What do we ideally do when we want to read a writer’s work for the first time, especially if it’s fiction writer we’re talking about? We go about his/her bestsellers or the top rated novel or work suggested by some creditable reader and venture off to a journey with this new fellow. Right? At least, I go about reading this way.
But this time I started off with a new author, Stephen King, whom I had been thinking of reading from a long while, with his non-fiction. A memoir to be precise. And as you have found me writing about this book-On Writing, there need not be any doubt how much I liked it. I loved it, in fact. 4.5 stars out of 5. Why? Code shall crack itself in further lines.
While reading ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ what impressed me the most was the honesty with which the book was written. No blemishes were covered, no dark truths were hidden; you could see all the bruises and also how they healed; you could see the darkness but only to discover how and when the light finally prevailed.
He was a son of a single mom who had to work really hard to meet even the ends. He had been an alcoholic and a drug addict. I don’t want to preach about how a struggling lower-middle class American boy turned out to be one of the most known and best-selling authors. But his struggles told me a lot about the author-no matter what happened, he always came back to writing; if asked what is passion?-I’d definitely look up to King.
Well, book almost started the way our life started-childhood. Like many other well-known writers, King also had a knack for writing since his young days. To support the fact he mentioned many of his school-days’ incidents, most of which would make you laugh.
Book could have gone astray but, of course, it didn’t. King made sure whatever incidents, whatever memories he was sharing were relevant to writing-that is another aspect of the book which I loved. Book delivers you what it promised when you started with it.
Though, I’d confess that by the end, when mostly I’m always too excited to finish any book, I skimmed a few pages-the ones where he described about his accident in 1999; even while skimming I felt those pages (the end ones) lacked the quality that the whole book had made me comfortable with. But other than those few pages, the whole book was my favorite pizza to savor. It were only these pages that made me reluctant to not to give 5 stars to the book.
If I were given a chance to know about the backstory of one of my favorite writer’s book, I’d even kill someone for that opportunity (okay, maybe I won’t go that far.) And throughout this book I got to get intimate with number of such backstories, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Getting to know how Misery came to life, how Carrie came to life, how The Shining came to life, was an incredible experience. I won’t go into the details; I’d urge you to read the book if you really want to know.
“If not for heart and imagination, the world of fiction would be pretty seedy place. It might not even exist at all.”
I’m so in love with this beauty by him.
Like any other art form, writing has critics too. And not only the critics but the ones who can never get along with what you have written. Never. Ever. King has always been at the receiving end of such criticisms. Yes, right from his school days. I especially liked the lines-“I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent”- in this context.
And just like most of us he also faced many rejections in his initial days. Rejection is a word that nobody wants to encounter but nonetheless does. Though I, again, found one of his lines to lighten the mood –
“When you’re still too young to shave, optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.”
If all this weren’t enough to make me fall in love with ‘On Writing’, King also shared his tips on writing, which doubtlessly must have been in here if one goes by the book’s name, on what to avoid while writing and what not to and lot more.
One of the most useful tips that I found was a formula. Yes, a mathematical formula. I hope you’re good with Mathematics because this’d need a bit of your quantitative aptitude. So, the formula goes something like-
2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%
This formula would be beneficial for the ones like me, who knows when to start writing but needs some external force to stop; who, no matter how hard they try, always ends up writing a lot, and a lot more than needed or required.
I’ve always admired one of King’s quote, which I found in this book too-
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Books being my darlings and reading being my most cherishable part of the day, I am ardent believer of this quote. And on finishing this book I realized what King quoted out there had actually come out from his own experience; his whole life has been about reading; reading came before writing for him.
This reflects how crucial writing is for him and so is he for me from now on.
If you ask whether book was honest?-Dude! book wouldn’t have been this effective and well-received if not for its brutal and plain honesty.
Have you read this book? Have you read any of his mainstream books? I’d love to hear about your experience and views on him/his work.
IF YOU ARE A FIRST- TIME VISITOR OF MY BLOG, DO REFER ‘First-Timers‘. IT WOULD HELP YOU IN EXPLORING THE PLACE.
No credit for the Image used
Copyright © 2017 by Idle Muser. All rights reserved.