Stephen King's Guidebook: On Writing Essay

1693 words - 7 pages


Stephen King’s “On Writing,” is a memoir of the author’s experiences as a writer and serves as a guidebook for those who choose to enter the craft of writing. Stephen King writes about his childhood and young adulthood, relating stories that made him the writer he has become. Stephen King then moves into the mechanics of writing, offering advice and insight into a successful career that has worked so well for him but remains distant for thousands of others.
“On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft” is not written in the traditional textbook format. The structure of this book works as an educational tool is because it offers a personal look at how writing has affected ...view middle of the document...

Stephen King uses imagery, detailed description, comparisons, and word choice to communicate information to his reader. Stephen King provides the reader with one of the most significant sources of research, his personal experience, in this non-fiction book. “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it "got boring"(178). The intimacy of the book gives the reader a closeness that takes away the clinical feel of a textbook, by passing some of the prejudices or boredom a person might normally have when approaching this particular subject.
“On Writing” is extremely informal presented in first person, the diction makes the reader feels as though Stephen King is speaking specifically to this one reader, as though a mentor offering advice to a student. The intended audience is the high school student, college student, or someone who recently decided to become a writer. Stephen King uses his unorthodox writing style to convey meaning, purpose or lesson on the craft of writing. King states, “Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.” (145). Teachers may find this useful as it allows the reader to see that texts do not stand alone, and instead that texts are built upon other texts. Offering a different perspective on how different skills are needed for writing, which then could be used by to identify changes that could be made to improve their writing skills.

“If you introduce a forty-year-old man as your main character on page one of your novel ... you'll still have to deal with the first forty years of the guy's life at some point.”(King 225) King writes about his childhood, early exposure to writing and his first attempts at it. His relationship with his wife Tabitha, the death of his mother and his history of drug and alcohol abuse and goes all the way to that first big success and then on to superstardom. “On Writing,” is also filled with humorous tales about the childhood escapades King and his brother got into.
King’s personal stories inspire the reader because similarities can be found between themselves and Stephen King. For example "I lived an odd, herky-jerky childhood, raised by a single parent who moved around a lot in my earliest years...” (King 17) Nothing is more thrilling than seeing someone that one admires as human, is just like everyone else. Stephen King offers these stories in order to build a rapport with his reader.
Stephen King uses visual terms, complete and fragment sentences, and short paragraphs to capture and engage the reader. For example his style of writing allows the reader mentally visualize the two-hundred-pound babysitter. King bends the traditional rules of writing in order to put emphasis on the meaning of a paragraph, person, or situation. King states, "All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe writing offers the purest...

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