Advice from Stephen King


For Writers

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8 thoughts on “Advice from Stephen King

  1. Stephen King giving advice on writing is like studying a book on microwave cooking before taking a final examine at a cordon bleu cooking school.

    I suggest instead people search out Annie Dillard’s THE WRITING LIFE and LIVING BY FICTION. After immersing yourself in Dillard, King will look pretty lame by comparison…

  2. Actually, I resisted reading Stephen King for a long long time due to my bias against overly popular bestseller fiction. But I was really surprised when I finally caved, because the man knows how to tell a story. As with all writers, there are some of his books and stories that aren’t of the best, but I still think he has much talent and skill in writing. And to have actually produced a substantial body of work – he must have something worthwhile to say on the subject.

  3. Actually, I resisted reading Stephen King for a long long time due to my bias against overly popular bestseller fiction. But I was really surprised when I finally caved, because the man knows how to tell a story. As with all writers, there are some of his books and stories that aren’t of the best, but I still think he has much talent and skill in writing. And to have actually produced a substantial body of work – he must have something worthwhile to say on the subject.

    It’s also great that Neil Gaiman also said the same thing about READING. (For the record, I think Neil Gaiman tells a great story also!)

  4. chennette, I will delete the duplicate comment in a while but more comments look better than less 🙂

    I also resisted Stephen King for a while but constant eye contact with his books on the bestsellers shelves made me give in. I am sure he has something to say that some people want to hear. I think he can get into a twisted mind like no one else. But I don’t know if he had or has a twisted one. I also read On Writing when it first came out and found it very interesting and surprising. It is a semi-autobiographical novel and it will appeal to King’s fans and the curious.

    I am now reading Lisey’s Story and it is my first King book in years. I am only on page 108 of 688 but I like it so far. It’s hard cover so you can imagine the wrist pain I have to endure. No spoilers here.

    Cliff, I will checkout Living by Fiction and see what it’s like.

  5. I think Cliff is being overly harsh re King’s authority or ability to give writing advice. I never used to read him because I shared Chennette’s bias, and I had the impression that his work was ‘horror’, which is not a genre that I seek out.

    A few years ago a friend lent me On Writing and I liked it so much that I decided to dip my toe in King’s waters. Read only The Dead Zone thus far, and I have to concede: the man can write. He can tell a story. And his advice on writing is not at all esoteric, but practical and down to earth. Dammit, I learned important stuff from this guy. Apart from which, who can argue with the advice he gives in that video clip?

    Having said that, thanks for the Dillard recommendations. I’ll add them to my wish list.

  6. People are normally harsh on popular writers and it is almost as if being popular means being hollow. With Stephen King it is definitely not hollow and the “horror” setting is simply the avenue he uses to create great characters. The Stephen King books I recommend are Dolores Claiborne, Hearts in Atlantis and probably Lisey’s Story (but only when I am finished).

  7. You’re right. I’ve seen people trash Dan Brown, for example, and although I haven’t read him the vitriol seemed over the top. Thanks for the recommendations – I’ve noted them.

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