Review – On writing by Stephen King

On writing a memoir of the craft by Stephen King will be a classic.  Admittedly this is the first book by King that I have ever actually read but like the rest of the world I have been terrified by his ideas from the many movie adaptations of his work.


“To write is human, to edit is divine.”

The book is written in four parts, the CV which is the memoir describing his early life, initial hard worn success and the problems of addiction that followed.  He can tell it much better than I can but the overall feeling is that he is a good guy and his loves his wife very much, and with good reason.

The next two sections tackle the process of writing. It is not a writing manual, more a series of hints, tips, suggestions and an insight into his writing process.     

“ I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs”


“Writing is seduction.  Good talk is part of seduction. If not so, why do so many couples who start the evening at dinner wind up in bed?”

When he writes he has an outline of the potential conclusion, but as he writes, the story emerges and often evolves into a very different creature than originally envisaged.  No wonder he enjoys it so much.  

“Plot is, I think  the good writer’s last resort”

Then it all changes, he gets hit by a van and helicoptered between hospitals in order to save his life. His recovery takes months with several operations and  painful physiotherapy before he is able to return to his life and continue the work writing again.

Stephen King may not  be the most literary writer in the world, but he is an extremely successful one. His love of story and the language is obvious.   I feel that actually writing about the mechanics of writing fiction has been an effort in introspection and he has done a the world and all the prospective writers in it a service in sharing what he has learned.

Published by: Holder in paperback in 2012 (copyright 2000)

Pages: 354

Genres: Memoir,  non-fiction,  writing


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