Review: On Writing

On Writing Book Cover
On Writing Non-Fiction Hodder & Stoughton Audiobook 7h 59m Audible

“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)

An excellent book that is both a memoir and an excellent outline of the main tools you need in your writer’s toolbox if you want to be taken seriously as a writer.

Stephen King’s approach to writing is story-driven, not plot-driven, so eschews away from other guides which suggest a need for endless pre-planning, outlines, character notes, etc. It’s refreshing to hear this, and it’s a great explanation of why, where and how to write.

Coloured with his personal stories and experiences, you learn why these things are important, so it becomes more than just another textbook. Read by Mr King himself, it’s also injected with humour and excellent intonation throughout.

This is a book that aspiring writers should study, not just read.

And his story of being hit by a van while he was writing this book is both a wonderful example of his engaging writing and a chilling warning to not get distracted while you are driving. The impact you have on others lives is hideous (no pun intended).

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By Edward

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    About me

    About 40 years ago, I discovered role-playing and Dungeons and Dragons in one of the after school clubs. It revealed a universe that allowed me to flex my storytelling muscles and enjoy a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi and feed the escapist dreamer inside.

    Over time, I played (and story-led - marked with *) many systems including Call of Cthulhu*, Shadowrun, Dungeons & Dragons*, Middle Earth, In Nomine*, Bushido, Chivalry & Sorcery, Chill, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Gammaworld, Hawkmoon, Stormbringer, Immortals*, Marvel Super Heroes, Paranoia, RuneQuest, Vampire: The Masquerade*, and a couple of systems my own devising (Medieval* and Parody*).

    I explored live-action role-playing – eventually running my own club and creating my own LARP systems (Fools Gold and Dream Conquest) – and usually found myself in script-writing or game-master duty, writing over 500 individual live adventures over the period (usually weekly), many linked into the world events of the fantasy land we created. I also volunteered for Curious Pastimes and Lorien Trust at their main LARP events (special effects at the Ritual Circle), and did a little script work, cameos and improv for Curious Pastimes. I was also the South East's Editor (UK) for the LARP magazine The Adventurer. The biggest event I ran was a 10-month modern-day "murder mystery" LARP set around parts of Kent where characters were "always-on" and could get updates and interactions at any time outside of scheduled events. That was in the 1990s.

    I was also the artistic director for English Heritage for their live Halloween Horrors events at Fort Amherst in Kent from 1998-1999.

    Now, I write as the mood takes me with occasional competitions and challenges, and this year (2020) I will be taking on #NaNoWriMo.

    Here's to the future!