Top critical review
Mostly an author's ramblings
Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2020
I've written and published three novels, so I figure I'm still in the learning stages of the craft. I've read quite a few craft of writing books and learned a lot from each (Save the Cat!, 5 Elements of Story Structure, Dan Brown's Masterclass). I've never read a Stephen King novel (horror is not for me) but I follow him on Twitter and this book had so many 5-star reviews I figured it would be worthwhile. Wrong. The first third is an autobiography. Really, who cares? I skipped ahead. Then he gets into his methods for story development and characters - sometimes interesting, sometimes boring, sometimes weird (developing a story is like digging up a fossil?). King abhors outlines and can hardly say the word 'plot'. I know that there are successful pantsers out there, but most of the bad stories I read are because the author didn't plan nearly enough. Many authors say they get "stuck" or have writer's block. I don't recognize that problem, probably because I always have an outline to guide me. I already know the story, start to finish, so what's there to get stuck on? Outlines and story development prior to the first draft are good methods - but not for Mr. King. When he started talking about writing the second draft by advising "put the manuscript in a drawer and leave it there for 6 weeks, then pull it out, take out a pencil and a legal pad..." I was done reading. Paper? Pencils? Really? Yes, this book was written in 2000, but even way back in those dark ages I'll bet less than one in ten authors wrote on a typewriter. The methods of writing a book should advance with the times, particularly editing. It's probably time for King's advice to be relegated to the "Of Historical Interest" section.