On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
By Stephen King.
Review posted: 7/20/03
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft received to much acclaim, so many powerful reviews that I decided I just had to read it. The end result was that I lost several hours of my life and $14.00 that I can never get back.
If you are a huge Stephen King fan, and want to know the intimate details of his life, and how he got started in writing, this is probably a good book. If you want advice on getting published, it's not so good. If you want writing tips, it's not so good.
The first half of the book if an honest (painfully honest) autobiography talking about King's struggle with alchol and drugs, the fights with his family, and their support. It tells about his growing up years, why he became a writer, and his struggles to become a writer in truth. Like I said, fans of King's writing may enjoy this look into the life of one of the world's most popular writers.
The second half of the book is supposedly a "how-to" of the writing life. The nicest thing I can say about it is that it sucks. King fills it with pointless, unnecessary vulgarities, which seem to make up about half the text. one would hope that a book on writing could do better than to use the coarsest and most common language. Much of the language - that which isn't rude - is patronizing. This is sad. Although I am not a fan of King, he has a gift for telling a story. I don't read his books because they give me the heebie-jeebies, and I don't like having nightmares. There is precious little good advice. Any worthwhile advice King gices is ripped off from other writing texts - primary Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. The only good thing about this half of the book is the fact that when he does use someone else's advice, he gives credit.
Save yourself some time. Skip this book, and pick up Strunk and White. You'll get the same advice, at half the price, in succinct, pleasant language, from two respected and intelligent authors.