ON WRITING: A Memoir of the Craft

Stephen King, Author, Stephen King, Read by
Stephen King, Author, Stephen King, Read by , read by the author. Simon & Schuster $35 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-58236-4
Reviewed on: 06/04/2001
Release date: 10/01/2000
Prebound-Other - 297 pages - 978-1-4176-4701-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-6337-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-1-4165-4986-4
Hardcover - 431 pages - 978-0-7432-0436-1
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-684-85352-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-684-01254-4
Open Ebook - 289 pages - 978-0-7432-1153-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-0665-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-671-02425-3
Paperback - 978-0-7434-2487-5
Paperback - 978-0-7434-2486-8
Prebound-Glued - 288 pages - 978-0-7569-0589-7
Hardcover - 291 pages - 978-1-4391-9363-1
Paperback - 978-1-4391-7874-4
Paperback - 412 pages - 978-4-09-408764-2
Paperback - 978-1-4391-7903-1
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-22254-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 297 pages - 978-0-7434-5596-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-7434-5471-1
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As his diehard fans know, King is a member of a writers-only rock 'n' roll band (Amy Tan is also a member), and this recording starts off with a sampling of their music. It may sound unsettling to some, but King quickly puts listeners at ease with his confident, candid and breezy tone. Here, King tells the story of his childhood and early influences, describes his development as a writer, offers extensive advice on technique (read: write tight and no bullshit) and finally recounts his well-known experience of being hit by a drunk driver while walking on a country road in 1999—and the role that his work has played in his rehabilitation. While some of his guidance is not exactly revolutionary (he recommends The Elements of Style as a must-have reference), other revelations that vindicate authors of popular fiction, like himself, as writers, such as his preference for stressing character and situation over plot, are engrossing. He also offers plenty of commonsense advice on how to organize a workspace and structure one's day. While King's comical childhood anecdotes and sober reflections on his accident may be appreciated while driving to work or burning calories on a treadmill, the book's main exercise does not work as well in the audio format. King's strongest recommendation, after all, is that writers must be readers, and despite his adept performance, aspiring authors might find that they would absorb more by picking up the book. Based on the Scribner hardcover (Forecasts, July 31, 2000). (Jan.)

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