Stephen King On Writing

Hi Teri, reread The Talisman if you can find the time. It is a real good story and you can so nicely jump into Black House, after that. Guess it is available in paperback by then. Black House was released in October, so it won't be that long I guess.;)

Have a very good christmas.

Talk to you soon.
Haven't read King since Four Past Midnight

I haven't bothered with Stephen King, save for the occasional entry in a short-story anthology that I can't avoid (e.g. "Night Flyer" in Winters' Prime Evil.) I stopped reading King after Four Past Midnight. It was both awful and offensive.

It was bad because the writing just plain sucked; after so many books, that voice carries over about as well as a mystery hack. "The Langoliers" was as bad as the starring-Bronson-Pinchot ABC event; "Library Police" was too internalized if anything, but unpalatable as a story; "The Sun Dog" had some promise but reminded me of "Apt Pupil" in some abstract way, perhaps the simple juxtaposition of two characters in each story (boy and old man) and lacked any compelling narrative voice.

But what drove me over the edge was "Secret Window, Secret Garden", a story of a writer going mad over an issue of plagiarism far in his past. The utterly sad thing is that King has merely lifted the story from one of the writers who consistently outdoes him, Charles L Grant. Grant's story occurs in Dialing the Wind, and surveys the breakdown of an average man under normal circumstances. King stole the hook at the end. And in horror, the hook is vital.

I haven't read the new King/Straub effort yet, and I'm hesitant to bother. I actually love Straub's work--"The Juniper Tree" is one of the most numbing short stories I've ever read--and I can tell who's got the most influence on what part of Talisman because I didn't think the story was that seamless. At every opportunity, Straub wrote him off the page. I'm not particularly anxious to witness another literary "taking to the woodshed".

Oh, hey ... I've got the best example I can offer: 1 volume, 4 stories, right? Put Different Seasons up against Four Past Midnight. King should never have released Four Past.

For those who are fans of Talisman and the current project, might I recommend Straub's Houses Without Doors or Streiber's Billy? I think you'll find appreciation for those as well. Houses is one of Straub's finest moments, in the form of short stories and intermezzos. Billy is of an appreciable narrative voice and is one of about three books which heralded the end of that age. It's also the book that taught me not to badmouth Streiber: he flattened me the way only Straub and McKammon had before.

Tiassa :cool:

Have to agree with you that not everything written by S.King over the last years is as good as his earlier work. Perhaps you should try Eyes Of The Dragon and The Dark Tower books (The Gunslinger, The Drawing Of The Three, The Blasted Lands and Wizzards And Glass), for they are wonderful and completely different than his 'latest' works.

With The Langoliers I got visions of packman and the little balls trying to bite everyone and everything on their way.:p Strange story. What about The Marathon? Did you read that story? Real weird. Imagine...

Peter Straub is a first class writer oh yes. Great to read his books. But I can also read who has written what, in The Talisman and again in Black House. Guess S.King has done a great part of it, as well as P.Straub did.:) You really can read the difference.

Are you referring to Whitley Strieber here? He has also written some nice books. Little difficult to tell the titles in English right now because I am not able to look in my bookcases at the moment.

You know the book Shadowland? Forgot who wrote it, guess it is Peter Straub, but I am not sure. That is a wonderful story.

Well, I love a lot of authors. I dive into the story and keep on reading till its over and done with. Really go into the story and see it happening.;)

If you want to read S.King, try to begin with his earlier works. There he is still fresh.:) I keep on reading his books, he writes it down so nice, real creepy so now and then...
There were three events I've regretted having associates convince me to partake. And although the kicking and screaming were incessant, I finally gave in.

Two of these were the viewing of the movies, "Dune" and the original animated "Lord of the Rings." I'm not sure I'll ever get rid of that bad taste in my mouth.

The third was the reading of Stephen Kings, "The Stand." It was almost as bad as watching TV. :rolleyes:
Banshee ... quickly, since I'm escaping work ....

Indeed, good sir, I am referring to Whitley Streiber. Sometime I'll expound on that movement of writing, a golden age for genre fiction.

But yes ... I recommend Billy as a true American scary story. It's the best I've seen him do.

