There are many books available from various authors on the subject of writing and how to go about it. Most are boring drivel, but Stephen King’s On Writing is far from boring, and is a motivational and surprising look at one man’s journey, and providing helpful insight into he craft for all would be writers.

On Writing is broken up into four sections:

1. C.V. (Curriculum Vitae)

This section covers a bit about King’s childhood, his experience with numerous rejection slips as well as the published stories. It continues on through his adult life including his battle with the drink and marijuana.

2. Toolbox

What King considers should be in every writers toolbox, such as vocabulary and grammar, and onto form and style.

3. On Writing

Useful information for would be writers, from King’s personal perspective.

4. On Living: A Postscript

A very personal account of an accident that nearly cost King his life.

On Writing Review

On occasion King’s books can be quite long and overly descriptive. At 367 pages, this book is full of interesting facts about King (he was paid $400,000 for Carrie, he wrote Running Man in a week), as well as useful tips for aspiring writers.

Using pieces of writing, his own and from other authors, King is able to explain the difference between the good and the bad. Use of dialogue, overuse of adverbs, reminding the writer to remove superfluous words, the difference between story and plot.

Just some of King’s tips include:

  • Read a lot and write a lot. He recommends a schedule of between 4-6 hours of reading and writing a day
  • Write everyday. This prevents the story going stale. King writes even on Christmas day and his birthday.
  • Have a serene, quite writing environment, with minimum distractions. Eliminate possible distractions – shut the blinds, remove the TV and phone
  • Ensure your writing room is private. Shut the door when you write.
  • Try to stick to the same writing schedule. Write at the same time everyday.

Obviously the book goes into much more detail. It is a very pleasant read and provides useful advice that wont bog down the reader. It is quite a motivating read for the aspiring writer. At the end of the book is the winning short story from the On Writing competition, so you get a pleasant bit of fiction too.