What makes this book so good? I believe it's the honesty and the writing. I have never read another Stephen King book; I'm afraid of nightmares, but he writes with a clear, direct yet poetic style. His years of experience with the craft make it an important read for any writer. Rather than go on and on about how amazing it is, I thought I'd write some of my favourite lines, currently high-lighted in yellow in my copy.
"Fiction writers, present company included, don't understand very much about what they do -- not why it works when it's good, not why it doesn't when it's bad." xix, On Writing
"In my character, a kind of wildness and a deep conservatism are wound together like hair in a braid." p. 39
Quoting John Gould "When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story," he said. "When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story." p. 43
". . . stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it . . ." p. 63 - 64
". . . put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around." p. 87
"Similarly, I don't read fiction to study the art of fiction, but simply because I like stories. Yet there is a learning process going on. Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones." p. 131
"You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you." p. 132
"Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world." p. 149
Give yourself a treat this summer and buy this book. Make sure to leave a comment about something you loved or even something you didn't love about this little gem.