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Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing

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Exclusive Book-of-the-Month-Club anthology of hard to find non-fiction pieces, little known interviews, short stories, and articles about writing for those looking for direction on how to find their own "windows"—or for anyone wishing to be touched by Stephen King's humor and wisdom... Included in this collection are unpublished early fiction (very early; King was 12 when h Exclusive Book-of-the-Month-Club anthology of hard to find non-fiction pieces, little known interviews, short stories, and articles about writing for those looking for direction on how to find their own "windows"—or for anyone wishing to be touched by Stephen King's humor and wisdom... Included in this collection are unpublished early fiction (very early; King was 12 when he wrote "Jumper" and "Rush Call"); a pre-Carrie article with tips for selling stories to men's magazines ("The Horror Writer and the Ten Bears: A True Story"); advice to his son on writing (with the look-twice title "Great Hookers I Have Known"); recommendations to teen readers in a Seventeen article ("What Stephen King Does for Love"); a long chapter from his wonderful treatise on the horror genre ("Horror Fiction" from Danse Macabre); and even a first-time-in-print short story, "In the Deathroom" (just for fun). With an introduction by Peter Straub.


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Exclusive Book-of-the-Month-Club anthology of hard to find non-fiction pieces, little known interviews, short stories, and articles about writing for those looking for direction on how to find their own "windows"—or for anyone wishing to be touched by Stephen King's humor and wisdom... Included in this collection are unpublished early fiction (very early; King was 12 when h Exclusive Book-of-the-Month-Club anthology of hard to find non-fiction pieces, little known interviews, short stories, and articles about writing for those looking for direction on how to find their own "windows"—or for anyone wishing to be touched by Stephen King's humor and wisdom... Included in this collection are unpublished early fiction (very early; King was 12 when he wrote "Jumper" and "Rush Call"); a pre-Carrie article with tips for selling stories to men's magazines ("The Horror Writer and the Ten Bears: A True Story"); advice to his son on writing (with the look-twice title "Great Hookers I Have Known"); recommendations to teen readers in a Seventeen article ("What Stephen King Does for Love"); a long chapter from his wonderful treatise on the horror genre ("Horror Fiction" from Danse Macabre); and even a first-time-in-print short story, "In the Deathroom" (just for fun). With an introduction by Peter Straub.

30 review for Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “Well, that’s what writers do. They create ghosts and watch them walk around the room.” If, like me, you would happily read Stephen King’s shopping list and if you’re a completionist, then Secret Windows should be on your wish-list. Any opportunity that arises where I can get inside King’s head, I will GRAB with two hands. Secret Windows was initially suggested as a kind of sequel to On Writing. I wouldn’t necessarily put it into that bracket. It’s more like a random collection of different essays “Well, that’s what writers do. They create ghosts and watch them walk around the room.” If, like me, you would happily read Stephen King’s shopping list and if you’re a completionist, then Secret Windows should be on your wish-list. Any opportunity that arises where I can get inside King’s head, I will GRAB with two hands. Secret Windows was initially suggested as a kind of sequel to On Writing. I wouldn’t necessarily put it into that bracket. It’s more like a random collection of different essays, short stories and introductions he has written for books, like John Fowles’ The Collector and Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door. And that was my only real issue with this one. I’ve already read both of those introductions, as I’ve read those books. I’ve already read his introduction to Night Shift. And I’ve already read Danse Macabre, so I’ve read his piece on horror fiction. Oh, and a story from Everything’s Eventual - In the Death Room - is included in here too. And guess what? I’ve read that one before as well! So technically I had already encountered maybe 60% of this book before. But for me, it was worth it for the other 40%. I love when King talks about his writing process or his books, and there’s a few little speeches or Q&As included in here that just had me fangirling to the max. There was also a novella titled The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet which was pretty good, if a little long-winded, and weirdly reminded me of the novella Rat in If It Bleeds. But hey, guess what, during my research I found that it’s actually in Skeleton Crew - one of the few Kings I haven’t read yet! But Secret Windows is worth it for the typical King anecdotes. There’s an essay entitled “Great Hookers I Have Known” where he discusses great opening lines. He mentions that all of his kids are writers, but he thinks Joe will grow up to be the one who makes a living from it, and I enjoyed seeing that that was his prediction, even back in 1987 (this year is my approximation as Owen was 10 years old!) Not one I’d recommend for a casual King fan, but worth a place on any die-hard Constant Reader’s shelf. 3.5 stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    This companion book to On Writing has a great introduction by Peter Straub, King speeches and interviews, his "Horror Fiction" piece from Danse Macabre, lots of discussion about other authors and books of note, and much more. Again, it is so thoroughly enjoyable to "listen" to King talk about what he loves doing best. Enjoy! This companion book to On Writing has a great introduction by Peter Straub, King speeches and interviews, his "Horror Fiction" piece from Danse Macabre, lots of discussion about other authors and books of note, and much more. Again, it is so thoroughly enjoyable to "listen" to King talk about what he loves doing best. Enjoy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kandice

