Title: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Author: Stephen King
Webpage: Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Website: Hodder Paperbacks
Genre: Non-fiction Autobiography
Print Length: 384 pages
Synopsis: Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time; a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer should have. King's advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his near-fatal accident in 1999 - and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.
“Really?” muttered the little man, disbelievingly.
There you go I have broken two of Stephen King's golden rules. There is s certain arrogance in some of King’s advice on writing (there is some humility as well), but then he is a giant among authors and maybe he has the right to be arrogant. Fortunately, we live in the time of the internet, that great democratising tool of our modern society and even the little man can express his view to the global public. Never, according to King, use anything other than “said” when writing dialogue. “Really?” said the little man. Lee Child is an example of an author who follows this rule. And while I love Lee Child’s books (read my reviews HERE) once one had read “he said” or “she said” for the umpteenth time in a conversation it does start getting tedious. It reminds me of the time, when I was still at school, when the teacher, fed up with everyone describing everything as “nice”, decided on an exercise to teach us that English is a language with a huge vocabulary that can allow great subtly. She wrote ten sentences on the black board (that’s how long ago it was), each contained the word “nice”. The challenge was to replace the word “nice” with something more imaginative, more creative and more appropriate. And so, I believe, it should be with the word “said”. I do not understand King’s assertion that one should not use adverbs, adjectives and words other than “said” in story-telling. What is the point of having a language with such a rich vocabulary and not take advantage of it? But this is not to decry King’s book, as it is very good and his strict assertions are thought provoking (maybe that's why he did it) . It does contain many useful tips for writers and the autobiographical angle makes it a particularly interesting read.
What others thought at the time of writing
Amazon.co.uk; 565 reviews, of which 98% were 3* or more, giving an average of 4.7*
Amazon.com; 3,144 reviews, of which 98% were 3* or more, giving an average of 4.7*
Goodreads.com; 165,954 ratings (12,990 reviews), with ?% of 3* or more, giving an average of 4.3*
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