Book Review: On Writing

This is first in WBD history – the premier non-fiction book review. When I got serious about my writing this year (a resolution you can read about here) I devoured online content about writing. We live in an amazing time. What writing-on-their-lunch-break rags-to-riches writing story 20 years ago could have a virtual college writing course at their fingertips? While unraveling the mysteries of the craft, not only did I learn that I have some bad habits to break (complex dialogue tags much?) and some new directions to think about, I also stumbled across a revelation. It was a jewel that I am sure many of you, readers, have unearthed, but which was news to me. The literal king of horror wrote a how-to/autobiography. 

This I had to read. 

I review what I read and I read a variety of genres. As always, if you have a book you are interested in seeing reviewed in this space, feel free to contact me.

The Basics:

Title: On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Non-fiction, autobiography, educational
Publisher: Pocket Books, 2000

Spoiler-Free Summary:

Y’all know who Stephen King is. Carrie. Salem’s Lot. The Dark Tower saga. The Stand. The list of smash-hits goes on. The first half of On Writing is a roughly chronological time-skipping autobiography that hits the highlights of King’s life experiences that made him who he is as a writer. At times, it was anything but a charmed life. 

The back half of the text is a brief writing seminar which is 60% how-to and 40% encouragement. He keeps the number of topics brief and explains them in an engaging, conversational tone.

Why this book might be for you:

If you are a writer, you should read this book. The instruction is simple, accessible, and memorable. The inspiration is ready. The life story is engaging. If you are not a writer, but are a fan of King’s work or of inspirational autobiographies, this may still be your cup of tea.

Why this book might not be for you:

If you are not the type to wonder how the sausage is made, then you should skip the whole affair. If you need a more focused, linear structure to your autobiographies, this is not the book for you.

Where can you find more?

I’m sure it would be impossible to miss Stephen King on the internet. In addition to his own site, The guy’s on IMDB, has a best of profile in the New York Times, and a Goodreads profile.

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