I never ventured into King-dom, not because of the mishap recounted above, but because I don't read horror. I like the movies though, so I read Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, and after experiencing The Shining, I read about the Overlook. I wasn't too impressed. It was wordy, too long, and only occasionally did the hairs on my neck demand that I shut that book and try not too look outside at the blackboard night on whom someone was writing, slowly but with careful intent, my name in blood...
So it is strange that the first King book I've really liked is non-fictional. In On Writing, King takes a practitioner's view of writing. He feels blessed to be able to write and make money off it. He wouldn't probe that bit of magic too much. Instead, he makes sure he doesn't take it for granted and work at it like hell.
King begins with a brief autobiography - he thinks it would be good for me to know how some of that must have affected his work. He then constructs a toolbox for writing. It is suprisingly small (vocab and grammar on top, Strunk and White in the middle, organisation below). Just basic skills.
The last section is On Writing. If you had to read anything about writings, you should read this. He talks about themes, about the way he revises, about reading, about blocks, about ideas and flow. It works for him, but you don't have to do it that way. This section is written with great clarity and cohesion.
If I had to apply Strunk and White's mantra of "omit all unnecessary words", this post should read as:
"Read a lot, write a lot" - Stephen King, "On Writing".Cross-posted on our group lit blog