Incidentally, if you ever find a copy of Douglas E Winter's Prime Evil (I mention it because of Straub in the earlier post; Juniper Tree was first published in this volume), which I'm told sold well in Europe, you'll find a Whitley Streiber story called The Pool which is jaw-dropping; in fact, aside from King's contribution (Night Flyer), the Prime Evil anthology is bulletproof. (If you've ever seen me writing about Jack Cady, this is where I first came across him, too.)

But this is a Stephen King topic, so I should let it wander back to its proper path.

Tiassa :cool:
Thanx Tiassa...

For the info.

I will certainly go after the books you mention. Now I am curious. Thank you so much. I'll get back to you about it. Not that many humans over here at Sciforums to talk to about books. Scary or not scary.;)

Have a nice day...
Red-rum! Red-rum!

King's Book ON WRITING...I'd decided not to buy this one. I've already got scads of books on writing, but being a member of the Barnes and Noble church, <g> I kept pulling it off the shelf and settling into a soft chair to read it. He's one of the few authors I've read about who were able to stay home from the very beginning and just write. Tabitha, his wife supported him as he did so. Eventually, he did get "real" jobs along the way. But the really fascinating thing about this book was his discription of his accident. He was hit by a guy in a van who'd turned to attend to his dog. The guy had been in multiple accidents in the past where he was at fault. And when King was lying in twisted pieces in a ditch, the guy came over and calmly sat down beside him with a "Yup, yup, you sure are hurt..." nonchalant kinda way and King felt he had finally met one of the characters from one of his books. The description was chilling. Annnnnd since he was so generous with his advice, I ended up buying the book.

The thing about King's novels is they were so grippingly intense that I found it VERY hard to put them down. I've never found his movies as good as his books, but then I rarely find any movie as good as any book... with the exception of Out of Africa. But the thing I liked best about King, is the adrenalin rush it gave me. He's the only author who got me to produce an involuntary audible gasp and that was in The Shining. In the bathroom...when you know who suddenly sat up. <G> When I read his work, I get so scared my eyes begin to water, not like when I cry, but somehow different. And I have to slam the book down and close my eyes and relax a bit...take a break...shake it offl. His books always make me glad to be alive and well in boring Smalltown!
Yeah...The Shining...

While I was reading the book, I really was scared when I went to the toilet. had the feeling something could come out of the air-shafts(?) who were in the ceiling.

Wonderful book, much, much better than the movie. In the movie they leave out a lot and the sphere is badly damaged there. Even the end is changed.

I agree with you that books are better than the movies, especially in S. Kings case. Better dive into the book and see it happen in your mind. A whole diferent 'movie'.

The Green Mile is a rather good movie though.

By the way, welcome at Sciforums. That you may post long and happy here...:cool:
Something creepy coming out?

Oh, yeaaaah! I hated walking down my cellar steps for fear a hand would grab my ankle. I started looking really hard at sewer entrances in down town Smalltown. AND I QUIT walking over sidewalk grates! Eeeuuw! No telling what could happen to a mid-west mom in a place like this!

Did you read 'It' also? Whow, that's scary, especially if you have children. Don't let them play outside with their little paper ships in the gutter.

My goodness, imagine...(wipes sweat from forehead) Am I glad my son has reached the honourable age of 14, so I am sure he won't do that any more. Though you never know. He can go into some creepy business. Argh, what a shivers S.King has brought to me.

The last one I read by him was 'Dreamcatcher'. You know it? Tell me more please...

Wasn't IT the one with the clown? He took an innocuous clown...something parents sometimes have to work on their young kids to get used to, and made it the most terrifying thing! King's good for picking ordinary people, things, places, that you really don't pay much attention to, ordinary every day things right under your nose, and scaring the bejesus out of you.

I haven't read Dreamcatcher, I don't believe. I don't remember the last fictitious book of his I read. Real life had become filled with real dread of it's own for a time and I couldn't handle more tension in my life, so I stopped reading his work and turned to lighter books.

