On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

I don’t like Stephen King’s stories; but I love his writing. And this book was ultra porn, in that context, for me!

The book starts with:

Honesty’s the best policy.
Miguel de Cervantes

Liars prosper.

Here are some of my favourite parts from the book:

It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way round.

On Writing

Writing is seduction.

[What writing is] Telepathy, of course.

Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea.

One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.

I think unsure writers also feel the passive voce somehow lends their work authority, perhaps even a quality of majesty. If you find instruction manuals and lawyers’ torts majestic, I guess it does.

Someone out there is now accusing me of being tiresome and anal-retentive. I deny it. I believe the read to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.

Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

What you need to remember is that there’s a difference between lecturing about what you know and using it to enrich the story. The later is good. The former is not.

(something many Indian writers need to think about)

… but I think you will find that, if you continue to write fiction, every character you create is partly you.


… but I *did* have something there. Like a whole career.

on Carrie

The pain had driven him out of his mind. You could see it on his face. If *that* guy came bac, he probably wouldn’t be in a saving mood.

on a crucified Jesus statue

Some street-rap gets into the dictionary eventually, but not until it’s safely dead.

The book he recommends, times and again: The Elements of Style by Strunk, William, Jr (Amazon, Flipkart)