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  • Richard Lohrey

"King" of the Craft of Writing

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

Even if you’re not a fan of the horror or supernatural fiction genre, you’d be hard pressed not to recognize the name Stephen King. His novels collectively have sold over 350 million copies worldwide and many of his works have been translated into film and television. His novels include Carrie,Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Pet Cemetery and one of my personal favorites Misery, which provides reason enough to perform thorough background checks on healthcare workers.

While there is no shortage of ideas to constantly inspire writers, I was always impressed with his voluminous portfolio of work. There are many gifted writers nowhere near as prolific as King. So how does he do it? The secret to King’s success can be found in his book, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft.

The book is a sublime combination of autobiography/workbook. It’s an intimate insight into his life from a “herky-jerky childhood” through adulthood living hand-to-mouth working at an industrial laundry facility to becoming one of the most successful authors of all time. He speaks candidly about his alcoholism and drug addiction as well as the car accident (a distracted driver slammed into him while taking a walk) that almost ended his life.

Regarding the craft of writing, King shares an abundance of observations and suggestions to help writers improve the quality, integrity and volume of their respective work. He even walks readers (and writers) through his personal day-to-day routine. What becomes overwhelmingly obvious is that King’s success boils down to one volitional trait (Spoiler Alert!) – discipline.

While hardly mimicking the cadence of a Stephen King novel, On Writing provides a page-turning profile of one of the most popular authors of all time as well as compelling insight into the craft of writing. I highly recommend it to non-fiction fans. If you’re a writer, On Writing ranks in the Top Ten most important reference books to have in your arsenal of resources.

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