Stephen King's on Writing

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The first two sections of Stephen King's On Writing are in the least enjoyable. They are written in a very forward and easy to follow manner, detailing his life's poignant moments connected to writing. King's story of his writing is deeply connected to the story of his life. On p. 94, he ends the first section, the story of his life in writing, with “Life is not a support-system for art. It's the other way around.” This idea is a testament to the closely connected role his art has played in his life. However, in explaining his art form, King seems to contradict himself and closes many topics with frustrating resolutions.

I was frustrated with King and his contradictions he makes as he tries to communicate his different opinions on writing. For one thing, he criticizes overly abstract poetry that he experienced in his college days. He generalizes abstract poetry for being meaningless. This generalization is a fault, when paired with him showing a poem his wife wrote in response to the mock poem he used to exemplify “bad” poetry. King thus does nothing for the reader except to provide his opinions.

This flaw is repeated in the second section of the book. Because he feels he must write about the components of a writer's “toolbox”, he admittedly ends up “preaching to the converted” (113). He feels the need to explain the necessity of nouns and verbs and tense and paragraphs, things readers of the book have been barraged with in grammar books for years. The difference here is he provides examples from prose that he likes. Thus the reader is presented once again with simply things King personally supports or opposes. Albeit generally enjoyable to read, these opinions are only being read because King is famous and people care about his opinion. It doesn't bring anything new forward; simply new examples for old ideas.

King's drug and alcohol abuse provided an unexpected turn in the generally positive story of his life up to that point in the book. I found myself...
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