On Writing

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On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is an autobiography and writing guide by Stephen King, published in 2000. It is a book about the prolific author's experiences as a writer. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly listed On Writing 21st on their list of The New Classics: Books - The 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008, making it King's only entry.[1] On July 13, 2010, Scribner will publish a 10th Anniversary edition of the book (ISBN 978-1439193631).


The first section of the book is an autobiography mainly concerning King's early exposure to fiction and his childhood attempts at writing. He describes his early attempts to get published, his success with his first novel Carrie, and his subsequent development as an extremely popular author. King also discusses his problems with drugs and alcohol.

The second section is practical advice on writing, from tips on grammar to ideas about developing plot and character. King describes it as a guide for how "a competent writer can become a good one." He stresses his beliefs that a writer should edit out unnecessary details and thoroughly avoid the use of unnecessary adverbs.

The third section is also autobiographical, in which he discusses the 1999 automobile accident in which the writer was struck by a vehicle while walking down an isolated country road. King describes serious injuries, his painful recovery and his struggle to start writing again.

King also includes part of a rough draft and an edited draft of his own story entitled "1408".

In the United Kingdom paperback version, a short story by Garret Adams entitled "Jumper" was included at the end of the book, which was the winner of the On Writing competition.


Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert commented on the book in his review for the movie Secret Window, which was based on a King novella: "A lot of people were outraged that he [King] was honored at the National Book Awards, as if a popular writer could not be taken seriously. But after finding that his book On Writing had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, I have gotten over my own snobbery."[2]


Carrie (1974) · 'Salem's Lot (1975) · The Shining (1977) · The Stand (1978) · The Dead Zone (1979) · Firestarter (1980) · Cujo (1981) · Christine (1983) · Pet Sematary (1983) · Cycle of the Werewolf (1983) · The Talisman (1984; with Peter Straub· It (1986) · The Eyes of the Dragon (1987) · Misery (1987) · The Tommyknockers (1987) · The Dark Half (1989) · Needful Things (1991) · Gerald's Game (1992) · Dolores Claiborne (1992) · Insomnia (1994) · Rose Madder (1995) · The Green Mile (1996) · Desperation (1996) · Bag of Bones (1998) · The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999) · Dreamcatcher (2001) · Black House (2001; with Peter Straub· From a Buick 8 (2002) · The Colorado Kid (2005) · Cell (2006) · Lisey's Story (2006) · Duma Key (2008) · Under the Dome (2009) · Blockade Billy (2010) · Doctor Sleep (TBA)

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