Advanced Writing, Uncategorized

Stephen King Response Essay Assignment

Original Submission:

Why Writers Ought to Read Stephen King’s “On Writing”

After publishing over 60 books, several of which have gone on to be made into movies, translated into different languages, and win awards, Stephen King has earned the ethos to provide advice to others in his craft (Simon&Schuster). At first glance, King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” appears to be erratic excerpts of his life followed by a writing manual. However, it’s actually a relatable work of genius for upcoming writers where King shows the reader how to get ideas, discover inspiration, write more smoothly, and deal with what comes after.

In his book, King starts out with sharing snippets of his childhood, his struggles as an aspiring writer, and how he grew into a successful author. Looking at the CV section on the surface, it appears as a kind of autobiography; however, King uses parts to show how he found his ideas for some of his novels. For example, on page 75, King brings up a story of him learning about the tampon machine in the women’s bathroom of a high school as a janitor, and how he went home to ask his wife about it. King also mentioned a random article he’d read on psychic abilities in teenage girls, along with mentions of some bullied girls he had seen in high school. King demonstrates to readers how he pulled a handful of random observations together into the idea of what became “Carrie” his first big success as an author. Some common advice to writers is to pull story ideas out of their own experiences. King shows his audience how to do this, and the fact that it can be done successfully with ideas that aren’t the most relatable to the writer’s own experience since Carrie followed a bullied high school girl that didn’t understand her period something King even stated he didn’t relate to.

Another piece of advice King mentions within his toolbox is how to get inspiration for stories. King shares his experiences with getting inspiration by describing how he has to let his muse know the door is open during his established writing time (157). Therefore, it’s up to the writer to set a schedule to where their mind learns this is the time frame to throw out those creative strokes of genius. King is realistic with his audience that sometimes when people sit down to write, they’re not always going to have a masterpiece every time. When starting out, sometimes honesty in how aspiring writers are most likely going to have to practice pretty much every day to excel at writing is what needs to be said. King’s message is strong, too, because of his credibility as a successful author and the fact he’s also a practitioner of the same advice.

One more reason, writers should read King’s book is because the writer’s manual offers realistic advice that isn’t just the typical read and write as much as possible. While that phrase is in there, King gives advice like, “adverbs are not your friend,” “the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it’s appropriate and colorful,” and “the key to good dialogue is honesty” (124, 117, 185). By saying this, King actually demonstrates how writers can improve their writing by giving direct advice and examples in his own writing in the book and by referencing good and bad examples of it done by other authors. (181) Therefore, it’s more helpful than the usual textbook because King tells the audience how to write realistically for their skill set and demonstrates examples that can help the reader scale where their own writing lands.

A final reason to read King’s novel is for his advice on what to do after you have a first draft written. People have said to leave space between writing a draft and editing it, but the time typically varies depending on the person. King mentions that, but he also provides the reader his system to model at first if they don’t have one already. King also talks about what he actually does when he’s editing a draft, and he even leaves an example of an unedited draft followed by his edits on the same draft (276). Seeing the draft, the editing process, and the revised draft can assist people in getting a feel for what type of content needs to go and what needs to be expanded on. Plus, for new writers, editing probably isn’t something that gets much thought, so it’s helpful that King provides a starting point for his audience.

While King’s book isn’t the most formal how-to book, he helps his readers learn how to get ideas, start a process that leads to them getting inspiration, write better, and learn what to do once drafts are written. King also writes his book in a tone that makes people more receptive to taking his advice with his direct address and a sprinkling of cursing. Therefore, this piece is both unique in its tone and advice, as well as written by a credible author, so other writers should read it.

Work Cited

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Scribner, 2000.

Simon & Schuster. Simon & Schuster, Inc., https://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Stephen-King/1666839. Accessed 9 Feb. 2020

 

Revised Submission:

Why Writers Ought to Read Stephen King’s “On Writing”

After publishing over 60 books, several of which have gone on to be made into movies, translated into different languages, and won awards, Stephen King has earned the ethos to provide advice to others in his craft (Simon&Schuster). At first glance, King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft appears to be erratic excerpts of his life followed by a writing manual. However, it’s actually a relatable work of genius for upcoming writers where King shows the reader how to get ideas, discover inspiration, write more smoothly, and deal with what comes after.

