Book Reviews of On Writing

On Writing
On Writing
Author: Stephen King
ISBN-13: 9780743455961
ISBN-10: 0743455967
Publication Date: 7/1/2002
Pages: 320
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 165 ratings
Publisher: Pocket
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

59 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed On Writing on + 217 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
When I sat down with this book I was expecting a manual on writing. Do this, don't do this kind of thing. But that is so not what this book is.

The beginning of the book tells the story of Stephen King's life. Then he goes into some of the things he thinks every writer needs to know (vocabulary, grammar, and basic concepts for dialogue). As he continues through the writing process he doesn't say "you should do this" he simply states this is what I do.

I was amazed that Stephen King could write a book about writing and make it something I couldn't put down. But I guess that's the beauty of how he writes. I think he makes his writing interesting by making it simple. Sure there were a few words I didn't expressly know, but I used my vocabulary toolbox to figure out their meaning.

This book also gave me a ton of new reading recommendations. Will I make it through them all? Probably not anytime soon, but I'm glad that I made a list of them so that I can keep referring back to them.

I don't know if I'll ever write a book, but after reading this book I think I'm more prepared if I ever decide that I do want to try writing.
reviewed On Writing on
Helpful Score: 6
I used to read Stephen King in high school, and haven't done a lot of it since then - with the rare exception (usually audios at work). After reading this book I am reminded of the kind of friendly relationship he cultivates with his readers, and just how endearing his persona is to his fans. If you have been entertained by this man (and who hasn't), I recommend reading this book to deepen your experience of his work. An excellent description of his life, his work habits, advice and pet peeves about the art of writing - and a chapter on the accident that almost ended his life, and the relationships that have sustained that unique life. I was reminded why I was such a big fan - and I've had that attitude reignited.
reviewed On Writing on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Part memoir, part how-to, this is my favorite book about the nuances and elements of writing.

King's an every-man, he doesn't pretend to be anything fancy and he doesn't consider himself to be the end-all, be-all of writing. He simply explains how (and why) he writes.
reviewed On Writing on + 62 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I loved this because it was so personal from King. The first part is a mini-biography. The rest is a sort of "this is what I've done" and "this is what I recommend". I expected it would be more of a "manual" but I was pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case. A must for King fans and aspiring writers as well.
reviewed On Writing on
Helpful Score: 3
You get Stephen King's backstory, and lots of clues about where certain plots and characters originated. All this in the context of how he learned to write, what he found helpfuf, and the setbacks he encountered. It wasn't a smooth ride, but he and his wife kept going, found the pot of gold, and then had to deal with another of life's blows. All an easy read, no scary King elements.
reviewed On Writing on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
_On Writing_ is part memoir, part King's opinions on what it means to be a writer and how he has learned to be a better one. Entertaining and touching, it's an interesting insight into one writer's life that avoids becoming "how to be a writer" while offering useful suggestions.
reviewed On Writing on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Although i am not a fan of SK's books i found this to be a very surprising ode to his love of writing and therefore very inspirational and helpful for others who wish to be authors.
reviewed On Writing on + 203 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
The best book on writing I've ever read. King gives the reader "permission" to write what they want to write or not to write at all.
reviewed On Writing on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
an excellent book - a must read for any aspiring writer - not one of King's usual thrillers, but a biography of his writing life.
reviewed On Writing on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
If you are a King fan and/or a writer you will love this book. I have this in hardcover as well and keep it as a reference tool. The first half of the book is autobiographical while the second half concerns itself with the nuts and bolts of writing. Great advice from someone who knows his stuff.
reviewed On Writing on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very interesting reading, but only if your wanting to learn to write.
reviewed On Writing on + 89 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A revealing and practical view of the writer's craft. King's advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer.
reviewed On Writing on + 220 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This boook combines autobiography and instruction on the craft of writing. An excellent, insightful book.
reviewed On Writing on + 370 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a great book, it is a duplicate for me. This is about the art of writing and tells some history of Stephen King's career. This is NOT fiction.
reviewed On Writing on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I've been a fn of Stephen King since I was 12. This books was an absolute delight to read! Part memoir, part guide for aspiring writers. Definitely worth reading if you are a fan of King's work, or if you are an aspiring author.
reviewed On Writing on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
very insightful look at the craft of writing from a master! really enjoyed and laughed alot, very informative.
reviewed On Writing on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A good read. Interesting look inside the world of one of America's most prolific writers.
reviewed On Writing on + 186 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a great book! I loved how it is like two books in one. He explains in this part bio/ part writing book what you should have and how you should organize yourself if you want to write. I found the suggestions helpful.

