Stephen King on Writing

This was a phenomenal read. At some point, Steve mentions that writers read all the time and, at that point I sort of took a break from the book and started reading more fiction. Then when I came to the book I realized he himself had taken a long break in writing the thing. So I enjoyed imagining some sort of significance to that (hey, what’s the point of enjoying fiction if you’re not willing to engage in a little bit of it in your head?). Of course, my break from the book to read stories was a lot more pleasant than his break–which was caused by getting hit by a van and nearly dying.

King’s book has several sections. The first, C.V., is basically a biographical sketch which heavily emphasizes his experience in getting started as a writer. He then gives some advise for writing, both living as a writer and the actual practice of writing. The book ends with some more autobiography detailing his trials in restarting his writing habits after a forced break–or rather forced multiple fractures and breaks.

Probably the least amount of attention is given to technique. King believes there is a lot of good material out there and he doesn’t think he has much he needs to add to it. He recommend’s Stunk’s The Elements of Style. Of the tidbits he does leave the reader, probably the most space is devoted to portraying adverbs as monsters as gruesome and repulsive as any he has ever portrayed in his novels.

Rather than a technical manual on how to write a novel, King’s book is more about how a person can be a writer. What disciplines and habits do you need to learn? What tools do you need? King recommends a bottom line habit to produce a thousand words a day for six days a week.

It’s a great book (though a content warning for some language is necessary). But what surprised me the most was how much I ended up liking Stephen King as a person. He just seemed like a great guy.

  1. 1 Jevlir Caravansary » Blog Archive » Links and Blogroll Additions

    […] writing services blogs I found Scroll and Quill, and this post on Steven King was attractive enough that I’ll add that blog to the “writing blogs” section of […]

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