Imagine, a book on writing by the ?Master of the Macabre.? That?s right ? and a must read for any aspiring writer learning the craft. Stephen King has fashioned a fascinating book that is equal parts memoir of a struggling writer and writer?s manual. The first part of the book gives the reader a personal glimpse into Mr. King?s development as a writer. It is sprinkled with amusing anecdotes from his formative years and gives insight into his unique perspective on life.
Mr. King takes us on an intimate tour of his writing process and we are given a rare opportunity to view the idiosyncrasies and writing habits of one of the most popular writer?s of our time. He describes with painful honesty his struggles with substance abuse, its impact on his writing and his ultimate triumph over its stranglehold.
Avid readers of Stephen King will find the book to be a treasure chest of behind the scenes information on many of his most famous stories. He vividly re-creates his efforts to have his first novel, ?Carrie? published. He recalls the writer?s block that he experienced three quarters of the way through ?The Stand? and how he resolved the problem. He explains the inspiration for some of his stories, including ?Carrie?.
The second part of the book offers invaluable advice on many aspects of writing, with Mr. King often referring to his own works as examples. He describes his own creative process and the method by which he comes up with most of his ideas. He discusses such topics as: grammar, the judicious use of descriptiveness, active vs. passive writing and dialogue. He has a simple credo on writing, which he frequently reiterates for emphasis.
As all beginning writers have discovered, writing the story is only part of the challenge; the quest to get one?s work published often proves more daunting. Mr. King?s own experiences attest to this and he offers this as inspiration that perseverance is the key to success. Through the experiences of another struggling writer, the book provides us with important guidelines for submitting one?s work to perspective publishers.
The book also discusses the process of editing and re-writing the first draft of a story. Once again, Mr. King describes in detail his own routine and preferences, imparting suggestions and insights that have been of value to him, over the years.
The tutorial over, the reader is unexpectedly transported back to 1999, to a rural highway in Maine, where Mr. King is about to come face to face with a real life incarnation of the nightmares with which he has terrorized readers for so many years. Drawing on his patented ability to thrill readers, he had me riveted, as he depicted the near-fatal accident he suffered while walking along that country road.
We follow along, as Mr. King, left almost permanently crippled, begins his long, arduous road to recovery, enduring many months of excruciating physical therapy. By now, the reader has discovered that Mr. King is as adept at tugging at our heartstrings, as on stopping our hearts.
?On Writing? is an admirable accomplishment from an underrated writer. It is an often compelling narrative of the experiences of a complex and fascinating writer, as well as a concise writing guide that provides the reader with a wealth of advice and knowledge.