Just finished reading “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King and I can’t believe I haven’t read it sooner. Thanks, sister, I think this was a Christmas gift from you last year? It should have been the first book I read this year, not the 32nd. I don’t know what I was thinking.
I absorbed lots of great writing tips from the master of creepy, and I soaked up every tense word about his near-death experience with a reckless van driver in 1999. I also was gratified to read my name in one of his examples: “The best form of dialogue attribution is said, as in he said, she said, Bill said, Monica said.” I’m sure he was thinking of me when he wrote that line.
“On Writing” is a great read for lovers of memoir, fans of King and writers of all stripes, and it has been lauded by reviewers who know far more than I do (although, unbelievably, 16 people out of more than 1,300 gave it only one star on Amazon — some people are just plain impossible to please, but I’d take a 1% bad review rate).
As a memoirist, here’s the King advice I think was most valuable: “Honesty in storytelling makes up for a great many stylistic faults. … If you begin to lie about what you know and feel while you’re down [in the jungles of actual composition], everything falls down.”
Truth — bare, honest, ugly truth — makes the best memoirs.
And then King offers this assurance (which tempts to change the tagline on the top of this blog:
“Do you need someone to make you a paper badge with the word WRITER on it before you can believe you are one? God, I hope not.”
~ Stephen King