Sunday, May 15, 2005
On Writing by Stephen King
More copies in print than the bible. Where else to start? Even JK Rowling can’t compare with King for sheer sustained commercial success. And I enjoy his stories a great deal. In fact, I’m not sure there is a living author I admire more, at least in some ways. The man knows how to spin a yarn, never takes himself any more seriously than does grandpa, sitting ‘round the campfire telling ghost stories.
So what does Mr. King have to say about writing fiction? Quite a bit. While this book (his second on the craft) also concerns itself with a winding autobiography, it’s filled with solid advice on mechanics, characters, plot, dialog, and many other toys in the writer’s toolchest.
King’s style here is his usual, just plain folksy prose. It’s fun and fast to read, as any reader’s of his regular author’s notes will attest.
The first thing Mr. King recommended (demanded really) was that the reader buy and read a copy of Strunk & White’s style guide. So I did.