Write On!
reviewed On Writing on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
excellent book on the writing craft
reviewed On Writing on + 51 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
If you are serious about need to read this book.
reviewed On Writing on + 67 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a great books for those passionate about reading/writing. Part autobiography, part instruction manual, it talks about a lifestyle conducive to creating grat written works and a forumla that worked for this particular author. It also discusses how life experiences shape ones writing.
reviewed On Writing on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very unique book, great read for any aspiring reader, or anyone who wants to get inside Stephen King's head!
reviewed On Writing on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
If you are looking for a writing skill building source, what ever your writing goals are, this book has a something to offer and if your a Stephen King fan who has no interest or need in writing... it's a look into the craft of someone you admire as it is a bit autobiographical as well.
If your both, then this is a satisfying meal!
reviewed On Writing on
Helpful Score: 1
Great resource for those who write. I went back through my finished manuscript and changed the things Mr. King suggested, making it a better story.
reviewed On Writing on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A fascinating look at the evolution and redemption of one of the hardest-working storytellers writing today.
reviewed On Writing on + 201 more book reviews
I have never been a Stephen King fan. As part of some class in high school I had to read a short story about a possessed dry cleaning machine (or at least that's what I think it was) and that put me off him forever. It wasn't the writing - I probably couldn't have identified good or bad writing at the time - it was the subject matter. I was not interested in horror then, and still don't care for it now. In fact it generally irritates me.

In hindsight, that judgment - made when I was about 15 - might be too harsh. Maybe that story was simply a poor example of his work, or I woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day. Whatever the case, I am forced to reevaluate King now.

Those who know me well know I have a desire to be a writer. I suffer from some of the usual writer's problems, though, and haven't done enough writing to make me happy as a result. (That said, this blog is an excuse to write, so I am at least making strides in the right direction.)

Recently I decided to chase this dream a bit more aggressively, and this book came up as a recommendation. I'd never heard of it - I'd ignored King for roughly 25 years - but sometimes a search engine can point you in a surprising direction.

In On Writing King gives us several things:

* The experiences in life that made him the writer he is.

* Some tools (his metaphor) you need to write: vocabulary, grammar, etc.

* How to write. The actual day-to-day process of writing and editing, discussed clearly so you know what you're in for.

* An example manuscript before he edited the first draft and what the marked up pages looked like.

* Permission to read and write 4 to 6 (or more) hours a day.

All of this is useful information, at least to me. The craft of serious writing is one of those things whose attraction may not survive my actual attempt to pull it off, but King gives me information, permission, and hope.

