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DELAMAR WEB
Reviews: Books about Writing
Book Reviews:
   Conventional Book Reviews   (standard commentary/review of book) 
  Knothole Book Reviews   (a "knothole review" is "not whole"-- 
       the concept is to give insights into an author's style, craft, and knowledge through selected excerpts.) 
 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft 
Stephen King
New York: Scribner, 2000

          “Writers form themselves into the pyramid we see in all areas of human talent and human creativity. At the bottom are the bad ones. Above them . . . are the competent writers . . . Next . . . are the really good writers. Above them . . . are the Shakespeares, the Faulkners, the Yeatses, Shaws, and Eudora Weltys.” 

          “Book-buyers aren't attracted, by and large, by the literary merits of a novel; book-buyers want a good story ....Plot is the good writer's last resort. I lean more heavily on intuition, and have been able to do that because my books tend to be based on situation rather than story.” 

          “Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story. . . . Description begins with visualization of what you want the reader to experience. . . .Skills in description, dialogue and character development all boil down to seeing or hearing clearly and then transcribing what you see or hear with equal clarity (and without using a lot of tiresome, unnecessary adverbs).”

          “Good fiction always begins with story and progresses to theme; it almost never begins with theme and progresses to story. The only possible exceptions . . . are allegories like George Orwell's Animal Farm.”

          “How . . . many drafts? For me the answer has always been two drafts and a polish (with the advent of word processing . . . my polishes have become closer to a third draft). . . . Rewriting varies greatly from writer to writer. Underneath I'm asking my self the Big Questions. The biggest: Is this story coherent? And if it is, what will turn coherence into a song? What I want most of all is resonance (something that will linger for a little while in Constant Reader's mind).”

          “Pace is the speed at which your narrative unfolds ....Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. . . . Cut  to speed the pace...(kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill  your darlings).” 

—excerped by William T. Delamar

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