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Showing 1-10 of 106 reviews(3 star). See all 3,106 reviews
on November 25, 2017
A long story about Mr. King. I thought perhaps he would share rather quickly key points on his writing. But it is really a memoir. I had to get this for a writing class. Don’t think I would recommend it unless you love Mr. King.
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on March 14, 2016
I was expecting more from this book after my fiction writing professor recommended it to me. The memoir is very interesting but the writing tips were about the same thing I learned in my courses. Was disappointed by it.
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on July 26, 2012
I finished this rapidly and enjoyed his background CV section. Then we got into tips and advice. Avoid the passive, leave out unecessary words, don't plot-let the story flow. Read as much as possible and be assured you will always remain in the division of writer you start in, or at best move up one peg. Steve advises he reads 80 books a year, I might read 300; but that is not taking me any closer to writing an Irwin Shaw (ala Nightwork). If I don't plot, I have no idea where the hell I am going and end up getting screwed up. Steve does not have this problem, because he is in another class, but he fails to advise you how to really reach a flowing Nirvana of such unconsidered prose.

I like Stephen King both as an entertaining writer and for the open gentleman he appears to be. Don't get me wrong, there are useful tips here; but tips for professionals, not for hopeful scribblers. He spends a lot of time talking like a guy who can do it (which he can); though not much here will help us who are struggling in the surf much.
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on June 4, 2015
Well, nobody can dispute that King is the very top of fiction writers. We all admire him.
I'd love to publish a novel. This tells his tale of how he got started, his big break, and his
basic methodology. I'll read it again. Maybe something will help me..please. One point he
makes that struck home: its hard work and it require focus and perseverance in addition to brains.
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on February 17, 2014
I have never been a fan of Stephen Kings work or at least I never knew I was one. But I came to find I know him from 'The Green Mile', one of my favorite movies. Horror has never been my cup of tea. I'm a 'behind the scenes kind of gal' and this gave me what I wanted. I loved the memoir part of the book and found his 'craft' part equally interesting. I read it from kindle cover to cover, a feat that has not been accomplished with many of my other 'writing' books.
I'm glad I purchased it, it will be a wonderful resource when I worry that my take on my stories is not main stream enough. I just have to write it for me and my special reader and all the rest is a cherry on top. Thanks Stephen.
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on September 18, 2015
It was very interesting to read about how King got started as a writer and to read about his experiences in the business. However, as far as being a guide on the craft of writing goes, there are others that more direct and to the point. Overall, it's worth reading, but it's not really a thorough guide for learning the craft.
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on February 27, 2006
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, in reviewing this book, called it "The best book on writing. Ever." Whoa! Back off a bit. I can think of several better that I have read. Maybe the paper meant to say, "The best book on writing ever written by a most prolific and best-selling author." That I'll buy. This book is as much an autobiography as it is a treatise on how to be a successful author. But there are few autobiographical topics or insights that haven't already been covered, for example on A&E Biography. There are two basic lessons that Mr. King imparts to us "Write a lot; read a lot." To wit, if you want to be a writer, then write; if you want to be a writer, read. He tells us how he is never without a book at his fingertips, a book he will turn to at odd moments throughout the day. Like when he is waiting in line at the post office or grocery checkout or doctor's office. Or when on an airplane to keep fellow passengers from interrupting him with idle chitchat. Worth the price of the book itself is the list he includes of approximately 100 books he most enjoyed reading over the last three or four years. As he says, "I suspect each book in the list had an influence on the books I wrote." Without this list, this book would be just another trip to the bank for author King.
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on March 17, 2017
If anyone can do a great job of writing about the craft of writing, Stephen King can, and he did just that in this book. I enjoyed reading about his childhood experiences, and I appreciated the grammar lessons taught in the book. Thanks to the author, I now loathe and go out of the way to not use adverbs in my own works.

Having said that, I must say I would have given this a 5-star rating had the author avoided sprinkling this work with unnecessary profane words. Considered yourself warned.
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on October 11, 2015
Not a "How To" book on writing, but a very good example of a successful writer's path to writing well. Well worth reading for the would be writer.
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on July 6, 2008
I'm not a reader of Stephen King's fiction, nor am I fiction writer, but this book is a fine gem that will provide an afternoon of lively entertainment to those who love to read as well as those who love to write. I bought the book on an online recommendation. Though I've not read his novels, I have admired his consistent, reliable, disciplined creativity. For those who wonder how writer can be consistent, reliable, and disciplined through a long and productive career, this book provides great insights. His secret, I begin to see, is his approach to writing both as a craft and as a trade. This book offers insights into both.

I was surprised and delighted by how personal the book is. In his book, King is generous in sharing the experiences that contributed to his becoming a writer and how these experiences shaped his approach to the trade. Without going into great descriptive detail (this is done thoroughly in other reviews here), I can assure you that the first half of the book, which describes King's early life and his first successes as a writer, is wonderful. This is very personal material and I suppose it must be in order to communicate the essential character of the writer himself.

Among other wonderful insights were the revelations of his early jobs - scut work really - supporting his growing family and trying to perfect his writing. I enjoyed his description of working in a professional laundry by day and writing in a cramped closet by night. I also appreciated hearing about his family life during this period: this really helps put in perspective the pressure to succeed and the kind reassurance of his wife (who is also a writer). This is sound and very personal advice for anyone starting out in any chosen profession, including writers.

Perhaps not surprising to King's avid readers, the book is tremendously funny. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the book is also entertaining. Yet the humor and entertainment colors a superb description of writing as a profession. Herein are both tricks of the trade and a workman's shop-talk. This is essential material for all writers. However, it's also fantastic material for those non-writers who are interested in how novel are made.

Other reviews here contain details of the practical advice King gives on writing so I won't go into this except to say that it seems useful. I will say, however, that it is rare to see a writer of King's professional stature approach the task of writing about writing with humility and common sense. The resulting modest tone is perhaps the most impressive and wonderful aspect of this book. I appreciated his reluctance to wax artistic or pedantic.

Among its other practical aspects, one I appreciated, was his willingness to talk about the writing of other writers. This, I learned, grows from his belief that any professional writer must always be reading the writings of others and learning from them. In this book we see King's critical evaluation of what works and what does not work in the writing of others. He also generously provides a list of the novels that he read during the course of his writing.

This book is a good addition to the shelf in your library that contains style guides, dictionaries, thesaurus, and other recommendations on writing. It is also a fine addition to the shelf that contains memoirs. Surprisingly, it's also a good beach book.
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