Stephen King on writing

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Copyright © 2000 by Stephen King
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole
or in part in any form.
and design are trademarks of Macmillan Library
Reference USA, Inc., used under license by
Simon & Schuster, the publisher of this work.



Set in Garamond No. 3
Library of Congress Publication data is available
King, Stephen, 1947–
On writing : a memoir of the craft / by Stephen King.
p. cm.
1. King, Stephen, 1947– 2. Authors, American—20th century—Biography. 3. King,
Stephen, 1947—Authorship. 4. Horror tales—Authorship. 5. Authorship. I. Title.
PS3561.I483 Z475 2000
813'.54—dc21 00-030105
ISBN 0-7432-1153-7

Author’s Note
Unless otherwise attributed, all prose examples, both good and evil,
were composed by the author.
There Is a Mountain words and music by Donovan Leitch. Copyright © 1967
by Donovan (Music) Ltd. Administered by Peer International Corporation. Copyright
renewed. International copyright secured. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Granpa Was a Carpenter by John Prine © Walden Music, Inc. (ASCAP).
All rights administered by WB Music Corp. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Warner Bros. Publications U.S. Inc., Miami, FL 33014.

Honesty’s the best policy.
—Miguel de Cervantes

Liars prosper.

First Foreword

In the early nineties (it might have been 1992, but it’s hard to
remember when you’re having a good time) I joined a rockand-roll band composed mostly of writers. The Rock Bottom
Remainders were the brainchild of Kathi Kamen Goldmark,
a book publicist and musician from San Francisco. The group
included Dave Barry on lead guitar, Ridley Pearson on bass,
Barbara Kingsolver on keyboards, Robert Fulghum on mandolin, and me on rhythm guitar. There was also a trio of
“chick singers,” à la the Dixie Cups, made up (usually) of
Kathi, Tad Bartimus, and Amy Tan.
The group was intended as a one-shot deal—we would
play two shows at the American Booksellers Convention, get
a few laughs, recapture our misspent youth for three or four
hours, then go our separate ways.
It didn’t happen that way, because the group never quite
broke up. We found that we liked playing together too much
to quit, and with a couple of “ringer” musicians on sax and
drums (plus, in the early days, our musical guru, Al Kooper, at
the heart of the group), we sounded...
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