On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft On Writing question

Your thoughts?
Toni M.Ed. Toni Feb 29, 2016 12:06PM
This book helped me tremendously as a writer, along with others on the craft. Tell me your favorite books on writing and why?

I took King's advice and picked up the little reference book he mentions in On Writing, The Elements of Style. Hugely helpful!

I have read very few 'how to write' books; in fact On Writing might be the only one. I've read it three or four times over the years and have found it enormously helpful. In particular, it helped me to 'let go' of trying to plan out everything in advance, which, unlike Shawn above, works for me just fine. All the plotting and planning and preparation is creatively stifling to me. I can now happily start writing a novel with only a vague idea of where I'm going, solidifying my ideas as I go along.

As a horror writer, I know my protagonist will have to deal with whatever evil creature or situation I'm throwing at him at some point, but I have no idea how he will achieve this when I start out. So far my protagonist has always managed it, often in an unexpected way. Without Stephen King's On Writing I would probably be buried under a heap of notes somewhere without having actually written anything!

Shawn (last edited Mar 01, 2016 07:07PM ) Mar 01, 2016 07:05PM   0 votes
Frankly, I'm not a big fan of "how to" books. I think the best way to be a writer is to read books, then just write. Develop your own style. I guess I'm a believer in just doing something instead of reading up on it endlessly and never taking the plunge.
That being said, I liked this book and it opened my eyes up to what I don't like about King. He rambles and often times I wondered if he even knew where the story was going. After reading this, now I know I was right. He didn't know where the story was going and that is the one thing, I feel, that suffers in his writing. I read "Pet Cemetery" when I was young and I remember even at that age that I thought half the book could be edited out. It was just rambling and did not enhance the story. I remember wondering where the editor was on that book. So, you see, I don't agree with the way King writes, clearly it works for him, however, I would never write a story having no idea where it was going. That's not the way I do it so I tend to only take my own advice.

Thanks for participating! Have a great weekend!

I am currently reading The 27 fiction writing blunders-and how to avoid them. I am finding it extremely helpful, especially when it comes to editing or revising. You know, when a passage does not quite work but you are sure why? This book has helped me solve a couple of those issues.

With that being said, I love "On Writing," it not only gave helpful advise but also is very encouraging. I believe that Mr. King's definition of passive and active voice is the best out there. I wish I had read it when I was first trying to understand the concept.

I agree reading good work is the best inspiration and training. I also agree too much planning hinders creative processing. But I have also learned everyone has different strategies and hey, that's good! Let's share ;)

Ray Bradbury's little book on writing is excellent!! BTW I really liked King's vignettes from his childhood!! Fun stuff!

Victor Davis Zen in the Art of Writing? Thanks for the tip! ...more
May 26, 2016 10:28AM

Brad, have not read Bradbury's book but will add to myw "To Read" shelf. Now, if I could just stop reading and finish my chapter :)))

While I agree with Shawn that King tends to ramble (even here!) I found his writing advice to be sound, and general enough that it should help a broad range of writers. I have to say I enjoyed the section that was actually about writing more than the stories about his farting babysitter.

I agree!

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