A few elements of style can serve as elegant finishing to the piece, but the structure needs to be firmly built before you even start with stylistic elements. The Audience Another crucial basic factor is who you are writing for. How old are they? What are their interests? Doing this can often take an average piece and really make it zing. Words One sure way to ensure that your writing is boring is to use the same words everyone else uses.
This chapter uses a brilliant example from a newspaper to show how even the most exciting event can be made boring by using boring words. How can you avoid this? Try expanding your vocabulary regularly and using these words in conversation — if you see it in print more than once, you should learn it and be willing to use it. Use a dictionary and a thesaurus as well to play with word choices in sentences.
Usage This chapter is essentially a very, very tight compression of the book Words That Work — word choice makes all the difference. Some words make you look cheap, while others make you look educated. Some words come off as friendly, others aggressive. What tone do you want to set? Unity refers to a consistency in the writing — a consistent voice, a consistent use of language, and so on.
Such consistency means that your reader is in tune with you. For example, the perspective of The Simple Dollar is pretty clear to anyone who digs around in the archives for a while — personal finance and development talk from a twentysomething who has recently escaped debt.
The entire blog is united behind this simple topic. Zinsser says this very thing in this chapter, but actually just applies it to a newspaper writer who is responsible for two or three pieces a day. Ogilvy was talking about ad copy, but that idea is true for any kind of writing.
What does that mean, though? The first sentence in anything you write is the most important one , because it gets the reader to read the next one. And the more the person reads, the more of your idea that the reader gets.
The ending mostly just serves to leave the reader with your biggest point in their back pocket. Make notes about where problems are, mark up the manuscript and check your notes when revising. Get rid of adverbs and add in clarifications where necessary.
Ask yourself whether it is coherent, whether there are any recurring elements or themes, and what to do to make those things clear. You may need to add or delete scenes. The key is to make the story and characters resonate with readers. For King, symbolism and themes in your novel are things that come in at the second draft stage.
They should not be things you purposely go out and put into your story. Rather, you should focus on the story itself and when only explore symbolism and themes if they become apparent when reading the first draft. So if you have a first draft of a story that is , words, try and tighten it to 90, words for the second draft.
King does 2 drafts and a polish, whereas some writers need 4 or 5 drafts and dramatic changes every time. Besides, not everyone can churn out first drafts that are good enough to be published just after one additional draft and a polish. What to do after the Second Draft King does not show anyone his work until he has completed the second draft. This I wholeheartedly agree with, because especially for writing novices it can be daunting to ask others to read your work. King shows his completed second drafts to 4 or 5 people.
King disagrees — he says you should be smart enough to gauge the reactions, even if they are your friends. I must say I agree. He recommends building a portfolio, submit to magazines relating to your genre and to try and get publishing credits to your name. He says that it is important to go into it looking like a professional, in that you need to make sure your manuscript and query letter are done right.
King generally does not find writing courses to be very helpful on the whole as the creative flow tends to get stopped. Again, I find this to be a generalization and not much more than a subjective view.
There are many different types of writing courses and writers — some people might need a course to get them started or give them more confidence. I suppose what he is trying to say is not to rely on them too much or expect them to change your life.
That I agree with. Writing For the Right Reasons Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, King tells you to write for the right reasons — for the joy and rush and excitement of writing — not for the money, not for success or fame, not to impress anyone. Does impressing yourself count? For me, most of what I knew about the author came from the horror movies and mini-series adapted from his novels.
There are too many to count. The ones that have been stamped deepest into my memory are It thanks to which I am still not a fan of clowns , The Stand, Pet Cemetery, Sleepwalkers, Misery, Carrie and The Shining , but there are at least a dozen more. I had only read one of his full length novels — The Dark Half — which I found to be okay.
A bit long and a bit slow. But I did read it when I was much younger and had a shorter attention span, and the book was probably beyond my comprehension level at that age.