Anyone looking to write should consider reading On Writing. And I will reconsider King's work. Anyone want to give me some recommendations for things that aren't horror?
reviewed On Writing on + 5 more book reviews
Part memoir, part how-to for wannabe novelists, King actually delivers some useful tips and gives a great glimpse into the making of his unique mind.
reviewed On Writing on + 144 more book reviews
Great inspiring book for other writers.
reviewed On Writing on + 2 more book reviews
Can't get it away from my 92-year-old mother, who reads it over and over again. Although I am not a fan of the horror genre, I did appreciate the insight into the making of Mr. King.
reviewed On Writing on + 36 more book reviews
"Long live the King," hailed Entertainment Weekly upon the publication of Stephen King's On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authoris of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's cragt, comprising the basic tools of te trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, ..." USA Today
reviewed On Writing on
A pleasant surprise! I've read many how-to books on writing, but King's advice and opinions offer a fresh (and much-needed) perspective on the whole subject. In addition, the biographical section of the book brings realness with a touch of humor and is written in the style of many of his other novels. An excellent read that's hard to put down.
reviewed On Writing on + 96 more book reviews
A rare treat for Stephen King fans. Read by the author.
From Publishers Weekly
"No one ever asks [popular novelists] about the language," Amy Tan once opined to King. Here's the uber-popular novelist's response to that unasked question a three-part book whose parts don't hang together much better than those of the Frankenstein monster, but which, like the monster, exerts a potent fascination and embodies important lessons and truths. The book divides into memoir, writing class, memoir. Many readers will turn immediately to the final part, which deals with King's accident last year and its aftermath. This material is tightly controlled, as good and as true as anything King has written, an astonishing blend of anger, awe and black humor. Of Bryan Smith (who drove the van that crushed King) watching the horribly wounded writer, King writes, "Like his face, his voice is cheery, only mildly interested. He could be watching all this on TV...." King's fight for life, and then for the writing life, rivets attention and inflames admiration as does the love he expresses throughout for his wife, novelist Tabitha. The earlier section of memoir, which covers in episodic fashion the formation of King the Writer, is equally absorbing. Of particular note are a youthful encounter with a babysitter that armchair psychologists will seize upon to explain King's penchant for horror, and King's experiences as a sports reporter for the Lisbon, Maine, Weekly Express, where he learned and here passes on critical advice about writing tight. King's writing class 101, which occupies the chewy center of the book, provides valuable advice to novice scribesDalthough other than King's voice, idiosyncratic and flush with authority, much of what's here can be found in scores of other writing manuals. What's notable is what isn't here: King's express aim is to avoid "bullshit," and he manages to pare what the aspiring writer needs to know from idea to execution to sale to a few simple considerations and rules. For illustration, he draws upon his own work and that of others to show what's good prose and what's not, naming names (good dialogue: Elmore Leonard; bad dialogue: John Katzenbach). He offers some exercises as well. The real importance of this congenial, ramshackle book, however, lies neither in its autobiography nor in its pedagogy, but in its triumphant vindication of the popular writer, including the genre author, as a writer. King refuses to draw, and makes a strong case for the abolition of, the usual critical lines between Carver and Chandler, Greene and Grisham, DeLillo and Dickens. Given the intelligence and common sense of his approach, perhaps his books' many readers will join him in that refusal. 500,000 first printing. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
reviewed On Writing on + 76 more book reviews
A really encouraging King tells his life story and the journey to writing success. Writers want a magic formula for success, Stephen simply advises to write because you love to write. Consistently encouraging, King says go for it and don't compromise. Be authentic and honest, don't filter the truth. As a wanna be writer I found this to be a great resource. It's like having Michael Jordan teaching you how to improve your jumper. If you need someone to encourage you to start your novel, Stephen King is your man!
reviewed On Writing on + 334 more book reviews
Very informative, easily readable - this book merits my praise in many ways. A good insight into a favorite author.
reviewed On Writing on + 30 more book reviews
I don't like Stephen King's writing but I sure liked his writing on writing! I have to admit, he knows what he is talking about.This is a straight forward guide to how to put pen to paper (or computer to printer) and produce the story that you want to write. this book is informative and enjoyable.
