September 18, 2002, Category: Book Reviews

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On WritingI have to confess, I had never read a Stephen King book before this one. But now he has become an inspiration and an “unauthorized” mentor for me. This book was a joy to read. I couldn’t put it down.One of my dreams has always been to be a writer. I’m still not published, other than technical stuff. But what is worse, is as until a few years ago, I hadn’t even written a complete story since High School! Damn! And I want to be a writer? What is that all about?

That’s where Stephen King’s book came into play. Originally I got the book because I thought it was more about technique and style. That’s me, I’d rather analyze, think about, and study something rather than actually do it. Well, in the book he gives an assignment to write a story. I did the exercise, in fact, you can read it here. My first completed story since High School and I felt awesome after! I never could finish my stories (novels mostly). I would start them or just think about them, but never finish them. So this was a cool exercise for me.

From his book, I got a message that said stop trying. Forget about the syntax, forget about learning how to write, forget about all the rules and procedures…just do a lot of reading and a lot of writing. Simple as that. Well, I tried it. I sat down and just started a story.

There are two sections to the book. The first section is basically a mini auto-biography. Originally, this part didn’t interest me. I had purchased the book for the second section, his tips on style and technique. However, two pages into the book I was hooked. I loved reading the first section. His frank, open, vulnerable, and revealing stories were entertaining, touching, and encouraging. Stephen King sounds like a cool person. I appreciate his book. As a writer who only dreamed about writing, it pushed me in the right direction.

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