First off, I'm giving the book 5/5 stars. It takes quite a lot for me to give something a 5/5; not that I’m overly picky, but that last star I hang onto dearly and it really needs to be earned. The book, as a whole, is perfect for what it is: a teacher and entertainer, written by one of this country’s most prolific and recognizable authors. For me, the book is timeless.
On Writing was published approximately 16 years before I read it, but until the occasional sentence would pop that referenced something that—at the time—had yet to released, I would forget it wasn’t a new book. It felt fresh. King references some books that aided him in learning the craft, and I’ve no doubt that On Writing will, itself, be a historic tome essential in any writer’s “toolbox” (a term King illustrates in the book) for decades to come.
The next section of the book is the real meat and gravy; the reason the book was written: Stephen King sharing his wisdom; all the tips on what King feels are essential for any would-be writer desiring an audience. I saw the book as a thorough crash course in writing successfully entertaining pieces. It’s not an English class. King makes the assumption you have half a brain and clearly states that if you’re horrible at writing then maybe you should find something else to do, because nothing in his book—or any other—is going to help you. However, he does give hope to the decent writer and encourages a strict reading and writing regimen in order to learn what to do, what not to do and, of course, to help that writing muscle avoid atrophy.
The fourth, and final, section shows us four or five pages of a rough draft of King’s short story tentatively titled "The Hotel Story" '(later named 1408), after which we are treated with the next draft, complete with felt pen markings, corrections, and changes. The last few pages are dedicated to walking you through why each change was made.
On Writing will encourage you. It will get you excited about writing, and if you’re anything like me, it’ll dry out a few highlighters.
NEWS UPDATE: Good news and bad news. I'm no longer working with Ms. Abigail Larson concerning the cover of my anthology, Night as a Catalyst. I certainly hope to in the future on some other projects, but as wonderful as Ms. Larson's work is, the stories in my book reflect a darker side than her art portrays, and ultimately--as bad as I wanted it to--it wasn't a great fit. That being said, I have grabbed European artist "Toeken" for the cover art. Toeken’s paintings reflect a darker side of things; be it creatures, mutated people, or landscapes. I was attracted to his work immediately and right away saw three paintings that could have easily represented some of my stories. The art for the cover of Night as a Catalyst is complete, and all it needs now is a little Photoshop work to incorporate the pertinent information: title, back cover description, blurbs, etc., which has already begun. I'd love to give you a sneak peek but you'll have to wait. It'll be worth it.
*Modern Mythmakers by Michael McCarty (advanced copy courtesy of Crystal Lake Publishing)
*End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse Fantasy Flight RPG rule book...yeah, I geek out at times.