Saturday, 22 August 2009

On Writing by Stephen King

Have you ever thought of doing some writing of your own? If so, this book is for you!

I have a lot of students in my classes who are actively writing stories in their free time. In fact, I've been telling people for years that this is the perfect place for a young writer to break out.

Part of the reason I say that is because we have so little access to distractions here that a young writer should be able to find the time to sit down and focus on their work. The other thing is that there is so much food for writers here.

I've just finished reading Stephen King's On Writing from cover to cover. It is fun to read and would certainly catch the interest of anybody who has ever thought of becoming a writer.

The first half of the book is autobiographical. King tells us interesting stories about what happened to him as he was growing up. This allows us to understand him as a writer and how he became who he is today. I love that he gets to the point. He isn't overly self-indulgent even when he writes about his own life.

The second half of the book gives us practical information on how to improve our writing. He really stresses the importance of doing two things if you want to be a writer: read a lot and write a lot. Sound advice really. He also gives us some insider information on the life of a writer when he reveals the fact that he aims for ten pages a day and that he usually writes in the morning. He speaks of shutting the door and not letting anybody see the work until it has gone through a couple of drafts. He even suggests that you let your work sit for a long time before you go back and edit it.

His advice gives us a rare opportunity to see into the life of a writer. His tone is encouraging and at the same time it is direct, almost in-your-face. I like that. King is honest and open. He encourages that in writers.

I highly recommend this book for all my student writers. I suggest, at the very least, that you read the chapters titled "Toolbox" and "On Writing".

I like this book so much that I'm going to buy a copy of it myself. I'm going to read it again, only this time I will have a pencil in my hand and a notepad nearby.

5/5 Stars

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