On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: Twentieth Anniversary Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King

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9781444723250: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: Twentieth Anniversary Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King
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There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as 'the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature', Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must 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 widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 - and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

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Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King's On Writing really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists. The memoir is terrific stuff, a vivid description of how a writer grew out of a misbehaving kid. You're right there with the young author as he's tormented by poison ivy, gas-passing babysitters, uptight schoolmarms and a laundry job nastier than Jack London's. It's a ripping yarn that casts a sharp light on his fiction. This was a child who dug Yvette Vickers from Attack of the Giant Leeches, not Sandra Dee. "I wanted monsters that ate whole cities, radioactive corpses that came out of the ocean and ate surfers and girls in black bras who looked like trailer trash." But massive reading on all literary levels was a craving just as crucial, and soon King was the published author of "I Was a Teen-Age Graverobber". As a young adult raising a family in a trailer, King started a story inspired by his stint as a caretaker cleaning a high-school girls' locker room. He crumpled it up, but his writer wife retrieved it from the trash, and using her advice about the girl milieu and his own memories of two reviled teenage classmates who died young, he came up with Carrie. King gives us lots of revelations about his life and work. The kidnapper character in Misery, the mind-possessing monsters in The Tommyknockers, and the haunting of the blocked writer in The Shining symbolised his cocaine and booze addiction (overcome thanks to his wife's intervention, which he describes). "There's one novel, Cujo, that I barely remember writing."

King also evokes his college days and his recovery from the van crash that nearly killed him, but the focus is always on what it all means to the craft. He gives you a whole writer's "tool kit": a reading list, writing assignments, a corrected story and nuts-and-bolts advice on dollars and cents, plot and character, the basic building block of the paragraph, and literary models. He shows what you can learn from HP Lovecraft's arcane vocabulary, Hemingway's leanness, Grisham's authenticity, Richard Dooling's artful obscenity, Jonathan Kellerman's sentence fragments. He explains why Kellerman's Hart's War is a great story marred by a tin ear for dialogue, and how Elmore Leonard's Be Cool could be the antidote. King isn't just a writer, he's a true teacher. --Tim Appelo

Review:

Absolutely fascinating . . . basic instructions . . . sensible advice (The Sunday Times)

The childhood memoir is a triumphant display of wit, story-telling and guts. His advice to writers is hard-nosed, practical and level-headed in the classic journalistic Orwell-Hemingway tradition (Evening Standard)

This is the written equivalent of Delia Smith's How To Cook. And, like British home cooking, the world of popular fiction will be better off for it (The Times)

Stephen King is a genius . . . In this book he tells us what first made him a horror writer . . . I find King fascinating because he writes in the least florid way possible, yet his very direct approach to getting his awesome imagination onto a blank page works. (Jeremy Vine in We Love This Book)

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9781439156810: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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ISBN 10: 1439156816 ISBN 13: 9781439156810
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9781439193631: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Scribner Classics)

Scribn..., 2010
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9780671024253: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Simon ..., 2001
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9780684853529: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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9780743204361: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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