I've been reading Stephen King's Memoir "On Writing".
The book is divided into three parts. The first is a delightfully candid account of memories from his childhood that influenced his writing and tells of his struggles to make a career of his passion for writing and the resulting triumphs.
The second half is where in his chatty, pull-no-punches way of writing, he shares his thoughts on the craft itself and insights into the importance of a writer's "toolbox". (If you haven't got one yet - get one!)
To close, he shares a touching glimpse into his near-death experience, his struggle to recover and the role his writing played in that process.
A few snippets of Kingly wisdom...
Stephen talks about vocabulary and not forcing it. He warns against using 'big words' just to look smart, saying, "In this case, happily pack what you have without the the slightest bit of guilt and inferiority. As the whore said to the sailor, 'it ain't what you got it's how you use it'." Wise words indeed.
And grammar. He doesn't go into the horrid nitty-gritting of the rudiments of grammar, instead he says it's important to know how grammar works so that we writers can enjoy the "comforting simplicity at its heart, where there need only be nouns, the words that name, and verbs, the words that act."
He talks about the importance of using active rather than passive tense. Why? Because the passive voice is deathly dull! And wittily discusses those demon-like adverbs that like to creep in to our manuscripts like evil weeds, but concedes they are the bane of a writers life and even he finds them sprinkled though his own work. "All I ask is that you do as well as you can, and remember that, while to write adverbs is human, to write he said or she said is divine."
One of King's golden rules is WRITERS READ! He talks about the importance of reading and what it teaches us about how to write and how not to write. "Read a lot, write a lot" is the King's great commandment.
This is just a small study of what Stephen shares in this book.
His open, tell-it-like-it-is, way of writing really makes you feel as if he's sitting opposite you sharing his insight with a you, a friend who shares his passion for stories. He is witty, honest, swears a bit too, and is totally down to earth. Having read his memoir I really feel like I know the guy. And I like him - though his movies creep me out no-end!
This is a cheeky, touching and inspirational book that made me cringe, laugh out loud and even shed a tear.
I highly recommend it. Five stars from me! *****