On Writing by Stephen King

I bought On Writing as a Christmas present to myself – it is so regularly recommended for creative writers, I decided to pay attention and get myself a copy.

I have actually never read any of Stephen King’s work, though I’m naturally familiar with his huge body of bestsellers and the many film adaptations. When I first heard of him, I was too young for his material and I was shy of reading horror. Now, well, where do you start from his incredible back catalogue? (Suggestions very welcome!)

On Writing is part memoir, part writing guide. King looks back to where his writing all began and shares tips along the way for becoming a better writer. My copy is filled with highlighted passages and notes, and I regularly laughed out loud at his wit.

King is unbelievably determined, feeding his wild imagination with plots that resonate with human experience. For him, it is all about the story, the rest will follow and fall into place. He consistently has his nose to the grindstone – a first draft? Three months tops if you write every day – and he does write, every day. He also reads, anywhere between 65-80 books a year (there’s an aspiration for me right there!)

If you or someone you know loves creative writing, this is a perfect gift – as I have proven, you don’t need to be a reader of his material to come away with some brilliant insights and advice for writing. I even moved my writing desk to the corner, after reading this book.

Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.

Stephen King, On Writing