On Writing

Welcome to my On Writing summary by Stephen King!

One-Sentence-Summary: Stephen King’s only non-fiction book on being a writer, covering topics from improving your writing to finding an agent, interspersed with a biography of the author’s life.

booboo book rating: ★★★☆☆ (percentage of books with this rating: 36%)

Actionable Advice from On Writing

It’s an easy read but rather abstract. It’s not a how-to, which is fine, but I didn’t get much in terms of improving my writing. These are the most valuable advices I got:

Read: The Elements of Style

“2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%” (p. 282)

“Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story.” (o. 173)

Related: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” (p. 174)

“Murder your darlings” – Not made famous by Mr. King, but the saying among creatives to edit out those elements, whether it be writing or movies that you love, but ultimately, serve no purpose to the consumer.

For the biggest bang, I’d recommend reading p. 71 in Scott Adam’s Reframe Your Brain, which you can read here in my book summary.

You are reading my book review and summary by Stephen King. Be sure to check out my digital bookshelf for 100+ book summaries.

Interesting Vocabulary from On Writing

  • Obstreperous: noisy and difficult to control
  • Ruination: the action or fact of ruining someone or something or of being ruined
  • Dirigible: capable of being steered, guided, or directed (spotlight, missle, horse)
  • Fecundity: capable of producing an abundance of offspring; fertile
  • Soliloquy: speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself regardless of any hearers.
  • Tipple: drink alcohol, esp. habitually
  • Verisimilitude: the appearance of being true or real
  • Tawdry: showy but cheap and of poor quality
  • Chagrined: distress or embarrassment at having failed or been humiliated
  • Assiduous: showing great care and perseverance
  • deus ex machina: an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation

Did you know I’m an author? I wrote four books on real estate investing, travel, and language learning.

On Writing Summary: Best Quotes

  • “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of police society are numbered, anyways.” (p. 148)
  • “In my view, stories and novels consist of three parts: narration, which moves the story from point A to point B and finally to point Z; description, which creates a sensory reality for the reader; and dialogue, which brings characters to life through their speech.” (p. 163)
  • “There are lots of would-be censors out there, and although they may have different agendas, they all want basically the same thing: for you to see the world they see…or to at least shut up about what you do see that’s different.” (p. 186)
  • “Violence as a solution is woven through human nature like a damning red thread.” (p. 204)

Thanks for visiting my summary and thanks to Stephen King for writing On Writing!

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