reviewed On Writing on + 6062 more book reviews
What I read of it was mostly biography.
reviewed On Writing on
Every Writer must read this book.
reviewed On Writing on + 6 more book reviews
Everything he writes is a page-turner.
reviewed On Writing on + 30 more book reviews
This is one of the finest, 'writers on writing' books I've ever read. He truly gives an inside view of the process, inspiration and work of being a writer. I highly recommend this book.
reviewed On Writing on + 14 more book reviews
Interesting, funny, and all times pure "King", "On Writing" is part biographical tale and part writer's manual. A must for any King lover and/or amateur writer who could use a push from one of the greats.
reviewed On Writing on + 18 more book reviews
I do not like Stephen King's books but I love this book! It is a must read for writers. This book is sincere. If writers choose to ignore his advice on most of these points, they will find out the hard way that he is right!
reviewed On Writing on + 5 more book reviews
Great book for the aspiring writer!
reviewed On Writing on + 9 more book reviews
I went searching for the craft and got mostly memoir, but the second half describes his (surprising) writing process and I learned a lot from it.
reviewed On Writing on
Book was part Biography (interesting). When it came down to the Nuts & Bolts on writing Stephen was real and down to earth. Language is rough and is used alot. F-bombs, GD's,Slag for body parts, etc.
I plan on keeping to review actual writing tips.
reviewed On Writing on + 29 more book reviews
I enjoyed it, part autobiography, part how-to book. It was easy to listen to.
reviewed On Writing on + 60 more book reviews
great insights from a great writer
reviewed On Writing on + 8 more book reviews
A great book on a wonderful and a successful author, Mr. Stephen King.
reviewed On Writing on + 7 more book reviews
A wonderful book that let's you get to know Stephen King and his ability to share what he knows about writing. It is a must read!
reviewed On Writing on + 120 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It had many interesting tips on writing but what I really enjoyed was Stephen King's description of how he came up with the ideas for his books like Carrie. That was really neat.
reviewed On Writing on + 18 more book reviews
Great pointers for anyone wanting to have a career in writing.
reviewed On Writing on + 4 more book reviews
reviewed On Writing on
I love Stephen King and I loved reading this book, lots of interesting history & info.
reviewed On Writing on + 2 more book reviews
I had not even gotten into it when my 92-year-old mother picked it up. She must be on her 3rd time reading it - each time just like reading a new book - and she's enjoying it immensely.
reviewed On Writing on + 27 more book reviews
An encouraging, thoughtful and warm guide for aspiring writers on the craft and the passion behind it.
reviewed On Writing on + 93 more book reviews
Loved it! Stephen King lets us in on how to be a successful writer, with some insights on his own muses.
reviewed On Writing on + 16 more book reviews
I found myself educated, enthralled, and thoroughly entertained by Stephen King's account of his life as a writer. From his early days of impaling his rejection slips on a railroad spike to his recent years as a world famous author, this tale captivates the reader. I enjoyed seeing Mr. King as both a person and a writer. While I am not a fan of his fiction, I can honestly say that because of this book I am a fan of the man himself.
reviewed On Writing on + 57 more book reviews
GREAT for writers & readers, too.
reviewed On Writing on + 18 more book reviews
Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" 10th Anniversary Edition is the kind of book you'll want to buy extra copies of - esp. if you're a writer. I got my first copy in a PBS swap (for a friend), began reading it and couldn't put it down. So, I ordered her a brand new copy along w/a journal.

It's filled with neat details about King's life, insights on writing which I can attest to (I've been a freelance writer/editor since 2006 and have been a former newpaper editor/journalist) -&- it's the kind of book that finds you laughing out loud in bed and then wondering if anyone else might've heard you cackling.

It's a conversational memoir that's full of humorous tidbits and yet manages to share vital information with the would-be writer in all of us. If I had unlimited income and didn't think they'd wonder if I was off my rocker, I'd buy boxes full and hand them out to everyone I meet. It's that good. In my opinion, anyway.

This particular edition is also nice-looking, feels good in the hand and is bound in a soft but easy to keep clean treated paper cover that to me feels buttery and suede-like. Call my crazy. I don't care. I'm crazy for "On Writing" by Stephen King. And I'm not necessarily a fan of the horror genre.

This book is also a good entre to anyone (like me) who hasn't really read a lot of King's other stuff. I'm dying to find out what the results of his efforts were.
reviewed On Writing on + 8 more book reviews
Good book.
I am a smoker and I also have a cat in the house.