How good is Stephen King as a writer?

Brian G Turner

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I mentioned on another thread about how I found his novels tend to be incomplete, with endings that seem more open-ended than all issues rounded completed.

Yet his characters are fairly engaging - even if they do tend to be early middle-age Bob Dylan & soft rock fans. :)

How does Stephen King compare as a writer in general? What would you say are his strengths, and which are his weaknesses?
 

Silk

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I find him really inconsistant; but then I haven't read many of his works.

I read IT and was totaly absorbed; I read the tommyknockers and nearly died of boardom and then I read dreamcatcher and was a bit (actually quite a lot :) ) confussed.

I also tried to read the one about the car and couldn't get past the first page.

But when I see his films or TV shows he's been involved with I always think he must be very tallented and diverse, I just can't seam to find it in his writting
 

Lament Du Lamia

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(i will not say it... i will not say it... i must not -)

grah, Stephen King. >_< - oh, how i dislike his books. I just dont think he can write. And it seems like he drags things out a bit, like in desperation and .. i dont even remember the name of the book. It was about some disease, kills almost everyone. I could feel my brain cells dying - one by one.
 

tonic

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The Stand :)

Yes that was quite a long book and was a bit boring at the beginning but was really good once you got into it. I just read the dark tower books and a few of his other works and I've been pleasantly surprised, I'm actually starting to like him even though horror isn't my thing. Oh and his book On Writing which is supposed to give tips to upcoming writers was supposed to be really really good. Im going to give it a look soon.
 

Lament Du Lamia

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Yes, the Stand is what it was called. Though - i lied. I liked ... the title is Eyes of the Dragon, or in the Eyes of the Dragon. something along those lines - its been a while. the point is it is one i liked.
 

KennyLucius

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I don't really care for Stephen King, but he is one of the most-honored authors in recent history. I find it strange that Stephen King is at the top of the list, but they are mostly Stoker and IHG awards--I guess if you're a big fish in a small pond, you can really rack up the accolades.
 

laznlor

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I love him, he scares the pants off of me, and completely sucks me in. I love that so many of his books are tied in together. However, and thats a big however, he is losing it. Dreamcatcher was terrible. Just truly awful, and the movie was even worse. I think he needs to spend more time doing either more fantasy (Dark Tower type stuff) or more Bradbury-esque books (the Stand, which none of you like apparently, I see as having Something Wicked This Way Comes as its direct forbear). When he gets into aliens, ugh.
 

laznlor

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shaggydog said:
I never could go over page 2 with this guy. Some book you can specially recommend?maybe i will resist...
Maybe try his collection The Bachman Books. Four long stories, all of which I thought were really good. The original The Running Man is in it, and its much better than the movie they made. As for his big ones, The Stand is one of my favorites. The whole battle between good and evil and they question of where it comes from gets me every time. Eyes of the Dragon for more teen fantasy stuff, and the Dark Tower books, but they are a bit of a commitment. I can never recommend just one.....lol.
 

erickad71

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The Stand is my favorite Stephen King book. Not as scary as It though, that book about scared the pants off of me.;) I haven't read his Bachman books, I'll have to see if my library has them.
 

Leto

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erickad71 said:
The Stand is my favorite Stephen King book. Not as scary as It though, that book about scared the pants off of me.;) I haven't read his Bachman books, I'll have to see if my library has them.
Go for there, they're among his best work.
Other favorites of mine includes Christine, Cujo, Firestarter, Salem's lot, IT, and so on.
I don't like his fantasy work, and find that since Insomnia his horror works gets poorer and poorer. The worst must have been a catch between Dreamcatcher and From a Buick 8.
 

PenDragon

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I stopped reading after IT, but had read most of his stuff up till then. I say his strengths as a writer are...

By making the setting, background, and characters all ultra realistic and detailed he makes it easy to allow his readers to suspend belief and buy the supernatural element in his books.

Atmosphere, his books drip with this New England almost Amercian Gothic sense of place and mood and his writing builds this convincing sense of Evil existing as an Entity.

His secondary characters are great and often memorable.

His style is clean crisp and unpretentious.

He is very, very, very prolific.

He also has one very twisted imagination which helps when you're a horror writer.

I'd recomend Salem's Lot, The Shinning or IT for anyone who wants to see Horror writing at it's best. I'd also recomend The Bachman Books and Different Seasons.
 

Wandaful

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I love King as a writer

My favourite story is The Long Walk... Truely captivating....

I also loved The Stand , really didn't like Dreamcatcher :confused: I could barely believe he wrote it....

Love all the DT series

Cheers
 

fungi from Yuggoth

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I've only read a couple of his stories (Pet Sematery, Green Mile, and Nightmares and Dreamscapes) and found him throughly mediocre as a writer, neither overly terrible or stand-out great. He tends to be an easy read with not many deep layers to worry about, and his plots are easy to follow and flow well. That's really about the best I can say about him. On the other end he tends to be overlong, stretching out simple plots to five or six times their proper length, and many of his works read like Hollywood screenplays.
 

ravenus

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he tends to be overlong, stretching out simple plots to five or six times their proper length
This is my main grouse with King...Many a time what could have been a really cool long story/novella ends up as a stretched out, gasping for ideas, novel.

The works of his I love most:
Different Seasons - Collection of 3 great and 1 so-so (the last) novellas
Hearts in Atlantis - Beautiful tear-jerking magic realism narrative
Shining - Great isolaton fear piece
Skeleton Crew and Night Shift - Excellent short story collections
 

a|one

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I liked The Stand, The Bachman books (yes especially The Long Walk:)), Hearts in Atlantis was great, though it tended to go a little downhill after about halfway. Tried to read The Tommyknockers, didn't find it that interesting. Didn't read Dreamcatcher, but I actually enjoyed the movie.
I think King is a pretty talented author, but I think he goes more for quantity and profit than quality, and has used up some of his creative genious already.
Would really like to read The Shining, thought the movie is awesome.
 

ravenus

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Would really like to read The Shining, thought the movie is awesome.
The movie and the book have very different perspectives on the events that take place so don't be surprised by the differences. Both are great in their own way.
 

Green

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I used to read King a lot years ago, loved IT, Bachman Books, Four Past Midnight etc.. I love the way he can take an ordinary person in an ordinary situation and somehow keep me riveted to every single page. The way he gets into peoples' heads and lives is better than any other, imo.

Someone's already mentioned the New England atmosphere, and the way his books link together, in a hinted-at kind of way.

Recently (last few years) I read Insomnia and loved the first half... then read Dreamcatcher and thought "hmmm". I still promise myself that I will find the time to read The Stand one of these days, but I've never gotten round to it...

What was the one he did about two princes, where one was the good prince, one was a slightly sinister one who was being manipulated by the evil wizard, and the good prince got framed for murder and put in the tower?

I read that years ago and loved it. Would like to find it again.
 
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