What: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King is divided into two parts. The first is an autobiographical look at his writing over the years. It is unflinching and honest and well worth the read. The second is stuff about writing. It is also unflinching and honest and well worth the read.
Who: If you are a writer who buys writing books, it maybe impossible for you not to know about this book already. If you’re a writer who doesn’t read books about writing — this one’s worth picking up.
Why: Read this to become a better writer, or just to understand the craft better. King uses the metaphor of the writer’s toolbox, which is a very useful one.
I want to suggest that to write to your best abilities, it behooves you to construct your own toolbox and then build up enough muscle so you can carry it with you. Then, instead of looking at a hard job and getting discouraged, you will perhaps seize the correct tool and get immediately to work.
What goes in your toolbox? Vocabulary and punctuation. Point of view. Literary Devices. Foreshadowing. You get the picture.
When: Read this when you’re feeling a bit starved for the muse and want to be reminded that writing is a matter of work, not divine inspiration.
Where and how: Read it with pen in hand, ready to underline and make notes that apply to your own writing. Read it with King’s books close by, so you can reach for them and see his principles played out in their pages.
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