Let’s talk about ‘The’ King, Stephen King, and his Memoir

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.


                   No credit for the Image used
Copyright © 2017 by Idle Muser. All rights reserved.


30 thoughts on “Let’s talk about ‘The’ King, Stephen King, and his Memoir

  1. I’ve read it too…unlike you, I did enjoy the accident info, so he gets all five stars from me. I read ‘On Writing’ before I read his fiction, then came back to it later. I think it’s THE best book for us writers to have on our shelf of this genre. Then I went on the read his novels, I couldn’t stop reading them, and I’m not even into horror! (I really didn’t think I’d ever read Stephen King, but it was a revelation). Why couldn’t I stop? because he draws you right in, he writes with a freedom of style I love, and because you really get to know his characters fast and care about them…and he writes with a strong realism with the added fantastastical and both become stronger through the mix…and as a writer, I’ve learned so much from him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, Lynne!
      There are writers who not only teach us about the tips and tricks of writing, but also about being ‘us’, about being authentic to all- maybe no, but oneself- yes; and he is one of such writers. 🙂
      I have his ‘IT’ in my drawer, ready to be attacked upon anytime soon. I’m excited and looking forward to my frightful days and nights. 😀
      Which of his novels are your favorite, or that you’d recommend?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Dark Tower series, The Stand, The Green Mile, Thinner, Needful Things, Duma key…those are top of my list. I can honestly say, i’ve never found the overtly frightening elements to haunt me at all, I find them tongue in cheek, and mostly relish the characters. Hope you enjoy IT!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful review although i am getting bad with my reading habits with every passing day but i am sure if you’ve reviewed it so positively, need to read soon(by the way you deduct points here too for just five pages..so strict)😂😇
    Have a great weekend ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Prashantt! 🙂
      I might (I do) get divulged from my writing, but reading?-never. Reading has become such a dear activity to me, that if a day passes by without my savoring a book/novel, I feel depressed. Such a magical feeling it is to read. ❤
      I hope you’ve got back to your reading track by now, as being a sloth, I am replying to this comment after five long days. 😀
      And no, no. They were more than five, I guess. If I can, I’d like to change my 4.5 to 4.9! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definately, I will try to manage time for daily reading and atleast you tends to reply to every comment wherein i missed on my blog many a times so i’ll pick this trait from you.😇
        Haahaa…Omg!! 4.5 – 4.9 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes. That I make sure to reply to each and every one who, in their busy schedules, took their time out to read my writings. Every comment means a lot to me, and only by replying to them can I pay my bit back to the ones who shared their views/ feedbacks.☺️

          Liked by 1 person

  3. It is one of the very few books that I have with myself in Bangalore! I bought it because I hoped it would make be a better writer. I was actually reading the first few pages last weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I am replying to you after six good long days, Arpita, I presume you either are about to finish the book or have already wrapped it up. 😀 Whatever the case is, I’m sure this book wouldn’t help you in becoming only a better writer, but also a better reader. 🙂
      Do tell me about your experience once you finish reading it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kudos for writing this post!
    How unfortunate of me, I have been thinking to read him since ages but the bucket list is always brimming with things and choices. I am gonna pick him soon. Lovely post. I loved reading it. Yayyy! ❤️😍😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Shreya! I’m chuffed that you loved the post. ❤
      The world we are in, has endless books but only limited time. No wonder that we always keep on cribbing on what we have been longing to read since months or even years. 😀
      But this book, Shreya, I’d urge you to have your eyes on as soon as possible. It’ll help you in a lot more ways than just writing. And don’t miss out on me to tell about your experience when you would read it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pradita! 🙂
      I’ve not read his ‘The Shining’ but have seen the movie when was in school.
      Glad to come across someone who isn’t much fond of him; this way I can have varied views. 😀
      Have you read any other of his novels? Just out of curiosity- why aren’t you fond of him, Pradita? Is it the genre? or his work, in specific?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Aditi. You guessed it right :D. I’m not a fan of the genre. Somehow creepiness in books doesnot compare to the horror on screen for me at least. So maybe that’s why 🙂 Apart from The Shining, I liked Salem’s Lot, which was also converted into a movie. But then again, I’m not into horror, so maybe that’s why I thought that the book was just ok. What about you? Do you like horror novels a lot?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Now I understand.
          Well, horror is one of my favorite genres. 😀 Though I’m yet to read any horror book, but have always loved watching horror movies. So, genre isn’t the problem here; the only thing that I might not like in a horror novel would be the story or the writing.
          Going to start reading one, soon. Let’s us see how it goes. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          1. But I thought you had read King’s horrors. Maybe you read his books in other genres then. Horror movies I too love wathing but the scare hangover afterwards just puts me off watching anymore f them now. The last I watched was The Haunting (new) and it creeped me out enough that I couldn’t sleep through the night. 😀 I’ve told myself now ‘no more horrors for you’ 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh no! I am yet to read his mainstream work.
              If I say I love horrors, it doesn’t mean that they don’t scare the hell out of me, that they don’t make me hide under my blanket, and clench the hands and wrists of the ones sitting beside me. But, I still love watching one.😁

              Liked by 1 person

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