How good is Stephen King as a writer?

Phyrebrat

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Well that’s one potential reader I’ve lost :D

I write weird fiction and horror. It’s full of interjections - usually by parentheses or dash. I believe conditioning (whether schooling, parenting, or just simple exposure) is more likely to inform our take on parentheses (and so on) in fiction rather than it being right or wrong.

Everything ain’t for everyone, but the thought of discounting such practices and techniques for an author seems like an own goal - especially when it’s not an empirical thing.

I’ve been listening (struggling) to the Losers Club podcast. It’s a Stephen King podcast that came highly recommended and I marvel at the ensemble of casters and the things they claim he’s good or bad at. But that’s going to be true for everyone isn’t it? For example, one of my favourite SK books is From a Buick 8. It’s allegedly universally disliked. That particular story has lots of open-ended threads which is what I like in weird fiction and horror. I’m far more entertained by 75% info and the ability to consider what ifs.

Conversely I struggled through The Stand. I found it pedestrian and dull and have only read it once as a result. I’ve read many of his other books multiple times.

One thing I find strange is that I don’t hear more positive things about Duma Key. It’s a phenomenal read with very little explanation of what and why.

What I’m not fond of isn’t his supposed problematic endings, but his depiction of the squalor of alcoholism. I’ve stopped Doctor Sleep 70 pages in even though I'd been looking forward to reading it. So often he includes those SK tropes and I’ve just had enough of alcoholism as one of them.

I suspect it’s just a case of the wider an audience, the higher the chance of people not liking (or liking!) the text.

pH
 

Josh K

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I haven't read a lot of his work, though I've gotten through a few. I don't think he's really all that good. I mean, he's not bad, and he's written some great stuff, but I think the bigger factor is that he is prolific. I recently picked up a book by R.A. Salvatore - I liked his drizzt stuff when I was a kid and decided to try out what he'd written. The book was mediocre to bad. However, he's getting published because he's a well known name. I think the same can be said for Stephen King. Once an author gets their name out there, as long as they keep writing and have mixed to good reception they'll keep getting published - that's just a business decision at that point (cause well-known people sell better).
 

Matteo

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...For example, one of my favourite SK books is From a Buick 8. It’s allegedly universally disliked...

Not by this reader

...Conversely I struggled through The Stand. I found it pedestrian and dull and have only read it once as a result.

I also found the expanded version a bit of a slog - but remember (admittedly not long after it came out - so many years before) reading the original version at a rate of knots. To me, that means that his editor did a good job...

...What I’m not fond of isn’t his supposed problematic endings, but his depiction of the squalor of alcoholism. I’ve stopped Doctor Sleep 70 pages in even though I'd been looking forward to reading it. So often he includes those SK tropes and I’ve just had enough of alcoholism as one of them.

I also had to push my way through the first part of Dr Sleep but ended up liking it. And of course SK suffered from alcoholism so he's writing what he knows.
 

Judderman

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Yes he is often has key characters as journalists or other type of writers. No doubt he puts a lot of his own experience in to his stories for background.
 

Wordromancer

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I feel King's strong point is his story-telling. He is great at coming up with stories that can be just chilling! For that, I am a fan. As a writer... I'm not always so impressed.
 

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