16.2.05

Stephen King: On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft

A combination of biography and writing manual. Stephen King started to write this book in 1997, but after 18 months of work he put it on hold. Then in the summer of 1999 he was hit by a car and suffered serious injuries to his legs, ribs and spine. He underwent several operations and when he finally got out of the hospital, he resumed writing as soon as he could sit up.

The book begins with King giving vivid descriptions of his early efforts to copy comics and movies, making writing sound like an easy, fun game. He soon moved on to create his own stories and tried to get them published in magazines. Rejection followed rejection but he kept writing and sending his stories out. Finally he got one published, and then another one, and another... You probably know how the story continues.

In the writing manual section, King gives rather simple advice to budding writers. Some of it is a bit obvious but most of it is (or at least appears to be) quite useful. Even in the more "technical" sections he manages to make writing sound like something magical and wonderful. He makes you want to write.

The book ends with a detailed description of King's accident. It's a pretty gruesome story and while it does make you think, it felt a little superfluous to me.