First edition cover
|Cover artist||Lisa Litwak|
|October 3, 2000|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, published in 2000, is a memoir of the author's experiences as a writer, and also serves as a guide book for those who choose to enter the craft. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly listed On Writing 21st on their list of The New Classics: Books – The 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008, making it King's only entry. On July 13, 2010, Scribner published a 10th Anniversary edition of the book (ISBN 978-1-4391-9363-1), featuring an updated reading list from Stephen King.
The first section of On Writing is an autobiography, mainly about King’s early exposure to writing and his first attempts at it. King talks about his early attempts to get published, and his first novel Carrie. King also talks about his fame as a writer, and what it took to get there. This section includes his relationship with his wife, the death of his mother and his history of drug and alcohol abuse.
The second section is practical advice on writing, including tips on grammar and ideas about developing plot and character. King himself describes it as a guide for how "a competent writer can become a good one." This includes his beliefs that a writer should edit out unnecessary details and avoid the use of unnecessary adverbs. He also uses quotes from other books and authors to illustrate his points.
The third section is also autobiographical, in which King discusses the 1999 accident in which he was struck by a vehicle while walking down an isolated country road. He describes the injuries he suffered, his painful recovery and his struggle to start writing again.
King includes part of a rough draft and an edited draft of his story "1408".
In the United Kingdom paperback version, a short story by Garret Adams entitled "Jumper" was included at the end of the book. The story won the On Writing competition.
- "The New Classics: Books: The 100 Best Reads from 1983 to 2008" Entertainment Weekly, issue #999–1000, June 27, 2008.