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PROOF: Issue 1 (pp. 52-53)

Books (nonfiction)
Writing Happens

In his 55th book, Stephen King describes how he became a writer—and how he thinks you can become one, too. There’s an unintended lesson in this.

Review by Richard Dry


Excerpt: “Most books about writing,” Stephen King says in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, “are filled with bullshit.” This book is no exception. However, it is a lot of fun to read.
   On Writing is King’s attempt to explain his profession and how he came to it. The prolific author clearly loves to write, and that love breeds enough personal honesty and humor to make reading this book worthwhile. Even if you hate King’s novels and the whole horror genre, you’ll enjoy this memoir. And if you’ve never read anything by King, On Writing presents a time-saving introduction in just 288 pages, complete with a summary of his major themes, explicated by the author himself. King’s “deep interests”, as he calls them, include:
. . . how difficult it is—perhaps impossible!—to close Pandora’s technobox once it’s open (The Stand, The Tommyknockers, Firestarter); the question of why, if there is a God, such terrible things happen (The Stand, Desperation, The Green Mile); the thin line between reality and fantasy (The Dark Half, Bag of Bones, The Drawing of the Three); and most of all, the terrible attraction violence has for fundamentally good people (The Shining, The Dark Half).
King goes on to say these deep interests of his are “no big deal”—no bigger than the stories that contain them, anyway—a view surely meant to silence his snobby critics as much as to put his millions of fans at ease. . . . .


About the writer: Richard Dry is a novelist and writing professor in the San Francisco Bay area. His debut novel, Leaving, will be published by St. Martin’s Press this spring.


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