This past week I spent reading a book I was told was a must read for writers. On Writing by Stephen King. I’ve never read any of his novels, but I trusted that I was being given good advice.  I’m not going to “review” this book because…well…it’s Stephen Fucking King. I can’t imagine that I have anything to say about him that hasn’t already been said a million times in a thousand different ways…and it’s doubtful he needs any help in the publicity arena.

There are a lot of books out there that have been written for the purpose of helping new writers. And I’ve read several of the key ones either for school or on the advice of an author.  This book didn’t really say anything any of those other one’s didn’t already say.

  • Don’t use adverbs when at all possible.
  • Have a creative nook in which you write your masterpiece
  • Prepare to fail and get up again
  • Character, theme, etc

If you’ve never read a book on writing before, this is a great one to start with. If you’ve read several already, still read this book- but keep the expectations low that you will find something that you haven’t already found before. Although, you might.

I will say this; it’s a very entertaining book to read. The first half of the book is more memoir than writing advice, which I found fun. He’s had some interesting events in his life- or his writing makes them interesting. Either way, good reads.

The second half of the book deals mostly with the craft itself.  Some of the advice was a reminder of previously read/heard and some of it contradicted advice I’ve heard before.  I think what I liked about this part of the book, even though the topics were the same, his voice is very different than others I’ve read.  It was interesting the whole way through.

I suppose what I learned most from this book- or reminded about is that

  1. It’s okay to not write flowery prose. If you’ve read my writings you know I’m pretty bare bones when it comes to description. 
  2. It’s okay not to have an outline before you start writing. 
Every time I try to use an outline my characters get angry with me. I’m no more in control of them than I am of the rabbits that keep eating my strawberry patch.   I have a general idea of what’s going to happen but even that idea sometimes gets vetoed by the players. 
Okay, so I guess I did review this book a bit.  I enjoyed reading it, and it was definitely worth my time and will be worth yours as well.  I have the craving to read one of his novels now, but my husband has forbidden IT.  Clowns and me…we don’t mesh well.