On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

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“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 10 Anv edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439156816
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439156810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces

Customer Reviews

Aptly Titled

56 people found this helpful.
 on August 29, 2016
By Debi C.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly, and took my time reading it. I could “hear” Mr. King’s “voice” in my head as I read this on my iPad Kindle app. I felt like I was reading something from a friend—as if he had written a personal letter to me— to give me an understanding of what he went through to become the person he is today. I think that his directives about the “how-to’s” and “don’t do’s” were very practical. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got the feeling that writing classes and clubs are kind of a waste of time. Just write, is what I think he was telling me, I mean, his audience. I will probably read it again. What I got from his personal, real-life-lessons is this: Read a lot. Read good stuff. Write all the time. Find a place and write. Don’t share your stuff unless you share it with someone you can trust. Go with your gut. Write all the time (I said that already because he said it or inferred it frequently). Don’t use the same adjective over and over. Stick to the point. Don’t over-do it on the descriptions. Let your audience see the movie you see in your head, because if you write it well, they will. I am glad this wasn’t a “point by point HOW TO WRITE a story or a book” book, because really, writing isn’t something you can do easily from a bulleted list. Writing is something you do from your heart, and you keep doing it until it’s right and good. And then when that person you trust reads your stuff and offers some criticism, you can take it for what it’s worth and use it or not.

Very good book on writing while giving insight into the mind of a genius

 on November 3, 2017
By Shoppin Mom
I have enjoyed reading some Stephen King stories over the years. My favorites are probably Misery and 11/22/63. He is too scary for me, yet I usually cannot put the book down. He is a talented writer that draws you in and doesn’t let you out until the last page. In this non-fiction book, he starts with his lifetime memories. He has some funny stories, like accidentally using poison ivy for toilet paper, and some serious ones, like how difficult it was being raised by a single mother and almost getting killed when hit by a vehicle while taking a walk. I felt it gave me a little insight into that incredible creative mind. The rest of the book is a light-hearted guide on writing. Light in style, as if telling a friend, but power in instruction. It is an entertaining yet insightful guide on how to write for today’s reader written by our generation’s most creative writer. It made sense and I enjoyed the read…but still can’t write like him though!

If You Are A Fan, it’s Worth the Read

 on October 12, 2017
By Amy in PA
If you have ever wondered how the heck Steven King comes up with the stories he writes, you won’t be disappointed with this book. He made me laugh out loud several times and I was compelled to read paragraphs out loud to my husband throughout. I skimmed the part geared toward writing, but it was still interesting. Basically, if you’re a fan or want a peak into King’s mind, you will enjoy this read!

including lists of books recommended by him

 on November 15, 2017
By Practical
Epic! If you want to write, you need to do yourself a favor and read this book. My mind was blown. It’s more than just general encouragement. It’s his experience with his own writing his entire life and then extremely valuable, specific information you should be putting into practice with your writing, including lists of books recommended by him. Such a valuable tool for every writer out there.

All You Need To Know

 on October 2, 2017
By Sonja Mcgillivray
This riveting book is divided into memoir, writing tips and back to memoir. The most compelling part of the biographical aspect is in the final chapters, where he tells, in horrifying detail, the story of his near-fatal 1999 accident. The book is filled with humor and excellent writing advice. But maybe its real importance is the substantiation of the genre author as a writer. King makes a strong case for the erasure of the usual lines between popular and “classic” fiction.

King is the coach for aspiring writers

One person found this helpful.
 on February 23, 2015
By Tom G
Kudos to Stephen King for taking the time to write this book on how to be a better writer. His suggestions and examples are clear and applicable to all types of writing. Personally my biggest takeaway was the balance between detail and brevity and to allow the reader to visualize wherever possible. I tend to over detail and can see how trimming my efforts down can actually make the message more interesting and enjoyable for the reader. For that one pointer the book was well worth buying. King’s comments on the importance of good dialog; how to use it to describe the characters instead of using narration was probably the second key takeaway. My third was the process of writing – first the brain dump and then a series of clean up and refining – which was a marked improvement over my all-in-one get-it-done approach. I don’t write fiction and I’ve never read a Stephen King book before yet and I found it to be both interesting and educational. I felt like I was being coached by an expert and I appreciate his time in writing to a much smaller audience than he would if he were producing another suspense thriller. As a side note I also enjoyed his personal story which I think added some flavor to the effort. A solid read and one recommended for those wanting to improve their story telling skills.

not your normal King book but now one of my favorites

 on March 3, 2016
By Kindle Customer
I have loved Stephen King since about age 10. I’m old enough that there wasn’t much of a Teen or Young Adult grouping of books, so after I outgrew the picture books I started reading ‘adult’ books. Stephen King (The Shining) was one of the authors I read. A Lot. I’ve read most of what he has written, and some of them more than once. On Writing is not something I ever read. I knew it wasn’t one of his horror or supernatural stories. In fact, it wasn’t a story at all, it was a treatise for writers on his thoughts about writing. Then, the day came that I thought maybe I have a good idea for a book. I put it off for awhile but finally broke down and got this book. Am I ever so glad I did. This book doesn’t dwell on grammar rules or storylines and boring things like that. King talks about his writing like he does his writing. In a flowing narrative that drags you in and makes you want to read just a bit more. He uses what could be considered his life story or a memoir and makes you think ‘Hey, maybe I could actually do that. If HE could….’. And so it is that I’m sitting down and a little more of a book is coming out. Reading this book really hit me at a time that other forces were conspiring to push me to writing and luckily this was written in the perfect way to be the cherry on top of that push and is now an inspiration to keep on writing.

An interesting approach to teaching writing!

 on September 10, 2017
By Lawrence M. Maloney
This book had many parts that were loosely connected at times, but it was as entertaining as his novels. I learned as much about Stephen King as the main character in this book as I did about writing. Mr. King puts so much of himself and his passion for writing into this book that it makes you want to start a work of fiction immediately!


 on April 1, 2017
By DCMom
Great read. King is very funny and honest. Gives account of how he came to writing from his interests as a boy, as well as his thoughts on what makes good writing. I’ve never read or watched his books/movies – can’t do scary – but have always heard how terrific this book is. It didn’t disappoint. And easy, fun, informative read. Highly recommend.

Part memoir, part craft, part cheerleader

 on July 9, 2017
By Avid Reader
King writes about his life, his methods, and what he knows about writing. The big secret can be summarized by “butt in chair, hands on keyboard,” but King has an amusing, sometimes horrifying, generally* memorable way of making his points.

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