On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


I got really curious about how Stephen King applies his lessons on plot and theme to his fiction novels. It got stuck in my head because the lesson is as simple as knowing the reality of life. That is, our personalities and life’s purpose naturally unfolds to us as we grow.

There wasn’t a manual to know how we should pave our way in this world. Circumstances are presented to us like gifts. Everyday we unbox and only then we choose our courses of actions.

It is the same for him on writing. Setting up the characters with their traits and the role they will play in the story is boring, for him. The writer immediately plots not only the direction of the story but also his loss. It gets predictable, cliche outcomes and readers get unhooked.

So to see the application of his style, I decided to watch one of his novels recently turned into a film, “IT.” Horror films are absolutely not my favorite. Luckily, my friends were in the mood for a relaxation from our recently toxic shifts and spent two and a half hours screaming (mostly me), cursing, wondering about the connections of each character involved with the next possible scenarios. Nothing was completely right with our predictions.

In the end, we were all frustrated. There was no single explanation of the history of that annoyingly horrifying clown. Was it revenge? Was it his show closed down under the ground after the city’s renovation? It seems unimportant for Stephen King to write it down.

But it all made sense. People want details and that pleasure was not given to them. Stephen King won. The ultimate recipe of a bestseller is to leave something for speculations and get people to discuss it.

I believe in the power of his writing style now. Starting with only a scene in mind, Stephen King has proved to me that a story does not to be plotted and planned before writing it. It could have a life on its own. “Discover them on the way,” that he would always prescribe.

So apart from this major takeaway, the toolbox (vocabulary, grammar, paragraph, narration, description, and dialogues), the shortcomings of would-be writers in utilizing it comes second to my highlights. As a beginner blogger, I would take major notes on producing a quality output.

If I would summarize the book in five sentences. This would be it.

Read a lot. Write a lot. Omit needless words. Shut the Door. Open the Door. 

It is the best guide for writers in all levels in the process of writing. I am completely entertained, educated, and will forever be grateful he shared the language of writing and guided us from draft to publication.

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