Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stephen King’s On Writing

Stephen King’s non-fiction book “On Writing” is a mixed bag. The first part, his autobiography in a series of unrelated snapshots, is riveting. Once you’ve read about his childhood, you can understand where his fiction is coming from. (His background also makes you realise how parenting has grown up since Stephen was a child: I read with horror (sic!) about his various babysitters and about his adventures courtesy of his older brother.) And his struggle with drugs later on in life makes you realise that being a successful writer is not all that it is trumped up to be.

The second part, however, the one about writing itself and how to go about it, contains only pretty basic ideas and lacks the flair of the previous section. I’m sure it’s useful to a beginner writer, though, particularly Stephen King’s permission to be selfish and put writing above all else.

While I’m not about to follow that advice, it’s nice to know I could. Theoretically. Once the kids are asleep and the dishwasher is loaded and my work-for-money work completed and my book publicised and it’s already half past midnight....

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