    I loved this! Not only because it was an amazing find, but because Stephen King’s forwords, afterwords and addresses to us, his “Constant Readers” are sometimes what I look forward to as much as his newest novel, but because I hadn’t even known some of these existed until I happened upon this in the local used book shop. I never tire of “Uncle Stevie’s” speeches, lectures, essays and letters. The man can spin a yarn, tell a tale and move my heart! Every single time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This collection of various bits of Stephen King's writing offer up some of his writing advice. Included are a few short stories - the first being one of his stories written as a child, which was a heartening piece to read because you realize that yes, he wrote just as badly as I did back when I was that age. The second was "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet," which I originally read in Skeleton Crew, and is an interesting commentary on writing and writers and madness in general. The third was "I This collection of various bits of Stephen King's writing offer up some of his writing advice. Included are a few short stories - the first being one of his stories written as a child, which was a heartening piece to read because you realize that yes, he wrote just as badly as I did back when I was that age. The second was "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet," which I originally read in Skeleton Crew, and is an interesting commentary on writing and writers and madness in general. The third was "In the Deathroom," which I read as part of Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales, which had very little to do with writing and may have been included as being "the first time in print!" (it was originally released as part of an audiobook collection) rather than anything to do with the craft of writing, which unfortunately made it a poor fit for this collection. Also included were over 100 pages from Danse Macabre, which felt just as long to read as they did the first time around (I found that book super boring). My favorite bits were the introductions to other books and the transcribed talks he did at various venues. Because these are all pulled together from various sources, I found that it became a little repetitive (King offers the comparison of English teachers being like Pavlov's dogs more than once, and also relays his quip answer to the question, "Where do you get your ideas?" as "Utica" more than once). Of course, I've already read his On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and that really is the best writing book I've ever read, so this could never measure up to that. Still, it's been a while since I read anything of his and it was a nice reminder of his immense talent. I have to say, I've had this book sitting on my shelf for about eight years now, given to me by a co-worker's husband who is an avid collector, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief that I can now finally return it. I wonder if he remembers that I borrowed it...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    While I did enjoy this collection, it was not nearly as insightful or engrossing as King's On Writing, still there are some wonderful things in here. This is certainly a volume that anyone who is one of the author's Constant Readers should have on their shelf. While I did enjoy this collection, it was not nearly as insightful or engrossing as King's On Writing, still there are some wonderful things in here. This is certainly a volume that anyone who is one of the author's Constant Readers should have on their shelf.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    This book is marketed as a companion to King's spectacular craft memoir On Writing. That is being way too generous. This particular book-of-the-month club exclusive is by no means up to that standard. This is a collection of random pieces, most of which can be found elsewhere: the foreword to Night Shift, the "Horror Fiction" chapter from Danse Macabre, various notes to introduce books-of-the-month, introductions for The Girl Next Door and The Collectors, interviews, and other such things. There This book is marketed as a companion to King's spectacular craft memoir On Writing. That is being way too generous. This particular book-of-the-month club exclusive is by no means up to that standard. This is a collection of random pieces, most of which can be found elsewhere: the foreword to Night Shift, the "Horror Fiction" chapter from Danse Macabre, various notes to introduce books-of-the-month, introductions for The Girl Next Door and The Collectors, interviews, and other such things. There are a few original items, a couple of short stories ("The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" is much stronger than "In the Deathroom"), and a couple of essays. If you are a Stephen King fan, the book is worth reading for a bit of an insight into King's life and his process. It is particularly interesting to read about Joe and Owen in light of what they have done since this book was published. It's fun to read a couple of stories from a very young Stephen writing for his brother's neighborhood paper. That being said, if you are looking for something the caliber of On Writing, I'll tell you right now that it isn't here. The closest thing might be the Introduction by Peter Straub, which attempts to analyze King's ability to connect with readers. Pick it up if you are interested, but understand it is more like the DVD extras on a movie or the liner notes of an album, only as fulfilling as your own interest level.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert Beveridge

