing about my Mom... we loved to creep each other out.

After I got done with the small (and I want more!!) biography of Mr. King's life it then went into how he writes. How he hates adverbs, passive words, how some people shouldn't write, how the way you want to say something is probably best then trying to think of something clever and cryptic, how it's best to say he/she said then mumbo jumbo (I really enjoyed hearing that. I have an awful time trying to come up with clever things), and how you should just practice, read, and write.

I told my husband all about the book (if it's not about sexy highlanders or hunky werewolves then I always tell my hubz about the book I'm reading) and for some reason he thought I was reading a SCARY book.

Well, I guess it is kind of scary knowing that I was reading it, but the book itself doesn't get scary until the end.

I told him it was more of a guide and how he does things and then he asked me:

"So, is it your dream to be a write a book, pook?"

"NO," I told him (my gut on the other hand screamed YES!! But that's not the answer I wanted to give. Everybody wants to be naked and famous but that's something private. I didn't want to tell him that) .... "I don't have the patience."

And I don't. I don't see how on earth writers like Kelly Armstrong can bang out 25 books or so in 10 years. How do they do it?

I for one am full of ideas. I always have something odd swimming around in my head. But I'm without release. There is no way I can take any of my ideas and turn that into 50k words. It's just impossible. I was really hoping that this book would show me how to outline. It doesn't folks. Maybe, if another book is ever written on this subject then Mr. King will go into that and tell us just HOW to get those ideas onto paper with ease. Until then I'll just keep playing the mini movies I have made out of them over and over in my head.

After the writing portion of the book Mr. King starts to get scary. He lets the reader know why this book took so long. He started this book in 1999. It seemed like a cool (note: Mr. King doesn't like that word but this is ME here and I love it so na na na na Boo Boo!) idea to him. He speaks on talk shows, radio shows, lectures, and seminars about it. Let's let the reader here what he has to say.

He started writing it and then..... that's when he got hit by the van. I never really looked into it. I remember when it happened but during that time my husband was graduating, my son was having surgery, and I was probably working night shift at the time. I didn't have enough time to know what was going on.

OMG... he goes into detail. The picture he paints of it could be a movie, a book, a nightmare. I truly felt bad for the guy. You could tell he was in a heap load of pain (come on now! He was hit by a van. DUH!) but it was over the dumbest thing ever. Apparently the dude that was driving the van wasn't watching the road because his dog was mucking around in the back.

That's the reason..... It could have been prevented.... the guy could have stopped on the road and took care of his dog. But no. Driving like a maniac he slammed into a person and nearly shattered their life (let alone almost killed him).

But that was 11 years ago. Mr. King is still around and probably has a new outlook on life. (and probably considers himself mighty lucky, too)

My husband swears that Mr. King bought the van that broke him and then broke it. I don't know if that's true but I sure hope it is.

All in all... this was a really awesome book. I'm glad I read it. I loved the back story of everything and I just adored how simple he wrote the book-learnin' part. It made me realize that I'll never be a good writer but taught me new ways to mock other people's work ;) WHich is probably why you read my reviews in the first place ;)
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Reading Progress

11/07/2010 page 48
16.0% "So, far this book is really neat & talking about his childhood. I actually remember some of the stories from an episode of Oprah that me & Mom watched probably about 20 years ago. I remember him telling Oprah that one of the scariest things he could think of when entering a dark room was fumbling for the lightswitch and having some1 guide his hand up to it. That so got me thinking back then."
11/07/2010 page 103
35.0% "Wow! That 1st part of the book was very interesting! We got to hear how he got the ideas for the Graveyard Shift and Carrie. And YES I was so write about who Jack was in The Shining. King just didn't know it for a couple years. Interesting stuff about Misery too! I for 1, think that every King fan would enjoy as many pages as I have read."
11/07/2010 page 137
46.0% "I'm glad to see that you don't have to pepper everything you say to make a good story. I've never realy aquired a taste for the condiments of writing :)"
11/09/2010 page 180
61.0% "I don't feel any more confident in my writing skills but I sure do feel like I could rip a book apart in a review now lolz!! Oh Mr. King... why did you teach me these things? Muhahahahas!"
11/09/2010 page 194
65.0% "Certainly it struck a raw nerve: i was deluged w/ letters, most of them protesting my outrageous cruelty to animals. I wrote back to these folks pointing out the usual things: (a)Greg Stillson wasn't real (b)the dog wasn't real (c)I myself have never in my life put the boot to 1 of my pets or anyone else's."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Alisha (new)

Alisha I'm all for your finding new ways to mock people's work! Really, Mr. King is informing all types of awesome sauce reviews! Rock :o)

Greta is Erikasbuddy @Alisha - Thanks dude :) I seriously feel bad for the author that writes the next book I read lolz :) I can't help but make fun of it muhahahahs!

message 3: by AH (new)

AH Thoroughly awesome review! I didn't know he wrote a book on how to write. I hope you get your story out of your mind and on to paper soon. You have a lot of great ideas rolling around in there. Werewolf highlanders - where do I sign up?

message 4: by Greta is Erikasbuddy (last edited Nov 10, 2010 08:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greta is Erikasbuddy @AH - THANKIES!

LOLZ!! Kresley Cole writes about the werewolf highlanders. NOM NOM NOM!!

I have ideas like the 2nd coming of christ being birthed by a 14 year old atheist with a racist gangsta thug guardian angel who wants a job transfer lolz ;)

I'm probably going to start on the exercise idea sometime next week ;) I;m still thinking about all the little doo dads it takes to write a thousand words lolz

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