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Read On Writing by Stephen King
“I grew up as a part of America’s lower middle class, and they’re the people I can write about with the most honesty and knowledge”, writes Stephen King, the award-winning author of bestsellers such as Carrie, The Shining and The Dark Tower.
Stephen King was born in Maine, where he still lives with his novelist wife, Tabitha. In On Writing he admits that, had it not been for writing courses, they would have never met. She’s his Ideal Reader, from whom he gets most of his advice. He sees something in her that he also sees in himself: he does what he knows, and also knows how to do it.
WRITING GUIDE / ON WRITING
“[Writing is] about getting up, getting well and getting over. Getting happy.”
The author attempts to show how one writer was formed – himself. Like most good story ideas, Stephen King came out of nowhere.
According to the book writing is telepathy because writers are made for writing the truth – at least, the best ones are. Stephen King claims that one can only write from his or her own experiences. As long as experiences are gained from honest, real situations, readers will seek to find characters that mirror their own lives. And this is where telepathy begins, according to King.
“Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own knowledge of life.”
The door must be closed while a person writes, and open if the same individual rewrites. Your struggle begins with you – within you, afterward, it is advisable to take that battle somewhere else. What is the most important rule when writing a book to which the author of “On Writing” Stephen King refers to? Simply accuracy. Take this situation for example – How would you feel if you find out – the story or facts that you are reading are inaccurate? You already know the answer to this question.
There is one funny anecdote – To be a writer, you must have a very boring life. However, being a writer doesn’t make you an introvert. This book summary covers the most important parts of the book, which according to GetNugget’s team can make a lot of difference.
Life is one of those terms that humans still haven’t figure it out its definition. Writing is not just a part of life; it is life. You cannot underestimate its power by identifying it with some sort of support system; it has to take all the credit. Think of it like any other art – writing is truly a gift from our ancestors.
On Writing is also a so-called driving license for creating good works. It differs from typical writing guidebooks because it’s filled with the author’s own memories and experiences. There is also a chapter called “C.V.”, which introduces the reader to his in medias res and gives ideas on how to begin your own writing career.
“All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing offers the purest distillation.”
The chapter “What Writing Is” deals with King’s main concept: a book is more valuable if the reader can find similarities to his or her own life. In order to create this telepathy, the writer should have all the tools.
The next chapter, “Toolbox”, gives you a hint of what to put into practice. This means lots of practice. Grammar is not always enough. You have to be born to be a writer.
“I don’t believe writers can be made, either by circumstances or by self-will. The equipment comes with the original package.”
The main chapter, entitled “On Writing”, describes the job of a writer: write what you see. King compares writing to mathematics, except here the formula is 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%. Feel free to use words that you might never find in dictionaries; the same applies to long words. But never complicate things: “Never use ‘emolument’ when you mean ‘tip”.
“The basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful.”
Stephen King has a good sense of humor. I think it’s mostly because he writes what he thinks. One of my favorite quotes is: “If your master’s thesis is no more organized than a high school essay titled Why Shania Twain Turns Me On, you’re in big trouble”. And the biggest question is always whether your story is coherent. King says you should never use difficult words written in baroque style. Whenever you meet a dead-end, remind yourself: Jane transmits, mountains float, and plums deify.
If we know how to handle our tools, we know how to write. King believes you should never start a book with questions. However, there is something special about a book that makes you hungry for answers from the very start. The best books reflect the readers’ lives.
We learn from our own mistakes. Even best-selling authors get it wrong sometimes; what makes them successful is that they learn from the experience, and improve their craft in the process.
“The most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”
The last chapter, entitled “On Living: A Postscript”, is written from the author’s personal view and experience. King encourages the reader to do one thing: be brave and start writing.
“Some of this book has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
There are many unpublished books that ought to see the light of day, but whose authors are too afraid to publish them. One has to be brave, and let go of the fear of what other people may say or think.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”
From my personal point of view, I think all masterpieces reflect the creator. You can only share something if you have something to share. That requires a lot of reading and a lot of writing. Without any practice, you cannot improve your skills.
‘Read a lot and write a lot.’
It’s also about the style and shape and length of the work. King considers the paragraph the most important part of writing, instead of the sentence.
Everyone is free to think and decide for themselves because it’s the only way to learn and improve ourselves. We sometimes do not understand life and its negative aspects, but everyone reaches a point when all the pieces fall together. I do believe that everything happens for a reason.
The paths that lead us to success might be full of dead ends. Stephen King had a hard childhood and his career had a rough start. But that doesn’t stop him from doing what he knows best, and doing it well. The best teachers are the ones who know their limits.
In the end, you’ll find out that there’s no perfect recipe for good writing, nor for life. You just feel it and then … Fuhgeddaboudit!
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