Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stephen King Moment #1

I was never a Stephen King fan until now. Horror books typically scare the pants off me because my over active imagination conjures up some frightening images. But now, I love Stephen King---well I love his memoir called, "On Writing."

I am not one to deface books, but I am going crazy with this one. I am dog-earring pages, underlining amazing passages and writing in the margins. This book is filled with gold-nuggets for writers.

Over the years I have read many books on writing, but King's book tops the list. He begins by sharing snippets of his life growing up and showing us where his passion for writing emerged. The rest of the book is practical writing advice, woven together with humor, anecdotes and lots of opinion.

This book is a must have for any writers library. Here are a couple of gems on fear and wanting to give up:

..."Stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Something you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes your doing good work when it feels like all your managing is to shovel sh** from a sitting position."

"I'm convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing...Dumbo got airborne with the help of a magic feather; you may feel the urge to grasp a passive verb or one of those nasty adverbs for the same reason. Just remember before you do that Dumbo didn't need the feather, the magic was in him."

Have you read King's memoir? If so what did you think?


Woodswoman said...

I agree completely. I listened to this book in King's own voice, and it anchored my admiration for him as a writer, though I'm completely in agreement with you about his genre. Scary books scare the pants off me! But his dedication, from his grade school years through a lot of tough times, even after his near-fatal car accident, let me know he is a writer worth my great respect. I have the book itself, as well as the CD version, and I think it might be time to listen to it again.

Anonymous said...

Stephen King's book is great. I also recommend Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer. She dedicates each chapter to a topic of great importance to writers--words, sentences, paragraphs. Then, she recommends great literary works that show particular mastery of each topic.

Betsy Ashton said...

I read Stephen King's book the first week it came out - and about twice a year since. As a writer, I find inspiration in his story, as well as useful (mostly!) advice. I remain unconvinced, however, that ALL adverbs need to be banished. I do search for ly{space}, evaluate each entry, and decide if the adverb goes or stays. I had already banished the passive voice.

Good from Stephen King for bringing us back to basics.

Oh, one more thing. I love to read his books in the middle of the nights. In bed. With only the bedside light on.

Bob McDonnell said...

The book is great, and so much more than just a autobiography.

I liked the part where he talks about rejection letters. He startd by putting them on a nail, and had to change it to a big spike.

Looks like he had the last laugh on some editors.

Anonymous said...

Good review! I have seen his book but not picked it up. I will give it a look at the bookstore later today. Like you, I do not like scary stories (except ghost stories!) so I don't read his books or see their movies. My imagination is too fertile, as well...

A Mama's Rant said...

This is an amazing book. Not only is it inspiring but it got me to read the Harry Potter books and understand what was so marvelous about J.K. Rowling. And yes, I read King's books, too - but with all the lights on.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I love this book. I've had it for years and refer to it often.

Amy said...

I love this book, too. I was like you, Kerrie. I'd read a couple Kings, but didn't consider myself a fan. But some of the lessons in his book are so helpful, I find myself using them almost every day. Good to get the word out about this wonderful writing memoir.

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