On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (2000) Stephen King
This is a non-fiction book on the subject of writing or more accurately, a personal stories of how the King ‘become’ the king of fictional novelist – the good, the bad and the ugly. It is an instruction manual for both aspiring and seasoned writers alike, and it is also an autobiographical account of King's life. He who has sold more than 54 books of fictions. If you’re not a reader, probably you’re movie-goer who may have watched some of his novels turned movies such as The Mist, Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, The Green Mile, etc. If not, how about TV series such as Under the Done and Mr. Mercedes? If none of the above, then you probably have heard his name, at least… please…
“This is a short book,” writes King for his second forward of his 297 pages book (short?!), “because most books about writing are filled with bullshit. Fiction writers, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do – not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t when it’s bad. I figured the shorter the book, the less bullshit.” I have fun reading this book because of his casualness and conversational tone in writing it. One particular part when he told the story of how he struggled to finish ‘The Stand’ is quite interesting: “For weeks I got exactly nowhere in my thinking – it all just seemed too hard, too fucking complex. I had run out too many plotlines, and they were in danger of becoming snarled. I circled the problem again and again, beat my fists on it, knocking my head against it… and then one day when I was thinking of nothing much at all, the answer came to me. It arrived whole and complete – gift-wrapped, you could say – in a single bright flash. I ran home and jotted it down on paper, the only time I’ve done such a thing, because I was terrified of forgetting.” [P.s: Forgive his language in these quotes]
At the end of this book, Stephen King advices: “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Some of this book – perhaps too much – has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it – and perhaps the best of it – is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.” Good book.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.