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Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen King

Rating: 4 out of 5

ISBN (edition I've read): 9781439156710


This is first of my Stephen King's read. Heard a lot of praise about him. And, every single one of them turned out to be true. Stephen King. That rings a few bells. Even though I didn't read any of his books, I have seen few movies, based on his novels - Green Mile and Stand By Me, for example. Both the movies were awesome.

I am not particularly a fan of non-fiction. In fact, I hate non-fictions. Come on, fictions are more exciting and interesting than non-fiction. But I am proved wrong. This is one of those books that proved me wrong. The story doesn't matter. The narration matters, I started to believe.

This edition (I am not sure of other editions) starts with three forewords!!

The first part of the book is a memoir (autobiography) of the author. Though, the author calls it a 'cirruculam vitae', rather than a biography. His childhood was a occasional glimpses through the mist of the memory. When he tries to recall his childhood, all he recalls is a fandful of memories - just like me!

I don't reckon reading a funnier account of autobipgraphy. It also dates back when King, first, sent a draft to the publisher; when his first book was published; a bit about his mother; funnier - actually, narrated funnily - account of experiences he shared with his brother, David.

Then followed a short reviews of list of movies the author has seen and liked. Actually it was to present how the author came to love science fictions. Then followed his career as editor of his school's newspaper, his life as a sports column journalist, then his first story which was sold for two-hundred dollars and so on. This phase of the book was bit boring. The comparisons and movies, he named, were never heard by me. During that part, I felt very out of place. But then, little did it affect my interest.

The following is about how he came to publish first novel and how much he was paid. How connected he was to the characters? All the emotions he felt for the lead character of his first novel. Bit more about his other novels and more emotions he felt about them and his, so called, 'curriculum vitae' ends around 100th page...

Now, after reading the book, I know the reason King has added his biography. He wanted to motivate the reader. At least, I am motivated. After reading his biography, I penned down two of my stories. Hopefully, will complete one soon...

The next part is about writing, he says, and it won't be very long, he assures.

The real lessons on writing is amazing. No guide, I guess, could be more detail about what-to-do and what-not-to-do. S. King doesn't hesitate using some authors as examples who is bad at few things like dialogue writing. He praises other authors for their authenticity.

Authors want a writer to be honest. One of his examples says that 'if the character is to use the word 'shit' then use it.' Never change it to something polite just for the sake of critics. He wants the reader to be honest about the made-up story, in other words.

Then, he goes to explain his experiences how he made up his characters. He comments on some of his novels. He discloses how he came upon the idea of many of his novels. From this part, the book seemed more like a non-fiction. In other words, boring. I tried hard to concentrate but the words don't have the attractiveness, anymore.

If I was granted to give a small piece of advise, it would be: Man, why don't you small things? You are dragging a boring tale...

And then it got interesting. Don't take me wrong, readers. But I am writing this review while simultaneously reading the book. When I last informed that the book got boring. It was boring. Boring for that part of it. Then, after two chapters or three, it got back on track, again. The author started to discuss various other important aspects like literary agents, how to find a publisher and all.

I am now reading the last phase of the book, On Living...

I have never read any books on writing before. So I can't very judgemental about this book. All I could say is, this is book is a good one. If you are really serious about writing, this book is a perfect one.

Deserves a five star if there is no boring part in the middle...

Off note:
This book is a winner of:

  1. Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction (2000)
  2. Locus Award for Best Non-Fiction (2001)
  3. Puddly Award for Writing (2001)

I'd recommend only to those who are damn serious about writing. For others, it'd be like any other boring, non-fiction...

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