By Kelly Bridgewater
I know that most writers have this book on their shelf or have been told to buy this book and put it on their shelf. A couple of years ago, I found it at a used book sale and bought it. I wanted to find out what the fuss was all about. Now after finishing On Writing, I understand why the writers truly use this book to help them improve their writing.
The first half of the book is an autobiography of Stephen King’s life or his CV as he fondly calls it. It includes how he started writing and showed the many times he wanted to even quit, but he kept at it. Something about writing even when we don’t want to is important to every writer. I have found a number of times where I want to quit this gig and do something that makes more money. He divides the books into little subchapters that don’t really start on the next page. It flows smoothly together.
The second half of the book talks about his writing advice. We get to see inside King’s office with his use of descriptive words. One of my favorite quotes is: “Practice is invaluable . . .skills in description, dialogue, and character development all boil down to seeing or hearing clearly and then transcribing what you see or hear with equal clearly (without using a lot of tiresome, unnecessary adverbs) (195). I try to write at least a minimum of 1000 words a day. If not more. Sometimes I start with a short scene and just allow myself to free write for a while to get the imagination flowing.
One thing I really enjoy about this book is the feel of the writing. I feel like Stephen King is sitting right next to me, giving me advice. It is simple to understand but totally resonates with me. I want to sit in my blue Queen Ann’s chair where I do all my reading and writing and allow reality to disappear. It is very conversationalist. I don’t feel threaten or overwhelmed by anything he offers.
If you have read On Writing, what is your favorite part? Share some of your favorite quotes from his book and let’s have a discussion.