Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: On Writing

This entry is part 99 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

I had a good weekend, reading wise. Very good.

On Saturday morning I finished Harry Potter six, only a couple of days after starting it on Thursday.

Good going.

On Sunday morning I finished Zom-B Baby and by the evening I was about twenty pages away from finishing On Writing.

That done, I’ll have five books to go. Three more Zom-B stories, 23 Hours by David Wellington and the final Harry Potter book.

After that? Well, you’ll never have to read another book review by again.

Not that you are now.

Anyway, let’s get on with it.


Stephen King

Usual stuff. I’ve written a lot of Stephen King blogs. Most of them are pretty good, and the early ones detail my history with King books and they are well worth checking out or not.

Check these, then we’ll talk briefly about On Writing.

  1. Lisey’s Story
  2. The Dark Tower
  3. The Bachman Books
  4. Carrie
  5. ‘Salem’s Lot
  6. The Shining
  7. The Stand
  8. The Dead Zone
  9. Firestarter
  10. Cujo

On Writing

You’re probably wondering or not wondering why I’m writing this blog given I’ve just admitted I still have twenty-odd pages to go.

Well, a couple of reasons.

First, it’s a non-fiction book, so it’s not like I’m missing out on the climax which might make a big difference to what I have to say.

Second, I’ve read it before, and I know the only bit I have left is his little example text, showing how King edits in practice.

Third, I’ve not got that much to say anyway.

Right, so, let’s get to it.

I’ve mentioned on Writing before, whenever I’ve been reviewing another book giving tips on writing.

My opinion on such books, to recap, is they’re pointless. They tend to tell you nothing useful, the stuff they do say can be found online for free, none of said advice will help you move forward in the way that reading and writing lots and lots of fiction will, and, of course, most of them are written by people who have had little or no success writing their own stuff, beyond these how-to-books.

On Writing is the one exception.

Part of this is the obvious–it is written by someone who has not only had success but is one of the most successful writers of the last forty-five years.

Beyond that, it is written in a way that acknowledges all of my above gripes. That most writing advice is useless, and none of it will help like reading and writing will.

It is short because there isn’t much to say. King sticks to the way he does things and offers key advice where it is necessary.

If you’re an aspiring writer and you want to buy a book that will help you along the way, this isn’t only the best book to buy, it’s the only book to buy.

Bookending King’s writing tips are snippets of his life. An autobiography for the early years, from birth to soon after Carrie was published, at one end, and the story of how he was mowed down by a van in 1999 and almost killed at the other.

If you’re interested only in the writing tips this may not intrigue you, but if you’re a King fan like I am, it should. It’s fascinating to hear how King came from very little, making his writing dream come true while writing in the laundry room of his double-wide trailer while teaching.

It’s all a great read, so give it a go.


Next Time

Next up we’ll be looking at the Caxton series by David Wellington about vampires and all that jazz.

See you for that.

Series Navigation<< Man vs Bookshelf: CujoMan vs Bookshelf: Caxton >>
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International worst-selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). An author of mystery and suspense novels including the James Perry Series of mysteries.

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