On Writing by Stephen King, a book summary :The back story
While writing ,the most important thing I try to remember is to make it readable (Yoast helps ).
Even the best information, finds no takers if it’s boring .If it has no story to tell ,it will find few takers.
When I started Blogging all the best bloggers suggested, you need to tell a story .
I really didn’t get it maybe because writing about reflux and depression was difficult for me as a story.
On Writing(*affiliate link).. a memoir of the craft ” was just ,the book I needed to read.
King makes grammar lessons interesting.I finished reading this book (the main 327 pages ) in four hours.Don’t forget it’s nonfiction .
The book was described by the Guardian as “part biography part collection of tips for the aspiring writers.”Its one of the books you must read, if you want to write well.
In the authors words:
“To learn about writing,learn from people who write.”
Stephen King is one of the bestselling writer of horror fiction books.
When I thought about learning how to tell a story even in nonfiction ,the best way to learn was from the master of fiction.
I approached the book with a lot of worry.A book on writing ?
What am I thinking?
But the author has you hooked from the forward itself.He talks about his passion for” the art and craft of telling stories on paper”.
To sum up the book :
There are no shortcuts.The only way to write well,fiction or nonfiction is
“to read a lot and write a lot”.
Now to give you the nitty gritty of the book.
The book is divided into 4 sections:
- On Writing
- On Living a postscript
The CV: glimpse behind the molding of the writer
The story of how Stephen King became Stephen King.Reading it, you will realize why hardships are important.
For you to reach your full potential ,your experiences are important. The good, bad and the ugly.
The author had a less than perfect childhood.But what he experienced, gave him the skills and the perfect mindset ,to spin tales out of thin air.
In the CV he says” my attempt to show how one writer was formed”.
He believes writing comes from within.You are born with the necessary “equipment “.
Not necessarily best seller material but certain raw material needs to be there as storyteller.
With learning ,practice these skills can be strengthened and sharpened.
That’s why you need to read.If you read the masters, you learn.When you read books which are not that good,even then you learn.
Books are the best teachers.
As The King puts it aptly,
“If you don’t read other people’s work,don’t expect them to read yours.”
You realize that most of the human weakness and doubts are universal.
That’s the wonderful thing about reading about famous people.
He says that good writing need not just be about heavy important topics.
It can be simultaneously, intoxicating and idea driven.
As a blogger you are a writer .Have you not felt the biggest adrenaline rush when someone praises your way of storytelling.
Just like the Aesop’s fables the best lessons are learned when they are sugar wrapped.
Just because the topic about which you write is serious it need not be boring.
Serious need not be boring
Why I loved this part?
The author is a serious book addict .That makes us book soul _siblings (separated by time,space and reality).
He carries a book everywhere (just like me).King reads while walking on the treadmill!
That coincidence is uncanny(that’s a fan speaking!)
In the last part of the CV he talks of performing a mentalist routine over time and distance.
Reading the CV you will realize why writing,fiction or nonfiction is visual.If you can make your readers picture it in their mind.You have done your part as a writer.
In the Toolbox
The author,talks about the grammar,length of sentence and the most importantly.
“Why you should avoid the passive tense.”
Favourite quote from this part:
” We are talking about tools and carpentry ,about words and styles…but as we move along ,you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic”.
That’s example of intoxicating nonfiction.Making you imagine you can weave magic out of words.
Before you write don’t forget to read .That’s a deep lesson.”Reading is the creative centre of a writer’s life”.
I think that’s why I love blogs too.You can read so many different types and learn so much.
He advises four to six hours writing every day together with reading a lot.
“READ A LOT ,WRITE A LOT “
That is the great commandment in this section.
He very wisely tells you to write about what you know and mix it up with your experiences of life.That’s a pretty potent formula.
On Living : A Postscript
The last part is about his resurrection after a life altering event.
My favourite quote in this section:
“Writing is magic,as much the water of life as any other creative art.The water is free.So drink”.
If you are writing in any way,i f you want to write…don’t stop.
If there’s one book on writing which you must read , it is this one.I thought I would get a grammar handbook.What I got was a life handbook.
Writing is cleansing.Writing is cathartic.
Writing is happiness.Writing is Immortality.
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Have you read this book?
Comment below to let me know.