    Stephen King, On Writing/Secret Windows (Scribner's, 2000 and BOMC, 2000) [originally posted 6Nov2000] "Most of the things you find in books on writing are bullshit." How can you not like a book on writing that begins so endearingly? Shortly after, King makes a promise to keep the book as short as possible, and for King, he does an admirable job (it weighs in under 300 pages, a short story for this guy). Capitalizing on the publication of On Writing, Book of the Month Club (who are the behind-the-s Stephen King, On Writing/Secret Windows (Scribner's, 2000 and BOMC, 2000) [originally posted 6Nov2000] "Most of the things you find in books on writing are bullshit." How can you not like a book on writing that begins so endearingly? Shortly after, King makes a promise to keep the book as short as possible, and for King, he does an admirable job (it weighs in under 300 pages, a short story for this guy). Capitalizing on the publication of On Writing, Book of the Month Club (who are the behind-the-scenes orchestrators of the Stephen King Book Club) contracted with the man to release a companion volume to it called Secret Windows as well. Much of what King writes in On Writing is simple common sense ("the adverb is not your friend..."), but some of it flies in the face of conventional wisdom. King is a situational writer as opposed to a plotter, and the vast majority of "how to write your novel in days"-style writers' manuals are written by plotters. This alone makes the book valuable to the struggling author; when everyone's told you one thing, and it doesn't work for you, hearing someone validate another way to do things is sometimes the most important thing that can happen to you. And King delivers his advice in simple, straightforward prose, providing examples when necessary (at the very end, he gives us the opening paragraphs of Blood and Smoke's "1408," both in rough and finished drafts, and it's probably the best example of revision I've seen in a how-to-write book). Good, solid stuff, probably the best I've read in recent years, since Natalie Goldberg's first two books. But even that isn't what makes this book shine. We're all aware that much of what separates great writers from run-of-the-mill hacks is the ability to take one's own events and make mincemeat of them on the page. The first hundred pages of this volume are an encapsulated autobiography of King. It's impressionist, deadpan, as minimal as it can be to give us an idea of where all these books came from (no, he doesn't really get his ideas in Utica). And while all of King's writing is marked with a particular kind of honesty that resonates with the average reader, these hundred pages stand out. If it's possible to be more than completely honest, he's done it. Secret Windows is a compilation. Most of it's been previously published. There are a few things here that bear re-reading, a few unpublished (and perhaps should have remained that way, such as the early stuff from his brother's homemade newspaper), and one of King's early attempts at a one-voice tale, a style he mastered in Dolores Claiborne, called "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet." I can't remember whether this made it into Nightmares and Dreamscapes or not (can't find a full listing of N&D's contents online) [ed. note 2013: no], but if not, this story alone, about an editor's slow descent into alcoholic madness, with its catalyst a story by an already-insane writer, is worth the price of admission. It is not an easily-forgotten piece of work. Taken together, the two make a good pair: a book on how to write and a collection of fiction, nonfiction, and interviews dealing with the craft of writing. The average non-writing Stephen King fan may be left cold, but for the writer (or the writer wannabe who's never attempted; if you liked Misery better than most King novels, you qualify), they're gold nuggets in the river. On Writing: **** Secret Windows: *** ½

