Posted by: mlawrencekey | December 3, 2008

Review of “On Writing”

Image of On WritingI just finished reading Stephen King’s “On Writing”  for the second time, and I have to say that it still ranks as one of the best books on writing I’ve ever read. The first half consists of King’s memoirs, a portrait of a writer being formed, from his childhood all the way to young adulthood. The second half describes his take on how to write well, and the instructions there are quite good. King ascribes to a bold, in-your-face, minimalist style which in general works well for modern literature. The last chapter or so of the book describes his accident with a car in 1999 and his subsequent recovery to write again.

Overall, this is one of the two books I consistently recommend to people who are interested in the writing life (the other is Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,” which I’ll probably review here soon) as both balance instruction and entertainment quite well.



  1. I do believe that car accident was in 1999. I agree though that it was a worthy read, albeit a peculiarly structured one.

  2. Thanks for the correction. I’ve edited the post to reflect it.

  3. Yes, thanks. I’ve read through some of your short stories, not enough to fairly and conclusively judge, but it is good stuff (as far as I’ve seen). As a former subscriber of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, I’m curious as to whether you’ve published any work through them.

  4. Not yet, though I did submit a piece to them a few years back. It is definitely one of my goals to be published in their pages, however, so it should happen eventually. They are considered to be the top magazine in the market, however, so whatever I get published there will have to be really good. Not that it’s not possible, but it is something I’ll need to put more focus into. At this point in time, I’m letting the short fiction side of my work languish a bit, however, while I work on my current book project. I appreciate your question, though. Keep visiting!

  5. Yes, certainly. Faery Lights kept my interest all the way through. Though there were a few mechanical errors that must have been overlooked, and some of the scene jumps were jarring, it was a cleverly portrayed relationship between two men and their social isolation.

  6. I’m glad you liked “Faery Lights”. As you can see from the sidebar on this blog, I’ve got quite a few unpublished works that I simply haven’t had the time to polish up or shop around much. Hopefully, all that will happen more once I finish the book I’m working on.

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