It’s been a few months since I read On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, but I wanted to make sure and get a review written for it because I thought the book was fantastic, and if there is anyone out there unaware of how helpful it can be to aspiring writers, then they need to know that it exists. I first got a copy of the book because I wanted to read it before giving NaNoWriMo a try, unfortunately I didn’t manage to get to it before then.
Ultimately my endeavors with NaNoWriMo were a pretty decent-sized failure, but after that was all said and done I did finally read this book and it gave me a little bit of a pick-me-up and encouraged me in my writing attempts for the future.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is split into two parts. The first part is a short autobiography about Stephen King’s life and how he first started to write when he was a young boy. It covers the silly stories he wrote when he was small, the newspaper he helped his older brother with, and then it moves on to his first successfully submitted short stories, novels, and then the beginnings of his career. I found the tales of his early career and his childhood to be fascinating beyond belief. There are so many little things about his early life that have influenced his writing in little ways, even the very small sampling of his books that I’ve had the chance to read so far.
The second part of the book is a series of chapters each dedicated to a different mechanic of writing short stories or novels. King talks about how to plot well, how to cut the extra fat out of your prose, how to make characters feel real, and a whole lot of other things. He gives straightforward, easy to understand advice that I feel anyone who wants to be a writer can find useful. Some of the things he mentions as good ideas I don’t agree with 100% due to personal style and preference, but despite that I can’t really argue with what he had to say, it was all good advice.
One of these days I’ll find the time to do some writing for real instead of not being able to dedicate much time to it and I’m sure when that happens I’ll be using the tips and tricks I got from this book to help me out. If you are someone who does any kind of creative writing of your own, do yourself a favor and read this book. You may only learn one small thing, but you may learn an entire mountain of things that will help you.