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Perry

    When I showed my dad the copy of Blockade Billy I'd bought when it first came out, this little $14 hardcover consisting of two short stories, he snorted and said, "That looks like a cleaning-out-the-drawer kind of book." Secret Windows is the same. This is a collection more for the King completionist than the aspiring writer looking for good advice. Peter Straub calls it a companion book to On Writing in the introduction, and this terribly misleading. There was no eureka moment like I had reading When I showed my dad the copy of Blockade Billy I'd bought when it first came out, this little $14 hardcover consisting of two short stories, he snorted and said, "That looks like a cleaning-out-the-drawer kind of book." Secret Windows is the same. This is a collection more for the King completionist than the aspiring writer looking for good advice. Peter Straub calls it a companion book to On Writing in the introduction, and this terribly misleading. There was no eureka moment like I had reading On Writing. This is a collection of a few essays, padded out with introduction from other books and interviews from events King has spoken at. Over a 100 pages of this is from a section of Danse Macabre, which I skipped because I want to read that book in its entirety and not a chunk of it here and the rest later. And most of the interviews I had already read in another nonfiction book Bare Bones: Conversations with Stephen King. Skipping those and the 100 pages of Danse Macabre left little new content, though I mostly enjoyed what litter there was. Secret Windows was not a bad book, per se. As a King collector, I'm happy to have it on my shelves, but I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed. If you haven't read the interviews or the transcribed talks, you'll probably get more out of this than I did. 3/5

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard Gray

    NB: This review originally appears on The Reel Bits for my Inconstant Reader column. When Stephen King isn’t writing fiction, he’s writing about writing. At least that’s the impression that you’d get from SECRET WINDOWS: ESSAYS AND FICTION ON THE CRAFT OF WRITING, a collection of short stories, essays, speeches, and book excerpts he’s written over the years. Originally published in October 2000 as a Book-of-the-Month Club offering, the now difficult to find volume is a kind of companion piece to O NB: This review originally appears on The Reel Bits for my Inconstant Reader column. When Stephen King isn’t writing fiction, he’s writing about writing. At least that’s the impression that you’d get from SECRET WINDOWS: ESSAYS AND FICTION ON THE CRAFT OF WRITING, a collection of short stories, essays, speeches, and book excerpts he’s written over the years. Originally published in October 2000 as a Book-of-the-Month Club offering, the now difficult to find volume is a kind of companion piece to On Writing released around the same time. It’s also the third reflection on the craft that King has published, following Danse Macabre (1981) – a chunk of which is replicated here. If you’re a process junkie like me, or even the regular kind of junkie, this book more than lives up to its title by offering a glimpse behind the hidden veil. Unlike those previous non-fiction outings, SECRET WINDOWS consists almost entirely of existing material. Some of this is a veritable treasure chest for Constant Readers, including some of the earliest published work from the master. Dave’s Rag was a newspaper King printed with his brother when they were kids, and two excerpts from a 12-year-old Stephen Edwin King – Jumper (1959) and Rush Call (1960) – are replicated here. There’s even a facsimile of the paper’s cover. If only all our adolescent exploits would wind up in a limited edition hardcover. Yet the majority of the pieces come from between 1973 and 1999. Or in context, just