Gitta's Literary Escapades

Just another reader taking on (modern) classics, best-sellers, award-winners, non-fiction, and (guilty pleasure) chicklit armed with common sense, a brain and feminism.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing - A Memoir Of The Craft - Stephen King

So, we can all agree Stephen King is not the best writer. He will not win a Nobel prize, a Pulitzer, or a Man Booker. We will not find him on school and university syllabi. But he does know what makes for an entertaining read, works that sell, that get made into films. Also, he has some amazing things to say about The Hunger GamesTwilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey in a recent interview with The Guardian.


Twilight Harry Potter

We all know how he basically ended the discussion on which is better: Harry Potter or Twilight: "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend." To this he has now added that Twilight and books like it are 'tweenager porn.' He told the interviewer he read the first books of these three massively popular series but 'didn't feel any urge to go on'.


'I read Fifty Shades Of Grey and felt no urge to go on. They call it mommy porn, but it's not really mommy porn. It is highly charged, sexually driven fiction for women who are, say, between 18 and 25. But a golden age of horror? I wouldn't say it is. I can't think of any books right now that would be comparable to The Exorcist.'


I have not read that many books by King, but his opinion of literature is one I often agree with. On Writing is part memoir and part do's and don'ts of writing fiction. In describing his childhood, King is able to demonstrate those story-teller skills of his, which makes it an interesting read.


What should we be reading according to King: The Elements of Style and Mary Karr's The Liars Club. And his own advice sounds something like this:


  • For those who decide to be a writer: 'If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write.'
  • 'The road to hell is paved with adverbs.'
  • For those who love to describe: 'Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.'
  • For those who say writing is easy and authors don't work: 'Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.'
  • For those who need inspiration: 'Just remember that Dumbo didn't need the feather; the magic was in him.'
  • For those with interfering family and friends: 'Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.'


His best lesson, I found, was that you should avoid using he/she "remarked", "proffered", "stated", &c.. It's okay to use "said". And no need to add "yelled angrily". Let the context demonstrate your character is angry.



Description & Where to Buy


First published:


Original title:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


Stephen King


eBook (Scribner, 2000)

Audiobook (Audible Simon & Schuster, 2000)




3 - 8 October 2013



5551137058, 9785551137054






Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Book Depository USA

Book Depository UK

Abebooks USA

Abebooks UK

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