What I’m Reading: Steven King’s On Writing

This should maybe be titled What I’ve Read, since I finished it a couple days ago: Steven King’s On Writing.  It came to me highly recommended by more than one person, and I found it well-written and entertaining.  Part auto-biography and part how-to guide, and all readable.  Alas, like pretty much every writing book I’ve ever read (Strunk & White being the one exception) there wasn’t a whole lot of advice I found useful.

Read a lot.  Write a lot.  Know your grammar.  Have a place set aside.  All good recommendations, all familiar to any writer whose read more than one of these books.

There were two things in the book I did find helpful, one a piece of advice, one a bit from his biography.  The advice bit was that you should write your rough draft all the way through before going back to edit.  He’s not the first person I’ve heard this from, but I’ve decided to follow this with my current WiP.  It’s always tempting to go back and edit before you’re really done with the first draft, but it’s probably faster his way.  Might help make some of the middle part of the book (always my least favorite part) less of a slog if I’m not writing and editing at the same time.

The biography bit was finding out the he’d written three books before his first, Carrie, was published.  Stephen King himself, the man with seeming 1000 books on the shelves, didn’t get a bite from a publisher until book #4!  And once he was well-known, he was able to go back and sell two of the earlier ones, which actually weren’t that bad.  It’s just that selling anything as a first-time author is tough to do.

Gives me hope–just keep on writing, and if the current book I’m shopping around doesn’t attract an agent, it may still end up published later on.  Perhaps as part of a package deal?  Actually, if it keeps me writing and upbeat, I suppose On Writing did exactly what is was supposed to.

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