Summary and Info
Some thirty years ago, as a young English professor, I observed that Stephen King was our era's Dickens. Hooo boy. But let's say it again, to brush the cobwebs off our beloved literary relics. There's a dissertation waiting to be written (or lolling from a shelf in the LoC) comparing King to Dickens. King is not a great writer, but he is far better, or certainly was in his prime, than he gets credit for. On Writing attempts to explain why and how he is a good writer. Hence the memoir element and the craft element.He doesn't have any new "magic feathers" (as he loves to put it) for aspiring writers, just the same unwelcome news that you have to work, and work hard, and enjoy the work. That eliminates most of the folks on the long side of Sturgeon's Law. (As king puts it grimly, you can't make a good writer out of a bad one, or a great one out of a good one, but you can improve.) What he has to offer is a fresh, entertaining voice affirming what most serious writers would have told you, if they took the question seriously. And a refreshing "Emperor's New Clothes" view of the posturing that passes for literary skill. We are welcome to sit in awe of Joyce, but let's not take too seriously his spending an entire day selecting "seven words," ok? No wonder Ulysses took twenty years to write. Writers write, aesthetes imagine writing. King is a writer. If you want to be one, you'll have a better chance of making a living if you write.This isn't a great book on the writer's craft. I'm not sure there are any; it's a bit like expecting Michelangelo or Houdon to explain sculpture. They don't explain sculpture because they are busy doing it. What King has to tell you boils down to what John Gardner had to tell you, and both of them had the good sense to remind us that being told what to do will never replace doing it.
More About the Author
Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of contemporary horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy.
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