On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Formats: Hardcover
First Edition Release Date: 2000

Synopsis:

On Writing is both a textbook for writers and a memoir of Stephen's life and will, thus, appeal even to those who are not aspiring writers. If you've always wondered what led Steve to become a writer and how he came to be the success he is today, this will answer those questions.

 

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Posted By: Nailahi - April 14th, 2012 8:03:14 pm EDT

Absolutely the best book about the craft of writing I've ever read. I always recommend it to my students & gift it to the special writers in my life.

 
 
Posted By: BorysK - March 14th, 2012 12:39:29 pm EDT

I thought the book was amazing. I am not a writer, but it is inspiring, full of great anecdotes and packed with knowledge.

 
 
Posted By: BDRichardson - March 4th, 2012 11:04:20 pm EST

Hello, "Mr. the King!" (quote from CARS) I'll just have you know. You're my muse now. Thanks a lot for that. Or my supervisor. You're pretty mean when it comes to me whining about the difficulty of production in the midst of life's various woes. Plus (as you pointed out) you're not a hot girl. Anyway. On Writing might have changed my (writing) life. Thanks for the permission slip, and lighting my exodus from "politically correct society." I'm sure you've heard it a bunch of times. But I figured I owed you some kudos. Anyway... Thanks, BDR

 
 
Posted By: David Hoag - February 25th, 2012 5:39:53 pm EST

DEVELOP A STORY HOW TO DEVELOP AND FINISH STORIES Look in your files for a story that seems stuck, a story that has a story block. Next, write at the top of a separate sheet of paper the two words WHAT IF. Now write five ways of continuing the story, not ending the story, but continuing the story to the next event, scene, etc. Let your imagination go wild. Loosen up your thinking about the events in the story. Your what ifs can be as diverse as your imagination can make them. More than likely, and this has proved to be true through years of teaching and writing, one of the what ifs will feel right, organic, to your story and that is the direction in which you should go. Sometimes you will have to do several groups of what ifs per story, but thats OK as long as they keep you moving forward. - From On Writing. by Stephen King, 2000

The whole process of creative writing reminds me of Robert Frosts poem The Road Not Taken. The only given is that a character does SOMETHING, Who the character is, and what the character does, is something that is left entirely up to the writer. That said, it seems to me that the best generator of fiction would consist of a team. The team would be part child-like and preferably young to do the sort of thing that children do all the time dreaming up what-if situations at a moments notice; this team-member, by definition, would be the artist. Part of the team would also have to be well educated in the use of the English language -- knowing the subtleties of meanings, how to change voice and how to change point of view, and when to do it; this part of the team would, by definition, be skilled. The best candidate for this educated part of the team would be an experienced fiction writer. This truth was brought home to me a few years ago as my 12- year- old grandson, Richie, sat at this computer and composed a brief story based on an ancient culture which he was then studying in social studies. The assignment would be judged by both his Social Studies and English teachers. The complexity of the story that he turned out in one evening was something that I marvel at, even now. It would have taken me at least a week to do that. I quote his beginning, The male children came running up the perfectly carved steps of the massive temple. They marched in one by one in a single filed line to their places on the stone ground. The children stared intently at me, ready to begin their lesson of the glorious civilization of the Aztecs. This is how my day goes all week. All year. The lesson today was on the gods, particularly Tlaloc, the god of rain. After the lesson the boys left and my schedule took me down the stairs of the temple. My body bore no shirt, but I was covered with jewelry and a headdress. As soon as my body left the blistering heat of the temple, a new heat source arose. The god of Huitzilopochtli shone down on the city of Tenochitlan like a torch in a black bottomless cave. It was the time of spring. Xipe Totec was working his magic on the land and the city. ` Do you see what I mean? (He went on for about 1650 words in this vein.) A social studies assignment when I went to school might call for some elementary research in the textbook to get the correct spellings of the names of the gods of the Aztecs, but it certainly wouldnt call for any creativity. I understand, though, that his English teacher is now looking for examples of figurative speech. The invention of strings of words takes considerable time, as well as talent. I think that if I went back to the seventh grade now, at age 73, I would flunk it because I wouldnt be able to produce the homework as rapidly as it was demanded. (When I was his age, no works of fiction were demanded of me. It wasnt until I got into high school that essays or descriptions were required, and then, only one per week.) To save the students time and energy, then, it is my contention that most of the writing required of English students Richies age should be descriptive. As far as creative writing goes, one brief short story per week should be plenty. He should be encouraged to keep a fiction-writers notebook or even a diary, though. The ideas that come to him easily now are things that he will find out of reach when he is older, unless he has a resource such as a notebook to help him. The Ages of Man When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. These familiar words of Paul, from the New Testament of the Christians Holy Bible, have always implied to me, up to now, that grown-up attitudes are more to be desired than child-like attitudes. But I now strongly believe that some child-like attitudes are something that we grown-ups would be well-advised to emulate. This is the way I see it: Each of us is born, and begins life at age zero. At that time, the normal babys wants are few, his charity non-existent. His cry means that he is hungry, lonely, or wants his diaper changed. Education continues, both at home and at school in the best cases, and time marches on, and the transitory teen or tween years descend. To my way of thinking, that doesnt mean all childlike behavior should disappear -- just become less frequent -- sort of recede into the background. Likewise, adult behavior and mature adult behavior GENERALLY replaces all learned behavior that preceded it, but not ALWAYS. as noted in the ideal make-up of a writing team. David Hoag, 2012

 
 
Posted By: Dave1939 - February 25th, 2012 11:35:14 am EST

I think it is a great book, and have recommended it to the few aspiring writers that I know.

 
 
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