On Writing is an autobiographical look on the art of writing stories. There are many fascinating gems in this book. The brightest one for me was his plotting technique. King does not outline so much as he stuffs characters into a situation and sees how they come out. Some make it, some don’t.
His free-flowing method of writing is pure storytelling goodness. For me, there is a price to be paid. Brevity goes out the window, and one must circle back or bloat ensues.
I tired this and the result was a book of 150,000 words in the first draft. My outlines, I realized, were confining me. Confining my characters. They were wooden, characters forced into a role because The Plot demanded it.
A prime example is my protagonist in Bunny Trouble. She started out as a little fluffy piece of blonde, set to give “the main character” trouble because she is young and sexy and determined to get her way with whatever man she chooses.
Ha! She sure showed me. She decided that she was too cliché. That, instead of being a bit of sexy filler, she would dominate every setting she was in by the sheer force of her amazing will. She owes her very existence, her ability to be smarter then everyone else, to Mr. King. Without his little book on writing she would have merely served to annoy The Wife Unit, and get me into trouble. I think of the protagonist now looking at me with her sky-blue eyes and waving a feminine finger at me saying “Shame on you for stereotyping me so. You owe me an apology, Mister!”
Stephen King, I thank you for such a helpful little book.