On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Stephen King - Charles Scribner's Sons

Read By: Anna_sant


You must have recognized that title, right? “IT” is one of many successful fiction books written by Stephen King. Some time ago in September 2017, IT was made into another movie which was a remake of the previous one. It gained a remarkable attention from people across the globe. Well, who does not like a creepy clown who likes to wait for kids under the sewer?

Seeing how successful his books are, many people cannot help but wonder: How could he wrote successful fictions like that? What kind of struggles he found through the years being a writer?

To answer those questions, you might want to read this book of his: “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”

It’s a book about Stephen King’s experiences as a writer and relays his advice for aspiring writers. I am really excited to read this book! I bet it will be good. Hope I can be as aspiring as those famous people out there. Someday, we will. Someday. 🙂

NRDateBook's Chapter/PagesPages/WordsPlaceTime
130 November 2017First, Second, Third Foreword and C.V (page 7-18)12Boarding house10 mins

What really caught my attention is the fact that Steve at one point wanted to write a book about writing but held back because he did not think that he had anything worth saying in such kind of book. Even if he had written and sold so may books, he did not think it's a good enough reason to 'arrogantly' told people how to write. However, he finally decided to write it in the end because of a fellow writer who told him in a very simple and direct way that it was okay to write it. :)

25 December 2017CV 1-15 (page 18-40)22In my room munching on a dry coffe-flavored donut35 mins

I immediately regret my decision to eat a snack while reading this. Little Steve ate a lot of eggs and then getting locked in a cupboard. In that cupboard he threw up all over himself. Imagine his mother's expression getting home with a sleeping son in her cupboard with puke all over himself.

All in all, this part had been great with funny stories about Steve's childhood.

37 December 2017CV 16-21 (page 40-60)20On mah bed24 mins

What I like about this part is the part where the now-high-schooler Steve got a lesson from John Gould, an editor of Lisbon's weekly newspaper. Steve learned from Gould about how we should write with the door closed, and rewrite with the door open. That's cool I think. I also learned something from Gould! I finally know why Steve said at the first part of the book that editor's work os divine. No kidding.

48 December 2017CV 22-28 (page 60-77)18Still on mah bed24 mins

This part tells about how Steve met his love in college, Tabitha, whom later will be his wife. After that, it is only about how they survived after college with two children with low-paying jobs. In the end, Steve stopped working at the laundry and got a job as a teacher while still write in his spare time.

59 December 2017CV 29-31 (page 77-87)11Always with mah bed10 mins

This part is about how Steve finally got his book to be published and got $ 200,000 royalty. Fantastic, huh? That's not without so much effort in his part, though. I think it's great he could find spirit after a very long time of hardships. Of how he got sad that he was just doing the same thing as his mother despite being more educated. Of how his writing had not been recognized yet and then he told himself that many people only got success when they were on their old days. It's admirable. He also got a very supportive wife! He later got her a hair-dryer to celebrate Mother's day and his new book huge success.

610 December 2017CV 32-36 (page 87-99)12My wet, lovely room17 mins

It's sad to read how his mother died and then Steve got into a really bad case of addiction to alcohol and drugs. He even got angry at people who won't finish their bottle of wine at a restaurant. I got so much respect toward his wife who was really supportive and always there for him. In the end, she gave him two choices; either he get a help from the rehab or he got out of the house. Tabby and his children loved him that's why they did not want to see him dead.

711 December 2017CV 37-38 (page 99-101)3My friend's boarding house (finally out of my own room)8 mins

It's about the afterwards of his problems and the end of this part. It's a bit overwhelming and I think it's really brave of him to share his darkest moment to the rest of the world. It'll be a very good lesson for us. :)

812 December 2017What Writing Is and Toolbox Part 1 (page 103-118)13On da floor18 mins

Steve compared writing with telepathy and everything magical. I like how he has such metaphor for writing. In the toolbox part, he compared the writing tools with the usual toolbox in his story with his uncle. He said that on the top shelf of your toolbox is vocabulary. Don't try to improve your vocabulary because it will be improved as you read more, and just write the first vocabulary that comes to mind rather than using the words that are not really what you're comfortable with.

913 December 2017Toolbox Part 2 and 3 (page 118-128)11Leaning on my bedroom's door18 mins

"Grammar is not just a pain in the ass; it’s the pole you grab to get your thoughts up on their feet and walking."

So, this time on the top shelf of your toolbox is grammar. It's hilarious to know Steve hates passive sentences and adverbs with all his might. This part is like a structure class with honest opinion from the lecturer.

I still laugh at "He closed the door firmly."

1014 December 2017Toolbox Part 4 (page 129-135)6On my beloved, fluffy bedh15 mins

This part is about writing style. Steve tells me here if a structured writing (like academic writing) is led by the melody, then fictions are led by the beat. A writer writes following the beat in his/her head without acknowledging whether the grammar is correct or not. It's really fascinating how writing can be such an art that can make the readers pulled into it and forget that they are even reading a book.

I'm enjoying reading this book so far.

1115 December 2017Toolbox Part 5 and On Writing Part 1 (page 135-150)15Leaning on my room's window now20 mins

"Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are
ready to fall out of your head. Even when no one is listening (or reading, or watching), every outing is a bravura performance, because you as the creator are happy. Perhaps even ecstatic."

This part is the best part so far.

I feel a bit embarassed to think that I rarely write or read real book nowadays until extensive reading class. I also don't feel to write anymore after my notebook broke. I don't like writing on my phone because my slippery thumbs prevent me to write properly; I was really frustrated.

This part poke at the most hurtful side of my heart. I think I have forgotten the most fantastical thing I've ever experienced: writing and reading. Well, there are two, but whatever.

I'm glad I picked this book. Thanks a lot, Steve.

1218 December 2017On Writing Part 2 and 3 (page 151-157)8In mah room12 mins

I get many things in this part. I really agree with Steve that we should write without distraction. When you write, just ignore the outside world. Let your fingers dance around the alphabets on whatever you are writing with. Once you get distracted, your magic will disappear and that's really despairing. I know this because I can finish a work when I don't have any distraction. Though I should proofread and revise my writing after that, it's really satisfying when you succeed in finishing a work in one sitting.

Ahh... I miss writing freely like that.

1319 December 2017On Writing Part 4 (page 157-162)6Outside my room but I forget9 mins

"What you need to remember is that there’s a difference between lecturing about what you know and using it to enrich the story. The latter is good. The former is not."

"What you know makes you unique in some other way. Be brave. Map the enemy’s positions, come back, tell us all you know. And remember that plumbers in space is not such a bad setup for a story."

I always wondered what I want to write next. I always think too hard about how to write something extraordinary that I do a mini-research to gather data for my own writing. It's fun and all, but sometimes I feel tired.

I guess next time I'll try Steve's advice. Use what you know to spice up your story. I think it will be usefuk to enrich the story with something you know because it's something you know and what's better than working with something you know?

This is my last entry for this semester. I'll miss this course. :)