In his book, King starts out with sharing snippets of his childhood, his struggles as an aspiring writer, and how he grew into a successful author. Looking at the “CV” section on the surface, it appears as a kind of autobiography; however, King uses parts to show how he found his ideas for some of his novels. For example, on page 75, King brings up a story of him learning about the tampon machine in the women’s bathroom of a high school as a janitor, and how he went home to ask his wife about it. King also mentioned a random article he’d read on psychic abilities in teenage girls, along with mentions of some bullied girls he had seen in high school. King demonstrates to readers how he pulled a handful of random observations together into the idea of what became Carrie his first big success as an author. Some common advice to writers is to pull story ideas out of their own experiences. King shows his audience how to do this, and the fact that it can be done successfully with ideas that aren’t the most relatable to the writer’s own experience since Carrie followed a bullied high school girl that didn’t understand her period, something King even states he didn’t relate to.

Another piece of advice King mentions within his toolbox is how to get inspiration for stories. King shares his experiences with getting inspiration by describing how he has to let his muse know the door is open during his established writing time (157). Therefore, it’s up to the writer to set a schedule to where their mind learns this is the time frame to throw out those creative strokes of genius. King is realistic with his audience that sometimes when people sit down to write, they’re not always going to have a masterpiece every time. When starting out, sometimes honesty in how aspiring writers are most likely going to have to practice pretty much every day to excel at writing is what needs to be said. King’s message is strong, too, because of his credibility as a successful author and the fact he’s also a practitioner of the same advice.

One more reason writers should read King’s book is because the writer’s manual offers realistic advice that isn’t just the typical “read a lot and write a lot” (145). While that phrase is in there, King gives advice like, “adverbs are not your friend,” “the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it’s appropriate and colorful,” and “the key to good dialogue is honesty” (124, 117, 185). By saying this, King actually demonstrates how writers can improve their writing by giving direct advice and examples in his own writing in the book and by referencing good and bad examples of it done by other authors (181). Therefore, it’s more helpful than the usual textbook because King tells the audience how to write realistically for their skill set and demonstrates examples that can help the reader scale where their own writing lands.

A final reason to read King’s novel is for his advice on what to do after you have a first draft written. People have said to leave space between writing a draft and editing it, but the time typically varies depending on the person. King mentions that, but he also provides the reader his system to model at first if they don’t have one already. King also talks about what he actually does when he’s editing a draft, and he even leaves an example of an unedited draft followed by his edits on the same draft (276). Seeing the draft, the editing process, and the revised draft can assist people in getting a feel for what type of content needs to go and what needs to be expanded on. Plus, for new writers, editing probably isn’t something that gets much thought, so it’s helpful that King provides a starting point for his audience.

While King’s book isn’t the most formal how-to book, he helps his readers learn how to get ideas, start a process that leads to them getting inspiration, write better, and learn what to do once drafts are written. King also writes his book in a tone that makes people more receptive to taking his advice with his direct address and a sprinkling of cursing. Therefore, this piece is both unique in its tone and advice and it is written by a credible author, so other writers should read it.

Work Cited

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Scribner, 2000.

Simon & Schuster. Simon & Schuster, Inc., https://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Stephen-King/1666839. Accessed 9 Feb. 2020.

Brief Editing Memo:

I switch from AP Style, APA, and MLA when writing, so I’m more likely to make mistakes when I’m not vigilantly checking certain things. In this piece, I messed up MLA style a few times particularly when referencing titles, so I corrected those mistakes. I also made a few grammar mistakes that weren’t caught in my first edit. I also wrote a lot of the draft for this paper by vaguely listing my evidence to my points to get something on paper before going back to correct it in edits. I missed one reference with “read a lot and write a lot,” so I went to correct that as well.

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