Author: Stephen King
# of pages: 291
Date published: 2000
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Stephen King is arguably one of the most successful and popular writers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, best known for his horror/science-fiction/fantasy novels and short stories. But people often forget that in order to land his books on the bestseller list, he knows quite a lot about writing itself. In his book On Writing, King remarks that at talks and signings, although people ask about the stories and the characters and his success, they rarely ask about the language, the writing, the craft.
On Writing is part memoir, part instruction, and part book list, all coming together to create a solid, entertaining, and ultimately very useful book about writing. King opens with a brief story of his life, from childhood to adulthood, and everything that made him the writer he is today. He makes sure to detail his struggles, which encourages us that even the most successful writers received rejection once, or more accurately, multiple times. The storytelling is engaging and funny, then seamlessly transitions into the instructional section. King breaks down different aspects of writing, focusing on writing fiction, his forte (although based on this book, one could argue that his non-fiction skills are just as impressive). King also discusses dialogue, description, back story, symbolism, and countless other writing techniques, in sections full of advice, humor, and encouragement.
Every aspiring writer, as well as those simply hoping to improve their grades in a creative writing class, should read On Writing. In addition to being helpful and inspiring, the book is, like so much of King’s fiction, well written, funny, and most importantly, a good story.
Review by Caitlin Mason, A&S '16