Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review: On Writing (Stephen King)

Stephen follows the K.I.S.S. principle here, Keep It Simple Stupid, and it serves the book well.

The first part of this book talks about how he became an author. This section was not only interesting, but also gives the reader an example of Stephen's writing in general as he explains his past.

The on writing and what writing is sections are fun to read and easy to understand. There is not a terrible amount of detail or examples, which may annoy some readers, but if you are just looking for general concepts it is more than adequate.

The On Writing / What Writing Is section of this book can be summarized pretty simply:
Being a drunk/addict does not help make you a better writer.
Art is a support system for life, not the other way around.
Writing is telepathy.
Read a lot and write a lot. This will help build a toolbox of skills, grammar, vocab, etc. Need to write a lot to be good.
Kill the passive voice.
Kill adverbs.
Situation trumps plot (i.e. stuck in a car, big crazy dog outside, what now?).
Don't force the plot, have the characters react and adapt the plot accordingly. Make it believable.
Use simple words and make the characters speak like real people, swearing etc.
Don't make strange connections for descriptions (google Fifty Shades Generator for examples)
Let the dialogue speak for itself, the old show don't tell.
Write with the door close, no distractions
Second draft = first draft - 10%
Take 6 weeks off between first and second draft, don't touch it. Everyone has their own editing process, but time away is a must.
Again, show don't tell.

I am sure there are many more, but that is a decent summary.

If you consider yourself a writer or a writer-to-be then read this. Even if you know it all hearing it again won't hurt.

No comments:

Post a Comment