On Writing is a curious mix of King's memoirs and some of his thoughts on what helps to make a successful writer. It was an odd book for me to pick up, since I have not read a single Stephen King book (a fact of which I'm obscurely proud!) However, I am rather in awe of the fact that he consistently churns out best-selling doorstop novels, and I figured he would have interesting things to say about how to write.
I was not wrong at all - he wrote very easily about the dos and, more crucially, the don'ts of writing, and I was fascinated by some of his methods. The idea that he often proceeds into massive novels with no more than a 'what if?' scenario is, frankly, amazing.
The problem was that I ended up far more interested in the memoir aspect of this little book. The snippets of his life - covering humorous escapades with his brother; his fight against alcoholism; and the course his published career took. I would have liked to read far more of this.
In fact, I concur with a number of the other reviewers - this book didn't know whether it was an autobiography or a 'how-to' manual on writing, and suffered as a result. I do think that either could have stood up to being a lengthier book in its own right.
Overall, a neat little look at the craft of a writer, but King does not say anything new and certainly doesn't say anything more enlightening than you can find for free on any decent author's website these days.
Relics by Tim Lebbon
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