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Publisher's Summary

"Not since Dickens has a writer had so many readers by the throat…. King's imagination is vast. He knows how to engage the deepest sympathies of his readers…. It is part biography, part collection of tips for the aspiring writer. In the final chapters, King tells, in graphic details, the story of his recent accident…. a bizarre and absorbing story, told brilliantly by one of the great storytellers of our time."
Guardian

In June of 1999, Stephen King was hit by a van while walking along the shoulder of a country road in Maine. Six operations were required to save his life and mend his broken body. When he was finally able to sit up, he immediately started writing. This book is the extraordinary result.

©2000 Stephen King (P)2000 Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This is the written equivalent of Delia Smith's How To Cook. And, like British home cooking, the world of popular fiction will be better off for it." ( The Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Cracker of a book

Great book with very actionable writing technics.

You would think after reading I could write a better review, but here we are..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Spoiler:- It was the dog sniffing the cooler

If you could sum up On Writing in three words, what would they be?

One Good Author

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favourite character was Stephen himself (or Steve as I like to call him (NB: I would call him 'Steph', but that reads more like an infection rather than a name)), and in all honesty this was quite surprising. I had enjoyed reading his novels 20 odd years ago but have since grown out of them and so have not read any in quite a while. This book was recommended to me, I gave it a read and found that I enjoyed it more than expected.

What about Stephen King’s performance did you like?

His sexy sexy voice. OK, you got me, it's not sexy, but it sure as hell wasn't a high pitched nerdy squeak that I was expecting.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My emotional reaction was "Oh my God!". I am in the midst of writing a book and read 'how to books' to keep inspired and on track. In the main those books are pretty good, inspiring and informative, but they are worlds apart from this. Not that this book teaches you anything as such (none of them ever do, the secret is to write), it is rather that this book is so well written it is uninspiring. How can anyone craft a set of words as well as this person can? Reading (OK, hearing) what Steve has written it is easy to hear the years of dedication he has spent honing his craft. The prose joins together so easily and listening was such a joy that I found myself wanting more. He writes about incidents that told by anyone else would be uninspiring. But by Steve, I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen next, what he would say next.

Any additional comments?

Alright. I hate going into things expecting them to be Earth shattering only to find out that they are good. I am then left disappointed as my expectation was not met. The above is my opinion and a lot of you may not agree with it. Some of you will think the book is good, one or two of you will think it is OK and one of you will think it is crap (but lets face it that guy is a negative dude anyway). The point is, if you are going to the trouble of reading this review all the way up to this point, then just get the book. You won't know if the book is for you by reading someone else opinion on it, so just get it and read (listen) to it. It may not be the best book you've read, but I can guarantee that it won't be the worst. Oh, and my title to this review? you will know what I mean at the end.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Well worth a listen.

I've been a fan of Stephen King's novels since I was young. Many of his stories planted the seeds for my interest in the horror/supernatural genre. It was very interested in hearing such a successful and prolific writer give a run down of his writing process.
The first part of this book is autobiographical. I believe this to be important in giving the listener/reader an idea of how a person such a King comes to be a writer in the first place, and how events in his life have influenced him as a writer.

The second half deals with the actual writing process. This was very interesting to read.
It is sometimes easy to believe that writers such as King manifest award winning novels in their sleep with little to no effort, while the rest of us have to grind through hours of bad writing and false starts to achieve a result. King's honest run down of his process does well to dispel this belief, which I found very reassuring!

I'd recommend this book to prospective writers who are looking for pointers and inspiration, and also to fans of Stephen King's work who would be interested in learning about his life and the processes he used to create some of their favorite stories.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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So good!

I struggled with committing to this purchase, well worth it! Loved it! I heart you Stephen

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Love love love love

Whilst I'm not a die-hard SK fan I am still a fan. Him narrating this is the best part because his humour and wit shines through ten fold. First half of the book does tell a lot about him which I quite like and although I would have liked more, it is a memoir on writing so he does really get on with exactly that. Highly recommend not just for writers - but be warned this will inspire you to write something ANYTHING.

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a book anyone avid reader should partake in

the book may be about the process of writing but it is much more about the authors process and something of a character study. it's an interesting look in to the process and the history of Stephen King

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Great read

Felt a little sad that it ended. A perfect amount of advice and life experiences and anecdotes. A little bit for everybody. This was my second read and enjoyed it even for this time round.

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  • Lizz
  • Australia
  • 14-03-2018

Wow - can’t wait to close he door!

Thankful, that’s the feeling I’m left with after listening to Stephen King read “On Writing”.

This book is filled with goodies, from what constitutes a useful toolbox for a writer to the when and how of what to draw upon.

The text practical and humorous, honest and raw and humbling to listen too.

