Jeremy's Reviews > On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Writing by Stephen King
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Jul 19, 14

bookshelves: non-fiction-about-language
Read from May 15 to 17, 2011

I've never read King before, and this is obviously not representative of his work. What it is however, is a pretty decent mini-memoir/writing guide which covers the basics of both categories without wallowing unnecessarily in either. I always think of King as this interminably successful pop author. I can literally never recall a point in my life when I didn't walk into a bookstore and see a new (or reprinted) Steven King bestseller somewhere. So it was really interesting reading about his early years basically just being this working class 20 something guy living in different parts of rural Maine. And anyone who could support a wife and two kids at that age working an endless succession of dead end jobs and still have time left over to write anything at all is not someone you can entirely dismiss out of hand. If he comes across as a bit too cocky, it's also quickly obvious that its a sort of cockiness he's earned and at least he doesn't rub your face in it.
The sections on writing itself seemed pretty basic. Not Strunk and White soulless beige cubicle basic, but basic to anyone whose ever sat through multiple composition/creative writing classes (guilty as charged). But then most really good writing advice is. And the voice he uses is engaging enough to make you not care when he's stating the dumbly obvious. By far the best section is towards the end when he discusses the auto accident that nearly killed him in '99. It walks this really fine line between being gruesome, poignant and funny. And that's hard to pull off in fiction, much less when writing about real life. It actually made me want to sit down and bother to read some of his books. Oh yeah, and it made me want to write too.
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