For my birthday this year, I got two copies of Stephen King’s “Memoir of the Craft”, On Writing. I didn’t keep them both, but I did keep one. The other, I exchanged for a newly released book of Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories. So it goes.
I asked for On Writing initially because so many writers and friends have read it and learned a great deal. I didn’t ask for it because I am an avid Stephen King reader. In fact, here’s the sad admission, aside from On Writing, I’ve never read a book by Stephen King. Oh, I’ve seen some of the movies based on his works (I especially enjoyed “The Green Mile”, mostly because I’m a big Tom Hanks fan), but that doesn’t really count. That said, I had no basis for whether or not I would enjoy Mr. King’s approach to writing. No expectations.
You’ll be glad to know that I’m enjoying the book thoroughly. King’s mix of story, advice, and experiences with the craft come across as genuine. These are the tips picked up on the way to becoming a millionaire author, not the high-minded notions of a millionaire who happens to write. I appreciate his candor and would recommend this book for anyone who wishes to understand the world of writing a bit better, including those who are affected by the written word while not being writers themselves.
I’ll include a warning here about King’s salty language. He has a tendency not to mince words or play to the church crowd, thus his language may be too crass for the gentle-hearted among you. But as King himself says:
You must tell the truth if your dialogue is to have the resonance and realism that Hart’s War, good story though it is, so sadly lacks–and that holds true all the way down to what folks say when they hit their thumb with the hammer.
King is himself, and his advice is good. On Writing is quite a resource.
And here is the man himself, talking about short stories (a subject near to my heart).