I found Nightmares and Dreamscapes to be reasonable, littered with some good and some bad stories. However, my favourite King book has to be his non-horror work, Different Seasons , which includes two novellas that were made pretty faithfully into two of my favourite movies of all time, Stand By Me adapted from The Body and The Shawshank Redemption adapted from Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.
As a popular novelist, King has obviously had his critics throughout the years, but there is no denying that he can write. Maybe not awe-inspiring literature, but he definitely has a firm grasp of the fundamentals of writing, and he can certainly tell a good story. A Memoir of the Craft is an instructive and insightful book, one that is filled with useful information for the aspiring writer and immensely enjoyable to read or in my case, listen to.
I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the craft of writing or just wants a good read. I finally got this review out of the way. I had been working on it on my numerous long train rides throughout Europe but never came close to completing it.
Now I can finally move on with my life. Excellent review of this book. Harold Bloom the same Mr. Bloom who called Mr. Bloom himself could use a copy of Strunk and White. Hi Michelle, thanks for the kind words.
I really enjoyed the book as well. Funny though — I remember reading somewhere that King thought Rowling was a terrific writer whereas Stephenie Meyer is crap. People like Mr Bloom thanks for the link, it was hilarious, excellent work! I think the photo of Mr Bloom says it all….
I would just like to say, this book was a great read. And this summary was very nice too, and I would love to respond to Mr. King IS inadequate on all of those levels. Clearly, if you can read, you would know that he is a word-by-word writer! Despite it being the new year and this reply is incredibly outdated, happy trails all.
Oh, I should have mentioned this last night: A lot of writing books — like Mr. And it is really fun to read; the guy is a kicking writer. Thanks for the tip! Hey Pace, This was really, really good. Wow, thanks for posting this review of the book. I agree with every part you sumarized especially with what he said about writing courses. I cannot remember this very second who it was, but I came across a magazine interview of a writer some years ago who also advised against them. Hey, thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
Again, one of those things that started off small and then got obsessive. It really is a good book — to listen to, at least. I can multi-task and handle distractions. Unfortunately, I was not able to capture a list of the many books Mr.
King mentions in his writing. There were so many more he listed that I just did not get the chance to write down. I read it again a couple of years later and I had a renewed appreciation for it.
This is very helpful for my Ap homework. Unlike other writing books, King writes On Writing as he would write anything else, with the honesty and middle-class crudeness that his fans would expect of him.
Unlike other biographies where the author tells everything from beginning to end, King honestly says that he cannot remember everything. Instead, he offers the reader little vignettes from his life, skipping years here and there as need be.
The reader sees over and over again how King escaped poverty by writing. The fact that King was writing about the films he saw or anything else that crossed his mind did not really matter. He was writing, and just that by itself was an accomplishment. Writing was hard work, but King loved it. His best example of this is when he was a sports writer for the Lisbon Weekly Enterprise , his local newspaper.
Other Subjects - SparkNotes Readers' Notes for Queen Elizabeth I University I had to basically write a pseudo dissertation for my psychology class. I wasn’t about to kill my last moments in uni on writing an ACTUAL NOVEL about abnormal psychology. Then, I was desperate.
“On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” was written in by Stephen King. This book is one of Kings few non-fiction works and reads like a textbook for writers. The book also is somewhat a on writing by stephen kingdoes anyone know the theme of on writing by stphen king. Yes. Stephen King is writing about the art of writing in this book.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft Summary & Study Guide Stephen King This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of On Writing. Full Book Notes and Study Guides. Sites like SparkNotes with a On Writing study guide or cliff notes. Also includes sites with a short overview, synopsis, book report, or summary of .
Detailed plot synopsis reviews of On Writing The first half of King's book is not about writing. The reader is opened up to a new side of Stephen King--the child he once was, the life he lived growing up, the person he has become over the years. Find all available study guides and summaries for On Writing A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. If there is a SparkNotes, Shmoop, or Cliff Notes guide, we will have it listed here.