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Steven King - Totally, Utterly, Completely.... What Can I Say It Is Fantastic!
On Writing - Stephen King
Author Name: LAURALILIA
On Writing - Stephen King
Advantages: Refreshing honest account of his life and also how he uses language to write his stories
This is the first five star review I have written in ages. I am not a particular fan of horror, but I am always in interested in how writers get started. I had heard good things about this book and so when I saw it at the library I thought I would give it a go.
***What is it all about?***
This is Steven King's attempt to offer a bit of background about his life, how he came to writing and how he uses language (what he thinks is so important, yet no one ever asks about) to write his stories.
The book is split into three parts:
The first part talks about his childhood and his early love of beginning to write stories. There is a bit about his family life and it then talks about how he met his wife and began to break through into the big time with Carrie.
The second part discusses his 'Toolbox' that is to say how he uses the tools of the trade, before he even begins to write. He talks about grammar, vocabulary, adverbs (hates them in dialogue with a passion!), style, theme etc.
The third and final part of the book talks about what makes good writing. He talks about plot and outlines (which he rarely plans ahead), reading continually, ideas, storytelling, description, dialogue, revising work and the publishing process. He ends the book with a chapter he wrote for a story and then he shows the story again to show how the story was edited to make it ready to face the world.
This is not a big chunky book; in fact he states in the foreword that most books on writing are full of bullsh*t and so he tried to keep is succinct to make sure this is a book that isn't filled with it.
I totally, completely and utterly ....Oh wait stop, Steven King hates the use of lazy adverbs, so I will just say simply that I loved it! He particularly cannot stand the uses of adverbs when it comes to dialogue.
This is not a book what I would normally have read and I have to say that I devoured it in two nights. I loved his style of writing which was quite plain and to the point - with a kind of 'not suffering fools' mentality attached to it.
I am not a great fan of horror, although 'Misery' does remain one of my favourite films. The book was interesting because it made me look at language and the books that I read in a whole new light. I am now busy recognizing all the clichés and lazy writing that I just normally gloss over and now actually SEE what he is talking about. He may not be everyone's favourite writer, but there is a lot of what he advocates that makes sense.
I particularly enjoyed reading about his personal life, from his alcohol and drug addiction (which I did not know about) to his accident which nearly killed him. He was run over by a truck driver as he was walking. Whilst he was waiting for the ambulance, he can hazily remember the guy talking to him and he had this flash of 'Oh my God, I have been run over and now killed by one of the characters from my books!'.
He talks fondly about his wife and her contribution to the success he has enjoyed and offers throughout examples of what he sees as great writing, placed in the book alongside trashy writing. I really liked this too as like King said, "no one ever asks me about the language", and yes you can see what he means, when he illustrates his point in this way.
I think that if you like reading and maybe like to write a little (if only even letters or reviews), then some of what he says may amuse or even inform you. As I have said earlier, this is an easy read and you do not have to be a fan of horror to do so.
Oh and there are also stories behind where he got specific ideas for his books from and how sometimes, he pondered ending them in different ways. The one about Misery was really interesting to me. So if you are a fan of his films or his work then it is worth a read if only for that.
I got mine from the library, but it is available from Amazon for £5.49.
Summary: Not just for horror fans
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