I bought his writing book because he had such an unusual style of writing...especially for a man. He doesn't plot out his books ahead of time. He says he picks some characters and he puts them into a situation. He relies on his intuition to figure out what these characters would do in this situation. And he writes his first draft by intuition. He believes spontanaeity and plotting aren't compatible. But after his first draft, he takes a hard look at what this book is about, so then he can shape it a bit more with the overall theme in mind. He says plot is the writer's last choice and the dullard's first choice, which makes him more of an organic sort of writer than a nuts and bolts outlining one.
Yes, I know. I've read 'S.King on writing'. :) That is why the 'Dark Tower' books are that good. He doesn't know when the next will come and he doesn't know yet what will happen with the characters in the books. A remarkable story it is.

Not scary, it is more good fantasy, wonderfull story. I am dying to know when the next one comes out. It's been three years ago now, that the last one, 'Wizzards and Glass' came out. It's about time for the next... :)
More King

I'd heard an announcement that he's retiring. I saw him in a brief interview where he talked about his comeback from his accident, his physical therapy, and so on. He appeared to be in good humor, talked about how by the end of the day his body is wearing out and so achy. And he said it wasn't like he was just going to quit living, that he has two years of projects to work on. I was a little suspicious of the retirement announcement. I wondered if it was a PR ploy to boost sales on his books, or if he perhaps was just mentally exhausted from dealing with all he's dealt with in the past couple of years. I guess time will tell. He can always renounce his retirement and start pecking away any time he likes, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. I tend to think he likes challenges anyway, and may write under another pen name, but who knows?

Y'know, several years ago they were filming some scenes in a tiny town near here. There's a train tunnel, lined with huge stones down on the Katy Trail, our state's train track turned walking trail. I knew they were coming and there was one weekend that I wondered if he'd be coming to this town. I mentioned it to a friend and he poo-poohed the idea, thinking why would HIMSELF <G> show up for something like that. A few weeks after the shooting I happened to be down on that trail talking to a man who runs a bike shop there and I mentioned the filming. He said that King did indeed show up...not the weekend when the filming was happening, but the very weekend I was considering going over there to check out what was going on.

Another bit...when he was on this interview on t.v., he was promoting a Townhall Reading and selling tickets to it to benefit a friend who had major medical problems. He was going to do a live reading and not only that, but what REALLY got me was the fact Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides & Beach Music) was going to be there doing a reading too. Conroy is my all time favorite writer. He writes like a poet...incredible detailed images in his writing. Just luscious writing! But mingled with the beauty is all this sadness and a spunky determination to overcome it all. I have always wanted to meet Conroy...or exchange letters...and the idea of hearing them a place I've always wanted to go, Maine, was just so tempting!
;) I thought Pet Sematary was the most moving King book I ever was fascinating how far horror could transcend itslef to make a powerful statement on the nature of life-

I also did hear that he was retiring- but also that he was going to release one more book in May, another new book in October and a miniseries sometime thereafter. It seems more like an excuse to make more books than a real promise. Or at least I wish it so.

With Dreamcatcher, I honestly put iy down after reading 200 pages. It has yet to be unfrozen from my 'permafrost reject shelf.' Sure, it was mad scary but I just wasn't true Stephen King to me- aliens are something that a human-based writer should never really try to dabble in. He did that with the Tommyknockers and I didn't like that either. It's almost as if it's 'Stephen King doing aliens' and not just Stephen King.

IT, however, was the most enjoyable King book I have ever read. A lot of people will criticize it ffor its lack of direction, but I just wallowed in it. TO THIS DAY whenever I see a clown, or hear of clown, I imagine him slightly less suburbanised, with a few more garish accessories, and REAL hair- it's enough to make me see that thing coming up my shower drain.
Wasn't there a serial killer in Phialadelphia that dressed as a clown and lured children into a clown-car? (and then obviously killed them-) I don't know much about it, but could this guy have inspired King, or even have been madly obsessed with Pennywise and killed the children in that manner in an attempt to emulate the good ol' clown-either way the implications in our own world are chilling.
Yes...Pet Sematary is a wonderful story. :) Just like Cujo, it can happen you know. That's the most scary part.

Dreamcatcher is a good book, though the extraterrestrials are a little the 'bad guys' and that I didn't like so much.

Moonlightwriter, I heard that S.King always showed up when there's been a movie made out of his books. He also writes under the name Richard Bachman.

