There is an immutable law that states: "People who love law and sausage should never watch either being made." People who love reading, I think, are a bit different. Who among us, in the middle of the latest work by one of our favorite authors, hasn't stopped and asked in wonder, "How do they do it?!"
Stephen King, in his (first) Forward to ON WRITING: A Memoir of the Craft, chats for just a bit about how he had been toying with writing a book about writing but wasn't sure if he had anything worth saying. The answer is yes, he does; and he has a few other things worth saying as well, about writing, about perseverance, and about the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.
ON WRITING is divided into five parts. The first, "C. V.," is largely, and wonderfully, autobiographical. It is not one of those intimate detail from first-breath-to-yesterday accounts; it is what King describes, quite accurately, as a series of snapshots. Even if you know every damn thing there is to know about Stephen King, from his shirt size to whether it's boxers or briefs, don't skip this part. "C. V." implicitly demonstrates what a talent this man is. I was familiar with a great deal of what is contained in this section, yet King is so compelling a wordsmith that I could not read fast enough, even though I (usually) knew what was going to happen. There are also a number of nuggets in here --- his account of the moment he got his inspiration for CARRIE, his battle with substance abuse --- that are worth reading about even if you have encountered these stories elsewhere. What does "C. V." have to do with writing? Quite a bit, actually; it exhibits --- sometimes painfully so --- the bits and pieces of the composite of the man we know as Stephen King. How does he do it? This is a part of the answer.
The second section of ON WRITING is titled "The Toolbox" --- what writers should bring with them when they sit down to write. These include things like vocabulary and grammar and a little volume titled THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE. "The Toolbox" contains very basic stuff that is so basic that a lot of us forget we have it. King's metaphor here is wonderful