I have never read a single Steven King novel or short story – I know, I know – and I don’t write fiction, but this book was recommended highly, and I figured I would give it a try given the struggles I am experiencing with my current project.
King is an engaging, entertaining writer. He is so extremely relatable, it’s easy for me to imagine how his characters in his novels connect with people. The mini memoir/autobiography that opens the book is so good it makes me want to read a full autobiography – even though much would be lost on me, given how I’ve never read him. He does, occasionally, come across as an Old White Man, but so what?
King’s tips for writers are straightforward (downright obvious, at times) but many of them are essential tips – some I’ve come to learn on my own over the years, some I was not aware of. They are presented in a style that is never condescending and always encouraging. (Even though he doesn’t know the reader, King writes as if he did, which is really different than most of these self-help books.) He goes so far into his own process that he even shows us how he does it, which is invaluable for writers struggling with confidence. (“See, you can do what I do!” whether or not that’s actually true. It’s really encouraging.)
Though this book is not for me (as I don’t write fiction) I still found it immensely helpful, encouraging and entertaining. You owe it to yourself to read this book if you are at all trying to write. (Or even if you just like King.) I suspect it is among the best books ever written on the technical aspects of writing fiction.