Wednesday 6 January 2010

On Writing - Stephen King

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.

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