On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

This book is both a memoir and a how-to on writing. You get to know him as a person: there is a touching scene where King, standing in his kitchen, asks his publisher to repeat the price for the paperback rights to Carrie—$400,000—because he feels it must be a mistake. He was struck by a van in the middle of writing the book, and the end is heartrending in detailing the accident and his recovery. And the writing advice is excellent. The how-to sections are filled with great lines like, “hate and mistrust pronouns, every one of them as slippery as a fly-by-night personal-injury lawyer” and “writing is refined thinking.” My takeaways: no pronouns; the adverb is not your friend; no passive voice; and write with the door closed, but rewrite with the door open—all easier said than done. It has been nearly universally recognized as an indispensable classic on the craft of writing.