I really hope there is coming more work from him, I love to read it and oh, do I hope he will finish the Dark Tower story...:)
I never read any of the Dark Tower stuff- I'm thinking now I should-

I used to like Cujo, but then something very similar happened in my own life and I refuse to even look at the cover because of how trivial and commercial that type of attack can be.

But does anyone know the titles of the new books coming out? I'd really like to know so I can put a word with the idea.
I found this from the official SK it old news or am I just naive?

From a Buick 8
Hardcover Novel, Scribner
Tentative release date: September 24, 2002
A limited edition of this book will also be published through Cemetery Dance Publications. For more info, visit

The Kingdom
Television miniseries, ABC/Stephen King
ABC and Stephen King will be collaborating on a dramatic series titled The Kingdom to air sometime in the 2002-03 season. Stephen will write the first two-hour installment. The series was inspired by the Danish miniseries of the same name, directed by Lars Van Trier. The ABC press release describes The Kingdom as a "shocking and frightening tale of a haunted hospital that was built over an ancient graveyard. The doctors have put all their faith into science and technology, and are dismissive of any suggestion of mysticism or unseen their own peril."
Date Not Set
Major Motion Picture Release/Castle Rock
Dreamcatcher, the film based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel, tells of four young friends who perform a heroic act -- and are changed forever by the uncanny powers they gain in return. Years later the friends, now men, are on a hunting trip in the Maine woods when they are overtaken by a blizzard, a vicious storm in which something much more ominous moves...

Challenged to stop an alien force, the friends must first prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians by a military vigilante, then overcome a threat to the bond between them. In the end, the friends confront an unparalleled horror, with the fate of the world in the balance.

Lawrence Kasdan, whose film credits include Body Heat, The Big Chill, Silverado, Grand Canyon, and French Kiss, will direct. The film will star Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore as military officers. Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, and Timothy Olyphant will play the four friends, with Donnie Wahlberg as the mysterious figure at the center of their circle.

Production begins January 13, 2002, in the snowy woods of Prince George, British Columbia, and later moves to Vancouver. Watch this space for continuing reports...

Everything's Eventual
Hardcover short story collection, Scribner
Publication Date: March 19, 2002
Posted: 7 February 2002
Major Motion Picture Release/Castle Rock
Dreamcatcher, the film based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel, tells of four young friends who perform a heroic act -- and are changed forever by the uncanny powers they gain in return. Years later the friends, now men, are on a hunting trip in the Maine woods when they are overtaken by a blizzard, a vicious storm in which something much more ominous moves...

Challenged to stop an alien force, the friends must first prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians by a military vigilante, then overcome a threat to the bond between them. In the end, the friends confront an unparalleled horror, with the fate of the world in the balance.*

Thanx for the info Congratulations. :) Dreamcatcher doesn't sound completely like the book, as always when they make a movie after a book by S.King. In the book it is not really an Alien invasion. A Spacecraft crashes and it turns out that the Aliens are victims themselves too. There is a catch though! Something mysterious came with them down to Earth and that is the danger...

Pity that the Aliens always have to play the bad part . ;) The militay is acting aweful in this story, I hope that will be shown also in the movie... :)
Any body a fan of "Stand By Me" ? I believe that it was based on a short story by King called "The Body". The only movie I've seen that had Kings name on it, that I liked.

The fact that so many bad (IMHO) movies were made from his stories kept me from reading his books...but I have a trip to Texas coming up soon....maybe I'll get the chance for some in-flight reading.
Welcome Red2m4!

I agree with your observations that most of the movies adapted from SK's books have been pretty bad...... sorry, I just read what I wrote and can see how pompus that first sentence is - "I agree with your observations...blah blah blah" - I'll start again, and I'm not even sure if I spelt 'pompus' right, :eek: sorry again.... start again-

HI THERE, Welcome aboard the forums Red2m4 :)

What I'm trying to spit out is that most of the movies I've seen made from his books do suck. The only one worthy of praise (IMHO) was The Green Mile. But read the book first. I think its one of my favorites. My other favourite was The Dead Zone. The title sounds scary but it's more realistic than you would think, meaning it's not about zombies which first came to my mind when I saw the title. Stand By Me was a very early short story and I loved that too. King has some great books and some fairly ordinary ones. But it's really a matter of what you like to read.
Good luck.