On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King

Summary

In this short and engaging read, bestselling author Stephen King tells the story of how he mastered the craft of writing. For the curious reader or aspiring writer, King’s childhood stories and practical writing advice will entertain and inspire you.

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Key Takeaways

Read Elements of Style

After seeing Strunk’s Elements of Style recommended dozens of times, King’s recommendation finally pushed me to purchase the book.

Use the first word that comes to mind

Instead of using a thesaurus to make your writing fancy, use the first word that comes to mind. Often, this is the simplest and clearest word.

Eliminate adverbs and the passive voice

Simple writing advice. Just do it.

Writing and thinking

Writing is refined thinking, and thinking is refined question asking.

I’m not sure if this is from King’s book or if it’s just an idea that came to mind while reading the book, but I like the idea of understanding writing as refined thinking and thinking as refined question asking.

Coherence begins with the paragraph

Writing starts with words, which form sentences, which make up paragraphs, and so on. When you’re trying to make your writing coherent, begin with the structure of your paragraphs. Dissect the idea conveyed in each paragraph and how it ties to the idea in the prior and subsequent paragraph.

If you’re a writer, you’re also a reader

As a writer, reading is your creative source. Books from others expose you to new worlds and ideas that will inspire and inform your work. So if you’re serious about writer, you’ll also be serious about reading.

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