To Stephen - My sincere thanks for your words and your encouragement to write and for all the joy your writing brings as a reader. You’re approach to writing is not one I’ve heard before but it makes so much sense to me that when I began your exercise I found a space, drew the shades, cleared the electronics and closed door and was upset when I realised that I’d run out of afternoon and had to go to an appointment. Can’t wait to get back to the closed door phase of my own writing, and excited about how to capture the world that has been rumbling around in my imagination for quite some time.

So much of what you wrote and read, rang true for me and I’m sure will for others who wish to write.

Brilliant read :-)

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Enjoyable and very helpful

I really enjoyed this book. I’m new to writing and have a book sitting on my desk but that’s about it. I’ve had a lot of questions and this book helped answer a lot of them. I’m very grateful it crossed my path. Thanks

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thoroughly enjoyable

great insight in to the mind of one of the greatest writers of all time.

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  • Karen
  • 10-09-2012

Part 'How to' part Autobiographical

Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

Yes - easier to access for busy budding writers

What other book might you compare On Writing to and why?

None, Stephen King's advice and narration are so easy to listen to and his honesty is very inspiring.

Have you listened to any of Stephen King’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, Bag of Bones, love his voice, this was a different type of book and very easy to listen to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was very moved when he admitted and owned his alcoholism.

Any additional comments?

I love his message, writers need to understand that he wasn't born with a golden spoon. He worked very hard at some seriously menial jobs and perservered with his writing when most of us would be making excuses.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • 02-02-2014

Not a fan of his genre but this is wonderful

Horror and suspense have never been my thing. I only know Stephen King's work through books that have been turned into movies.

After reading this, I'm thinking perhaps I'll try one of his stories.

I bought this book because it seems to be universally recommended by writers I respect.

Glad I did as I loved it from start to finish.

The first part, where he tells his early life story is hilarious, intimate and interesting. You get to understand why he writes what he writes. I was also left thinking I'd love to have this guy as a friend.

He narrates beautifully. As such, I'm glad I got the Audible version first rather than the hard copy or Kindle.

I found what he has to say about his craft humble, helpful and inspiring. He's at pains to dispel some of the common "thou shallts" of writing fiction, such as plotting out in advance and creating character dossiers in advance.

I won't spoil it for you by summarising the rest. All I want to say is, if you write, whatever you write, you will find this useful and uplifting. You'll also be entertained.

I'll most likely buy a hard copy or Kindle version too as there's lots of useful stuff I'd like to refer back to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Merlin Gottemukkala
  • 17-08-2018

candid, insightful & entertaining -King's way

Right from the start, it was humourous and King never drifted away from the most important topic and his real life experiences and other examples were really helpful...a great and insightful for aspiring writers like me...thanks King..your narration was as entertaining as your writing.

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  • R.Rolle
  • 16-08-2018

Inspirational!

"writing is about getting happy." - Steven King
those words truly states the reason why writers write and continue to do so.

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  • milo
  • 12-08-2018

i love this book

if you want to know more about writing no nonsense style with a big grin on your face, well, look no further.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nick
  • 31-07-2018

Glad I got it

I enjoyed listening to this book, apart from the intermittent use of obscene language. will pick up a hard copy as well and go through again.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-06-2018

Technically corrupt. Don't buy!

cannot be lisstened to. corrupt file, skips every 3d second. do not buy! seriously! really!

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  • Christine
  • 19-01-2018

Lovely, Honest, Inspiring

What did you like best about this story?

Stephen King's honesty and incredibly fun, light-hearted way of telling his story.

Which scene was your favorite?

Stephen King definitely gives some incredible tips, very practical ones even, for the aspiring writer. A must-read for everyone who wants to get creative between the sheets... of paper.

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  • Tanille R.
  • 11-03-2017

Life Changer

A life changer for writers and non-writers alike. Steven kept me great company, made me laugh and made me feel less alone in a big wide world. I now hear his voice in my head instead of my own - telling me tales and urging me on through my day.

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  • Random Reviewer
  • 08-03-2017

Loved it.

It took me a while to get through this but I considered it like delicious nips of fine chocolate. I didn't want to gorge all at once.

Although it wasn't a book on craft like I assumed, it was more motivational and inspiring. Reaffirming.

I'm embarrassed to admit I've never read anything by the King before but I definitely will in the future.

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  • Blinkinmarvellous
  • 13-04-2013

Great personal insight

A rare thing - a modern writer, a great to many, willing to stop and reflect on his success, share his thoughts AND read it himself for the audiobook version. On Writing is part autobiography, part discourse on creative writing read engagingly by the author throughout.



Don't be put of by the autobiographical element if all you are after is creative writing tips; likewise, don't be put off by the tips if your interest lies in King's life story. The two work well together.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • stephen
  • 28-11-2013

Genius

Would you consider the audio edition of On Writing to be better than the print version?