before Carrie through to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. The earliest of these is The horror market writer and the ten bears: A true story, in which a writer on the cusp of success gives advice on how to submit stories to men’s magazines. Only a few short years later, there is a short piece King wrote for a 1980 edition Adelina magazine called On becoming a brand name, in which King reconciles his commercial work with being a working writer. In addition to a potted history of his early career, he gives us a through sense of how he works, concluding “the commercial writer who can tell the truth has achieved a great deal more than any ‘serious’ writer can hope for; he can tell the truth and still keep up with the mortgage payments.” Which is why it’s also great to see the times when the Constant Writer becomes a Constant Reader. King is an unabashed fan of other writers, as the numerous pull-quotes and Tweets will attest. Here there’s introductions to new editions of John Fowles’s The Collector alongside a compelling argument Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door is one of the greatest pieces of writing on the market. In the winkingly titled Great hookers I have known, King talks about those opening lines to novels that just hook you in. The most disarmingly insightful of these is his piece for Seventeenmagazine, pinpointing those moments for young readers where you shift from a book you ‘must read’ for school to the ones you ‘want to read.’ There’s a den of rare gems and random insights too. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know it was Warner Bros. who pushed for the title The Shining, which may explain part of his long held dislike of Stanley Kubrick’s film. We get a sense of where King thought he’d be in 20 years time, safe in the knowledge that he’s still writing novels almost twice that amount of time later. (For the record, he picked a pro bowler or Smokey Robinson). Yet even he may not have known how prophetic one passage would be. Originally written in 1983, see if it rings true in 2022: I think a lot about our informational overload, And there’s also the fact that there are more of us now than ever before, and as a result a communicable disease can be passed very rapidly, from just the flu bugs, the regular flu bugs that go around. At the time of The Stand I was interested in the fact that the flu virus changes – that’s why you have to keep getting different flu boosters. It comes at you one way, and then it shifts its antigen and comes at you a different way, and your old flu shot doesn’t do any good because this is the new and improved flu. Of course, Constant Readers may already be familiar with a bunch of the content. You’ll probably already know that the book’s title comes from the Secret Window, Secret Garden short story, and the piece included here (Two past midnight: A note on Secret Window, Secret Garden) is a preface to Four Past Midnight (1990), the collection that it comes from. The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet, one of the handful of fiction pieces included, had already been printed in King’s 1985 collection Skeleton Crew. Of course, the chunkiest part of the book is the Horror fiction section of Danse Macabre, itself a potted summary and reviews of King’s favourite stories of the previous few decades. More than those previous collections, these works give us the greatest insight into how King’s style has developed over the years. Whether they are more formal pieces or casual interviews, it’s always evident that King has never stopped thinking about the craft. While it may not be as interesting to casual readers, this is clearly an essential read for devotees, especially those struggling to track down the individual pieces. Now, the only question that remains is whether a secret writing window lets in a draft.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Neilie J

    As usual, this was totally worth reading. Some of it I'd already heard/read before, but it was fun to read again because King is always so entertaining. His wry humor always gets me even if sometimes I wonder how genuine his humility is. Clearly, he's very intelligent, but often plays himself off in an "aw shucks" kind of way. There were a couple of short stories I'd never read that were good fun, and I enjoyed the forward by King's friend and co-author, Peter Straub. As usual, this was totally worth reading. Some of it I'd already heard/read before, but it was fun to read again because King is always so entertaining. His wry humor always gets me even if sometimes I wonder how genuine his humility is. Clearly, he's very intelligent, but often plays himself off in an "aw shucks" kind of way. There were a couple of short stories I'd never read that were good fun, and I enjoyed the forward by King's friend and co-author, Peter Straub.

  11. 5 out of 5

    nobody

    This is for serious King fans only. That said, its a great book for a serious King fan to have. There were some great fiction and nonfiction pieces here, my only issue is I wish they would have put more hard to find stuff in here rather then reprint a quarter of Danse Macabe

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly D.

    Funny enough, I'm not a big Stephen King fan, but I really like his books about writing lol Funny enough, I'm not a big Stephen King fan, but I really like his books about writing lol

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cail

    So far, I've read "On Becoming a Brand Name Writer" which is incredibly interesting to read right after On Writing, as King gets into very granular detail on the sale of his first two books (I had to Google the first paperback cover of 'Salem's Lot based on his story of getting the cover reveal) Also interesting to note that Warner Bros asked that his original title "The Shine" be re-named to "The Shining." He has sharper edges to him in this piece, his descriptions of people rather mean-spirite So far, I've read "On Becoming a Brand Name Writer" which is incredibly interesting to read right after On Writing, as King gets into very granular detail on the sale of his first two books (I had to Google the first paperback cover of 'Salem's Lot based on his story of getting the cover reveal) Also interesting to note that Warner Bros asked that his original title "The Shine" be re-named to "The Shining." He has sharper edges to him in this piece, his descriptions of people rather mean-spirited at times. He's also only five years into his publishing career and still drinking hard. Strange to time-travel to younger Steve - he was younger than me when he wrote this (about 33, I reckon). Also, my copy seems almost new (the spine gives off a nice crack when opened) but it looks like a book-shipper dumped his cuppa tea on the pages. I gave the dustjacket a scrub and it's right as rain. I also read the "Horror Fiction" excerpt from Danse Macabre, which I had a great time with this past evening. I'm kicking myself for selling my old copy the book, which (when I was 25) I assumed I wouldn't be gung-ho enough on horror to read King's whole treatise on the genre. I found his deep-dive into horror fiction fascinating. I read his deep-dives on Matheson, Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, James Herbert and Harlan Ellison. It was a treat to nerd-out with King on Something Wicked This Way Comes an SUPER timely with Campbell, who I just read recently in a short-story collection and for the life of me, I cannot find his books anywhere. Now I'm debating reading all of Danse Macabre, but I'd wager I read the best chapter tonight. I will continue to pick this up and read excerpts — great hangs with Uncle Steve.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lori Schiele

    This is a rare mixture of fiction and non-fiction--an exclusive anthology of hard-to-find pieces of non-fiction, interviews, short stories, unpublished fiction and articles about writing by the great "King of the Macabre", Stephen King. As is written on the jacket cover: this book "captures the author's mind in action--spontaneous, subversive, quirky, yet morally and ethically serious." Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed by it. Whereas I loved his book, "On Writing", this seemed too much of a mish This is a rare mixture of fiction and non-fiction--an exclusive anthology of hard-to-find pieces of non-fiction, interviews, short stories, unpublished fiction and articles about writing by the great "King of the Macabre", Stephen King. As is written on the jacket cover: this book "captures the author's mind in action--spontaneous, subversive, quirky, yet morally and ethically serious." Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed by it. Whereas I loved his book, "On Writing", this seemed too much of a mishmash of vaguely related things. He spent half of the book talking about writers from the 50s, 60s and 70s--some familiar like Bradbury and Vonnegut, and others that, at least I had never heard of--Shirley Jackson, Ira Levin, Robert Cornier... He spent 17 pages discussing Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and then 18 pages on an author named Harlan Ellison who King even admits isn't truly a horror writer at all... His constant talk of Apollonian versus Dionysian conflict in the different stories he discusses gets to be too repetitive--and it means nothing if you don't understand the reference (fortunately, I do. If you don't, I suppose you can Google it, if you want). And it takes until page 320 before King actually starts to discuss himself through various interviews he's given over the years, and responds to a number of questions he has received from fans. But much of the things he tells you can be found in the "On Writing" book which is much better written and much more informative--at least for an author like myself. Finally, at the end, the book includes two original short stories not found in any other books. One was wonderfully King, the other not so much. So, if you are a Stephen King fan and *need* to have every single thing he has ever written, then I guess you will want to try and get a hold of this. But if you are just a casual reader, or a budding author hoping for insight (stick with "On Writing"), then I wouldn't bother.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jon Ring

    This is a pretty good book if you fulfill these two criteria. A) You like Stephen King's writing and B) You write yourself. I don't think anyone else may enjoy this volume very much, but I'm glad Mr. King does take the time to write essays on the art of writing. It helps me in my own endeavors in that area, by pointing out mistakes (he is as heartless as a Dicken's schoolmaster in that regard), and by an exhaustive breakdown of what does work. I saw eye to eye to him on several of the topics, an This is a pretty good book if you fulfill these two criteria. A) You like Stephen King's writing and B) You write yourself. I don't think anyone else may enjoy this volume very much, but I'm glad Mr. King does take the time to write essays on the art of writing. It helps me in my own endeavors in that area, by pointing out mistakes (he is as heartless as a Dicken's schoolmaster in that regard), and by an exhaustive breakdown of what does work. I saw eye to eye to him on several of the topics, and found his humorous anecdotes gave it a fun brevity that made me devour the volume. I had read some of the essays before, in their original publications but several were new to me and it was interesting to see how the volume flowed together in spite of the differing dates of the compositions featured within. The stories from his youth were interesting in showing that even a master such as him had to start somewhere, and the advice to his son on opening lines I particularly enjoyed. Thank you Mr. King for the insights!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I recently bought both this and King's "On Writing," and I have a feeling that I'll enjoy the latter a lot more. King has a personable style that I've always liked, and I'm not even a big King reader. I've read Misery, the first two Dark Tower books, The Stand, and Under the Dome, and no matter the character, it felt like I knew them and they knew me. I gave it two stars because while it's very approachable, I felt that I got the gist of the lessons on writing within the first few chapters. Whic I recently bought both this and King's "On Writing," and I have a feeling that I'll enjoy the latter a lot more. King has a personable style that I've always liked, and I'm not even a big King reader. I've read Misery, the first two Dark Tower books, The Stand, and Under the Dome, and no matter the character, it felt like I knew them and they knew me. I gave it two stars because while it's very approachable, I felt that I got the gist of the lessons on writing within the first few chapters. Which makes sense: many of the chapters cover the same the ground, and in the interviews, many of the questions are the same. In particular, "The Horror Market Writer and the Ten Bears" and "On Becoming a Brand Name" should be required reading for anyone interested in creative writing. If you're a big King fan, I think you'll enjoy it very, very much.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ricky McConnell

    I enjoyed this book. If you are a big Stephen King fan you will enjoy this book. He mentions many of the Authors he has read, and inspired his writing. You learn some of the same things from his book titled On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, but there are many things in this book that were not in that book. Some parts of the book were a slow read to me, but overall it was interesting to hear his point of view on things, and read some of the interviews he has given over the years. He tells severa I enjoyed this book. If you are a big Stephen King fan you will enjoy this book. He mentions many of the Authors he has read, and inspired his writing. You learn some of the same things from his book titled On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, but there are many things in this book that were not in that book. Some parts of the book were a slow read to me, but overall it was interesting to hear his point of view on things, and read some of the interviews he has given over the years. He tells several stories from his travels and experiences. The book will also give you a long list of books and Authors to read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Monical

    I actually picked this book up looking for the updated version of "On Writing." I was amazed at how scary this book was since it was supposed to be about writing! I guess I got flashbacks of the chills from from "Salem's Lot" and other early King books. I found a couple chapters boring (e.g., the looooong chapter reviewing other horror books) but in general this was a good, if scary, read. I also recommend "On Writing." Both books reveal that King is really compelled to write rather than inspire I actually picked this book up looking for the updated version of "On Writing." I was amazed at how scary this book was since it was supposed to be about writing! I guess I got flashbacks of the chills from from "Salem's Lot" and other early King books. I found a couple chapters boring (e.g., the looooong chapter reviewing other horror books) but in general this was a good, if scary, read. I also recommend "On Writing." Both books reveal that King is really compelled to write rather than inspired to write, perhaps like music composers have to compose (how else could you explain a deaf Beethoven writing some of his best work?)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fredette

    A Book of the Month Club exclusive, published as a companion to On Writing, Secret Window, subtitled Essays and Fiction about the Craft of Writing, includes a lengthy excerpt from Danse Macabre (“On Horror Fiction”), transcripts of various lectures and interviews, prefatory material (introductions to his collections Night Shift & Four Past Midnight, as well as John Fowles’s The Collector and Jack Ketchum’s brutal, but effective The Girl Next Door), King’s short story “The Ballad of the Flexible A Book of the Month Club exclusive, published as a companion to On Writing, Secret Window, subtitled Essays and Fiction about the Craft of Writing, includes a lengthy excerpt from Danse Macabre (“On Horror Fiction”), transcripts of various lectures and interviews, prefatory material (introductions to his collections Night Shift & Four Past Midnight, as well as John Fowles’s The Collector and Jack Ketchum’s brutal, but effective The Girl Next Door), King’s short story “The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet,” about a one-time literary star’s descent into madness, and two early King stories, written when he was only twelve.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Whitehead

    The Book of the Month Club put this volume together to accompany the release of Stephen King’s On Writing. Though the actual book itself is excellent, this supplement is hit and miss. Longtime fans will likely have already read many of the excerpts and short stories included herein. The speech transcripts were new to me, but they tended to be repetitive and poorly edited in spots. Overall this is a good resource for aspiring writers, but it’s more of a money-making add-on for the publisher than The Book of the Month Club put this volume together to accompany the release of Stephen King’s On Writing. Though the actual book itself is excellent, this supplement is hit and miss. Longtime fans will likely have already read many of the excerpts and short stories included herein. The speech transcripts were new to me, but they tended to be repetitive and poorly edited in spots. Overall this is a good resource for aspiring writers, but it’s more of a money-making add-on for the publisher than a serious attempt to collect the author’s wit and wisdom.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aaron White

    King is nice an coherent, and things he writes are always good. But this is just a couple of stories, that are printed in his books elsewhere, a huge chunk is a chapter from another of his books, a couple of forwards for other books that I haven't read; whats left is a couple of articles and interviews - that were good, but not that interesting and tended to repeat themselves. King is nice an coherent, and things he writes are always good. But this is just a couple of stories, that are printed in his books elsewhere, a huge chunk is a chapter from another of his books, a couple of forwards for other books that I haven't read; whats left is a couple of articles and interviews - that were good, but not that interesting and tended to repeat themselves.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    I think King could have never written a word of fiction and he'd still be one of the best writers out there. His nonfiction of all types, on display in this book, is incredible. I particularly liked the essay he wrote about books for Seventeen magazine. Several one liners that I'm gonna steal–I mean that I admire and definitely won't use. I think King could have never written a word of fiction and he'd still be one of the best writers out there. His nonfiction of all types, on display in this book, is incredible. I particularly liked the essay he wrote about books for Seventeen magazine. Several one liners that I'm gonna steal–I mean that I admire and definitely won't use.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Good overall although On Writing was much more engrossing. I’ve had this book for years and couldn’t bring myself to read it until recently. The chapter on horror fiction was very long and a little hard to get through but it gave me ideas for other good books to read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Justin Rivera

    I did enjoy this work well enough and there are a good amount of hidden gems in here! I think it didn't get a higher score just because of my own expectations and comparing it to On Writing. It's a really good read with a ton of variety throughout. I did enjoy this work well enough and there are a good amount of hidden gems in here! I think it didn't get a higher score just because of my own expectations and comparing it to On Writing. It's a really good read with a ton of variety throughout.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I love picking King's brain. Interesting and entertaining as ever. I blew right through this because I had read many of the essays, forewords, and shorts elsewhere. I love picking King's brain. Interesting and entertaining as ever. I blew right through this because I had read many of the essays, forewords, and shorts elsewhere.

  26. 4 out of 5

    R.L. Bailey

    A big chunk (some 160 pages) comes from Danse Macabre) and the majority of it has been repeated in other intros, but there are great bits of wisdom here.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jonah

    A neat companion to On Writing. I enjoyed it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Don't you just love Stephen King non fiction as much as his fiction? - although there is some fiction in this. Maybe it's just me, but I love getting his thoughts on stuff. Don't you just love Stephen King non fiction as much as his fiction? - although there is some fiction in this. Maybe it's just me, but I love getting his thoughts on stuff.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Brousseau

    Book 84/75: Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing by Stephen King. There was a whole chapter that was the exact same as a Dance Macabre chapter and I got stuck back THEN with that chapter and got stuck once more when I got to it. Oh dear. But once I got past, once again I could not put down King's essays and crafted intros. Book 84/75: Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing by Stephen King. There was a whole chapter that was the exact same as a Dance Macabre chapter and I got stuck back THEN with that chapter and got stuck once more when I got to it. Oh dear. But once I got past, once again I could not put down King's essays and crafted intros.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Here and there helpful bits to improve ones writing, most advise addresses horror genre; of course it’s Steven King

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