Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Review On Writing by Stephen King

One line review:
If you read, write or breathe, go read this book.
Why did I read this book:
So Nathan Bradford asked his readers what the best book about writing was, in their opinion. I said Bird by Bird, but most people were saying On Writing. So I figured I'd go check it out.
I'm going to Boston in a few days and I was in a weird void time, not enough time to start revising No System At All, so I opted on doing a book binge, where I spend any free time I have reading.
I wanted to get my head in the right place for No System At All, I wanted to brush up on the basics. So I while I was in the library finishing Penny and Hank, I checked out On Writing.

The book:
The first 100 pages is Stephen Kings writer's history. A narration of his life and how he became a writer. Interesting and funny read, almost every page I thought, damn that was clever.
After he told about his writer's journey, he spends the next 200 pages giving away little gems about writing.
To recap the best:
No adverbs- your reader is smarter then you think they are. Adverbs=lazy writing
use Said, not said quickly, or mocked or coughed or whatever. Said is the right word to use.
Read a lot, write a lot and the only way to get good at description is to read.

By page 125 I knew I needed to own it. I got a copy at Borders and started to dog ear the pages and high light the crap out of it.

The last 50 pages is about when he was hit by the car and revising. I was reading it for writing tips, so I skipped it. I know, bad reader bad.

Rating: 10 out of 10.


  1. I've had this book for years and I still haven't read it. It's on my list of craft books to read this summer.

  2. I started to read this in a bookstore and felt hit over the head with Stephen King... Maybe I should revisit it!

  3. I thought about getting this book too after everyone recommended it on NB's blog. Thing is, I don't exactly, um, care about Stephen King's life. I just want the tips. So, is it worth buying it just for that section in your opinion?

  4. Holly, yes it's worth it for the tips. Get the paper back edition for $7.99.

    What is cool about the stuff about Stephen King is he goes back and explains what he was thinking about when he was writing certain books. I'll admit, I don't read a lot of Stephen King. Mostly I've read a few of his story stories. But his advice was sound and made me excited to write agian.

  5. I bought it a week ago because I've been reading so many great reviews. It's on my ever growing list :)

  6. This is most definitely an amazing book!

  7. I read this book so long ago. I think I need to re-read it. :)

  8. I put this on my list thanks to your recommendation. It sounds great.

    Also wanted to say THANKS a MILLION for the mom award. I LOVE IT! My online circle is so small, I don't know any other moms who write than the ones you listed (for shame!). I will save it and pass it on when my circle grows!!!