I have both the print and the audio version and there are benefits to both. The print is useful as a quick reference guide but the audio is just a brilliant and engaging story and guide to writing

What did you like best about this story?

The insight into Stephen King's mind as well as the tips on writing. It made me want to start writing and also left me in awe at his ability to construct the perfect phrase.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I loved reading about the ideas for his books, how one simple idea would slowly transform into a long novel.

Any additional comments?

Utterly brilliant, exactly what an audio book should be, if you are on a long journey or doing a task long tedious task you can get yourself lost in the words of Stephen King, this audio book helped a 3 hour drive up the motorway fly by.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kev Partner
  • 27-08-2012

Masterful

Until I listened to this book, I hadn't read any Stephen King books as I'm not a huge fan of the horror genre (more a sci-fi/historical fan). But this is utterly mesmerising.

Narrated by King himself, it begins with an account of how he became the writer he is. At the start I wondered what the point was in this, but it gives context and depth to the whole work and is, in itself, fascinating.

He then knuckles down to giving practical, workmanlike and controversial advice. Throughout, he acknowledges that this is just the way he does it - but it certainly produces results for him.

You then get some practical advice on finding and dealing with an agent and suchlike before, as an epilogue, he details, graphically, the accident that occurred half way through the writing of this book. Thank heavens he survived otherwise this masterwork might never have been published.

Entertaining, occasionally funny and profane (or funny because its occasionally profane) I have already listened to this twice and intend to do so again. I've also taken his advice and it's paying off.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr Zube
  • 08-05-2013

Autobiographical and a manual for writing

The narration by King himself is great, once you get used to his slightly unusual tone. This guy knows about writing and it is a fascinating insight into how King writes. I listened to this in part, a large part to be honest, to get my own writing going again. In some respects this was pretty hard as some of kings advice i struggle to see how I could follow, however many of the tips I could see myself following. The main thing is the sheer love King has for writing is so obvious throughout, and that I found very inspiring.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mick
  • 05-05-2015

Not a King fan but this is excellent

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely, this is well thought out advice from one of the most successful writers of our time.

Any additional comments?

I've not read much Stephen King but I have no hesitation in recommending this audiobook.

It provides many, many useful writing tips and advice and if you are writer you cannot fail but to gain something from it regardless of your experience level.

You only have to look at the number of writing courses and text books which quote from this text to see how valuable it is.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 19-05-2015

Essential read for any writer

This was my first audiobook experience, and I couldn't have chosen any better. Pure magic!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Earl Robinson
  • 01-03-2015

Memorable and Inspiring

The most memorable thing about this book was its honesty - Stephen King allows us to see through the window of his life to get a glimpse of the man and the writer. The most inspiring aspect of this book was the permission it provides to those of us who aspire to write but doubt ourselves. Stephen King, thank you. Thank you for the permission to try, permission to fail, and permission to try again. You are an inspiration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jax
  • 19-02-2015

The Master Storyteller!

Being a lifelong Stephen King fan, I found this insight into his life and process of writing completely fascinating and compelling. It has also made me want to pick up a pen and get writing, even though that was not my reason for buying it! Listening to him read gave it the feel of a conversation with the great man himself. If you are an aspiring writer or just a fan of his books, this is a fantastic listen and I whizzed through it, wishing for more at the end. Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Alison St Pierre
  • 06-11-2014

Great book for "would be" writers.

The american accent grates after a while and the narration is wooden and lacks fluidity, but the content is sharp, inspirational and extremley valuable for novice writers. The pace is acceptable but so many of his tips and words of wisdom could do with a pen and paper at the ready to capture this valuable information. Perhaps audible could consider providing a summary of key points for customers who have purchased a book? This is not the first time that I have been listening to a great book whilst driving, with no opportunity to record detail and ended up frustrated at the loss of specific information that would be very useful to my personal development!!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Joanne G.
  • 07-07-2014

Interesting and informative

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Any one who dreams of being a writer should read this book. It's not a writing manual, but more of a guide on how to develop the tools all writers need. With practical examples and advice drawn from his own experience and writing career, King takes the reader on a guided tour of his development as a writer and highlights some of the skills he believes good writing should demonstrate.

What did you like best about this story?

This is part autobiography and part writers aid and is full of little details that keep the listener interested all the way to the end. If you like biographies or Stephen King, you can't really go wrong with this book

What about Stephen King’s performance did you like?

King's voice takes a little getting used to, but once you have the rhythm of his speech in your head, his voice is engaging and he has some very interesting points to make.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did listen to this in one sitting, but it's a book you can dip in and out of and your leisure as well.

Any additional comments?

For fans of Stephen King this is a must read book, but for me the best way to 'read' this book was to listen King's voice narrating his own story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful