By Steven King
Steven King begins this book by revisiting his childhood to describe how he became what he is today. In the beginning section, he uses lots of literary elements to create clear and vivid pictures of his childhood. For example he writes, “The pain was brilliant, like a poisonous inspiration.” (19) He uses this simile to vividly describe being stung in the ear. One can almost feel pain in his or her ear from this description. Another effective use of simile he uses is “…Telling an alcoholic to control his drinking is like telling a guy suffering from the world’s most cataclysmic case of diarrhea to control his shitting.” (95) This explains alcoholism well because it puts into words how a person who is not an alcoholic can understand. Almost everyone can relate to the latter situation, which makes the simile a very effective literary device. “I was wiping my ass with poison ivy again, this time on a daily basis, but I couldn’t ask for help.” (96) In this metaphor King compares using drugs to using poison ivy as toilet paper. It is effective because it shows that when someone uses drugs it is a losing battle with no rewards. He uses this metaphor in particular to describe the stupidity of using drugs.
Task #2: Toolbox
When a word is plural always add an ‘S’ after the apostrophe not just an apostrophe at the end of the word. (Pg.129) Do not use adverbs unless it is necessary. (Pg.124-128)
Paragraphs are the foundation of writing, not sentences. (Pg.129-135)
Use different types of sentences (simple, complex, compound). (Pg.121)
The only dialogue attribution you should use is the word ‘said’. Do not use other adverbs to explain how something was said. (Pg.125-128)
Use vocabulary that fits you and your personality, not vocabulary to please your audience. (Pg. 114)
When writing, always write in the active voice unless you are using the passive voice for the purpose of something else. (Pg.122-124)
Do not use adverbs unless it is necessary. (Pg.124-128)
Always start your writing with something that catches the reader’s attention. I learned this in middle school. It is important to start off strong because you must grab the reader’s attention at the beginning to assure that he or she will read everything else you wrote.
To go along with that, it is also very important to end well. This goes hand in hand with my first rule. The reader remembers the ending the clearest and often will make his or her decision as to whether or not it is a good piece based just on the ending.
In writing it is important to omit unnecessary words. Unnecessary words can ruin your writing by making it too long and boring. This is a rule that I learned through reading books and seeing unnecessary words and description that turned a good book into a long and boring novel.
Also in formal writing, you should talk solely in third person. I learned this in ninth grade. It is important to write in third person because it keeps it formal and seemingly unbiased.
Always proofread your writing. There can be errors in your writing that spell check will miss. It is important to find and fix these errors. This is also a rule that I wasn’t taught, but learned through prior writing.
Always start a sentence with a capital letter.
In formal five paragraph essays support your topic with three reasons. I learned this in seventh grade when I first started to write formal five paragraph essays. It is a very effective way to write because it creates a separate, yet cohesive essay.
Task#3: On Writing
Steven King has many strong opinions on writing but one of his strongest is that one should not write in order to please everyone. A writer cannot possibly please everyone, so King believes a writer should write for him or herself and the ‘Ideal Reader’. In On Writing, King says “If you’re writing primarily for one person besides yourself, I’d advise you to pay very close…