On Writing is one of Stephen King’s only works of non-fiction published in 2000, that captures the essence of what is required in order to follow the art of writing a novel. The tips and tricks shared by the author are preceded by a brief autobiography that is necessary, as explained by King, to show the reader what influenced him in his writing from an early childhood and into his twenties where he worked as an English teacher.
My lovely wife kindly researched the best gift to give an aspiring writer and came up with this book, which she gave me for Father’s Day. I read it last week and learned some valuable tips which I will work into my writing and writing habits. A few pearls of wisdom include to (as much as possible) not include flashbacks into your writing. King says he’s an A-Z kinda guy and believes that a story must work chronologically. Flashbacks disrupt the flow and are unecessary. Other well known tips that he reiterates include to not use too many adverbs, and to cut out verbosity where possible. It’s best not to over describe scenes to the point of explaining every single detail to the reader who needs to use his or her imagination at times.
The book ends with King’s painful account of his accident and recovery where he broke his leg in nine places, fractured ribs and suffered from a collapsed lung. He almost died. It was then that I realised what inspired him to write the novel. Amazing what coming close to death will make you do differently.
A highly recommended book for aspiring writers or anyone who enjoys writing.