Jo Carter's Reviews > On Writing: A Memoir

On Writing by Stephen King
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it was amazing
bookshelves: don-t-own

First five star review of the year! Yewwwww! Now to continue my review with a bit more elegance... haha

"In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well."

Half a memoir, half a writing instructional, an amazing example of "2nd draft = 1st draft - 10%", and what I'm sure is a killer reading list (J. K. Rowling is mentioned).

You honestly need to go into this book not expecting a how on about becoming a good writer. There is lots of sound advice, and I recommend this to everyone, but it's not a magical cure all, or a potion to make you successful. King makes sure to point out the golden rule of "practice makes perfect", but he does offer some specifics about how he became the writer he is today, and his opinion on how you can better your writing self.

The memoir section felt longer than the writing instructional, but it was more enjoyable. I've never read anything by King (yet), but any writer whose asked for a instructional book has probably heard of On Writing at least half a dozen times. I knew King was extremely successful and someone my uncle (who encouraged me to give one book a decent go instead of starting twenty) thinks is talented. I initially bought On Writing as an e-book, but didn't get far through it. Like most others who hadn't bothered to read the MEMOIR stamp, I was disgruntled to find King's history at the front of the book. I gave up and decided not to worry, until a local writer lent a hardcopy to me (I'm a physical book kind of person).

I cannot express how glad I am that I was encouraged to give it another go. The memoir part entertained me the more I got into it - it's always helpful to read the long road someone has taken to where they are today. However it is the instructional part which I believe is worth more than the $15-$30 this book probably retails for (I think the Kindle version was about $12).

I have recorded a few quotes, but honestly, get yourself a copy of the book if you've found it worthwhile. It'll be good to reference. Another favourite quote:

"If I tell you Carrie White is a high school outcast with bad complexion and a fashion-victim wardrobe, I think you can do the rest, can't you?"

However, amongst all of the great advice, there was stuff I didn't agree with. But that's okay. King's word isn't gospel and what works for him may not work for me. Which he also states.

Excellent. I have much respect for him because of this book and I haven't read anything else by him.

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Reading Progress

December 7, 2016 – Started Reading
December 7, 2016 – Shelved
December 7, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
December 7, 2016 –
page 3
1.26% "I'm hoping to read something about writing every Thursday - not the whole thing in one sitting of course, but every week."
January 6, 2017 –
page 24
10.08% "So far, I'm glad I was encouraged to pick this up again."
January 8, 2017 –
page 32
13.45% ""Then as now, I tend to go through periods of idleness followed by periods of workaholic frenzy." You and me both."
January 8, 2017 –
page 38
January 8, 2017 –
page 56
January 9, 2017 –
page 67
28.15% "I'm repeating myself but I'm really glad I've picked this up again. It's entertaining (although I still feel an odd barrier as it's non fiction, as if it's harder for me to believe it's a story because it's someone's life)."
January 15, 2017 –
page 77
January 15, 2017 –
page 88
36.97% "Once again, I'm inspired to put this down and open my own work"
February 24, 2017 – Finished Reading
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-series-can-t-start
April 12, 2020 – Shelved as: don-t-own

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