Thursday, January 2, 2014

Book Review: On Writing

Loved this book. I read the first hundred pages in one sitting before I realized the afternoon was gone and it was time for bed. If you've ever read a King novel, you'll know that he has an unpretentious page-turning style, and this book is written the same way. Never has a memoir been so fascinating!

If you have any interest in how a writer writes, how he comes up with ideas, etc, you'll definitely want to read this book. Mr. King has given me a lot to think about and aspire to as I hope to someday write novels of my own. This book begins as a memoir of King's life and his early days of writing, and ends with some excellent advice for how to go about writing good books.

Some tips that stood out to me:

•  Write what you're going to write. Then read it back over and delete out the boring parts. Your first draft should always be written quickly, with abandon, with no regard for spelling or grammar or what makes sense. The second draft, on the other hand, should always be shorter than the first, edited for clarity and interest. (Similarly, write your first draft behind closed doors, without showing anyone, before the magic slips away. Write your second draft with open doors, with help from your most trusted friends, to make sure everything reads smoothly and makes sense).

•  Avoid adverbs. They're sloppy and usually help you fall into the trap of telling, not showing. Instead of saying John loved his wife greatly, show us how he loved her. Say... John bought his wife flowers and couldn't stop gazing at the way her hair bounced into her face as she laughed. This shows us that he loved her greatly with just saying it in a boring lump of a sentence.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars.

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