Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Daniel, Jun 13, 2007.
From the review, here.
What are your thoughts on On Writing by Stephen King?
Yes, but, alas, it really teaches you nothing on how to create fantastic works and masterpieces.
I strongly advise you not to copy his spontaneous, no-plot-method, because if you just produce a long line of stream of concious style of writing with no coherent plot, the ending is always doomed to fail as with many of King's novels and short stories. His endings are horrible. The more you plot, and find tools to create realistic characters (plotting through the eyes of the characters, I call it) the better the denouement will turn out to be.
I will agree with one thing, though. Ideas do come from what-if situations. That you should copy.
I guess it's really a matter of opinion. I personally enjoy his endings. Sometimes the non-plot style works for some people, sometimes it hurts others.
I do somewhat agree with the lack of actual writing advice learned from the book. That aspect was a bit lacking, though I wouldn't go so far as to say I didn't learn anything. I learned a lot on the methods and minor perks, but admittedly there wasn't some novel advice on how to write a novel.
His ending just ends, for some reason. There are no character revelations. This is what I don't like about his abrupt finishes--it leans toward whimsical fantasies, supernatural fluff. He does a marvelous job telling a story--he draws the readers along with exquisite sentences and salient vocabularies--but he lacks one thing as I writer I cannot see past. He lacks substance.
There is no substance. He says alot of things, but, in the end, he says nothing. You do not finish his book and ponder about the meaning of life, and how his work reflect how you see the world a little differently, and makes you view life in a whole new manner--like you've never seen it before; this does not happen. This is why (no matter how many of his rabid fans rave about him) in my eyes, he does not write literature.
King just can't seem to keep his climax/end grounded on reality. It's as if he's scared to tell the truth.
I think that the most positive thing about the novel is the unvarnished truth, as King sees it, with respect to what a writer needs to do to have a shot at success.
Really, there is very little "how to" that he could add, because in the end, there is no magic formula. What works for him (like not plotting and just writing) probably would not work for the vast majority of writers trying to get their first novel or two published.
I think, also, having written so many novels and stories, that going through the motions of putting the ideas down and organizing the plot, etc...he probably can do it more in his head, even subconsciously.
Drive through an unfamilair major sized city the first time, or even a few times --you may desire a map with handy alternate routes planned just in case, or disaster looms. With King, and all of his novels and experience, he's traveled many many routes throughout the city, that reaching a certain destination...he's got a good idea what paths to attempt and turns to make to zero in on the destination based on so many previous trips.
Hope that made sense.
Overall, I agree it's a good read for writers.
Yes, it's a good read--and nothing more.
It will not show you how to become an exceptional writer.
Hmmm.... why do you say that?
Nothing more? You didn't get anything writing-related out of it at all? Not even a little?
Are they ever
I have to say, I did like it. I approached it as more of an autobiography than a writing guide (I don't have much faith in writing guides), and as such it was fascinating. To see how a bestselling writer approaches writing was really helpful. That said, I don't agree with all of his methods. But I am a reader of his books, and he is an important influence to me.
So, overall, I would say it is definitely worth a read. Just don't expect miracles from it.
So is this Russian Lady banned or unbanned?
Banned. Twice over.
Nothing will. You learn the basic "How to" methods on spelling, punctuation, grammar, story substance and style, etc, then you take it from there to shape and hone in your own talent.
This sounds to me as if you're expecting to mix some pre-found skills then mix them all up in a bowl and then out pops [the magic formula].
And I'll tell you what that magic formula is...
THERE ARE NONE!
Consider music. You can be taught how to play an instrument. You can be taught musical theory and composition. You can even be taught how to play a piece of music from your favourite bands/composers.
But you'll be damned if you are expecting to be taught how to create your own music beyond the written and technical. That is something that is natural that you either have the ability to do or cannot do.
And I know this. I once considered myself to possess exceptional guitar skills and learned how to play pretty damned good. I learned most of my favourite choonz from my favourite bands.
When it came time to express any iota of muscial talent I may possess from my studies and leaning theory I bought a multi-track recorder. And even though I recorded a composition from assembling a multitude of riffs together to form a full track they were damned sh!t-awful and amazingly crap. No amount of trying would ever make my own music good despite my enjoyment and love of the craft.
Moral of this: nothing will make you exceptional at what you do no matter how many books you read from various authors who write what worked for them. You've either got it or you haven't. Don't go around reading into everything as if there is a magic formula to instant riches-laden talent otherwise you'll realise when it's too late that you wasted your time.
She's making one hell of a commotion at another forum.
It was hilarious at first, but sad now.
She needs to check herself into a psychiatric ward.
Which forum is that, EyezForYou? It sounds like a fun spectator sport
I reckon she'd make a tasty dish though
Oh and she reckons we are Nazis.. lol
...Okay, that one I don't understand. Why was she banned?
Separate names with a comma.