How good is Stephen King as a writer?

Discussion in 'Stephen King' started by Brian G Turner, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. mtzGr

    mtzGr Well-Known Member

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    While some of his stories I have not been able to get through (Lisey's Story, The Girl of Loved Tom Gordon), most of them really suck me in (The Stand, Dark Tower Series, Insomnia, Firestarter, The Talisman, Black House etc..).

    He is a very strong writer, but I must confess that I have not read anything later than the last book in the Dark Tower series.
     
  2. antiloquax

    antiloquax Trans-MUTE!

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    He's so good he must have sold his soul to the devil or something.
    ;)
     
  3. Phyrebrat

    Phyrebrat ba-Ba-ba-brat

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    Stephen King is my touchstone.

    When I go through those awful phases where I have read all of a certain author's work and am waiting on discovering something new, I invariably re-read an SK book until I come across a new author.

    I am not a complete fan though as after reading Misery when it came out and then more recently Rose Madder I do not enjoy his psychological works. I know Rose Madder is not just psychological but it doesn't really have the monster of the week theme that I love him for.

    But I think he is diverse in his stories, he has the weird tales, the haunted house/ghost tales, the monster ones, the psychological ones, the fantasy and then his shorts. That takes some real talent (although I am not saying he is the only one, just please don't mention Dean Koontz).

    If I was a smoker and you asked me to give up that or SK novels, the cigarettes would go, without a doubt. SK has escorted me through childhood and into adulthood (I am now 39). I have read the vast majority of his stuff and so his tales have woven themselves into part of who I am.

    I wouldn't try to convert or proselytise to non-believers as there are plenty of authors/genres that other people evangelise that I do not like, but I must admit to being baffled when I hear anyone say they don't like his stories. I really mean that. Maybe it is because I was so young when I began reading him that I cannot be objective but then, I don't know, because I am objective about his psycho works.

    The one thing I do not like are the films or TV series. The Mist was superb as were the Green Mile and Shawshank but my favourite book, It was butchered in the TV miniseries, and I own it because I love Tim Curry's Pennywise

    Character, pacing and immersion are his strengths and I just blimin love him.

    And a final recommendation to any SK fans reading this, check out The Elementals by Michael McDowell. It is a wonderful book but sadly only around 250 pages.
     
  4. dlsevern

    dlsevern Science fiction fantasy

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    My best suggestion when it comes to King is to understand that his stories exist in alternate universes and many relate back to his Dark Tower series. Say he is writing a story set in New York, his New York wouldn't be the Big Apple as we see it, it would be the city as it appears in an alternate world. Maybe in his story, the Statue of Liberty doesn't exist or 9/11 never happened, the geography might be slightly off. When it comes to King you have to keep an open mind. The more you read of him, the more you start to realize that although you can read the majority of his library as separate stories, really they are all connected, he is building a world far more intricate than any in literary history.
     
  5. Christopher Lee

    Christopher Lee Formerly BluePhoenix711

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    Stephen King is my go to man when I need something to read and haven't purchased anything else new. I've read most all of his books. I believe he is an amazing writer. The flow of his words, his paragraph and sentence structure is flawless from my eyes as a reader.

    I think his stories are deep and engaging and I don't think anyone can bring character's to life as well as he can.

    This is a very biased opinion as I am a big fan of his. I like many others as well of course. My two cents. :) :D

    To this day, Hearts in Atlantis is my all time favorite book. Right ahead of The Stand.
     
  6. Revolver

    Revolver Member

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    hes agreat writer.
     
  7. lecapitan

    lecapitan New Member

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    He's of course an incredible writer with great talent to make his worlds, despite obviously impossible, seem like they exist in some parallel universe..

    I don't think anyone can argue with that, I think the only problem comes when he writes a mediocre novel and just because of the "king" name, it sells like hotcakes and has excellent reviews.

    Either way, reading through the mediocre ones to get to the gems is more than worth it.
     
  8. alternatesanity

    alternatesanity Sanity is optional

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    I've seen and done a lot in my life which turned o
    Stulifyingly boring, I only made it to page five before total mind shutdown. Flicking through the book and reading a bit here and there I found the plot didn't improve any pace wise but read enough to notice credibility gaps you could drive a bus through.
    Obviously there are plenty of others who actually like his work so good on him.
     
  9. pickle

    pickle New Member

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    i think his stories are tremendous, i get so wrapped up in them then i have the misfortune of getting towards the end and this is where, in my opinion, he lets himself down, really frequently.

    IT
    11.22.63
    The Stand
    The Mist
    The Shining
    Under The Dome
    Cell

    From the above i feel they all suffer from incredibly weak endings and a number of his books are better on screen due to the change in the endings (The Mist & The Shining). I will still continue to read him and the prior 600-1000 pages are engrossing but i cant help feeling deflated when i get to the end of his books.
     
  10. ratsy

    ratsy www.scifiexplorations.com

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    I love me some King. I only started reading him a few years ago and there are many I have yet to read. Below are the ones I have read.

    Dead Zone
    Eye of the Dragon
    The Gunslinger
    The Drawing of the Three
    Duma Key
    The Cell
    11/22/63
    Under the Dome
    Longwalk

    I am sure there are a couple more and I have read one of the newer short story ones.

    Also I have the Stand, IT, and another in a TBR pile at home.

    His writing is flawless to me and such a good style and flow to it. He is one of the few authors I read that I have a hard time putting it down and can read it so fast.

    The great thing about him is the fact that there are countless books of his I have yet to experience so I have years of King to come.
     
  11. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in fer me

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    You haven't read The Shining?? You should definitely read The Shining!
     
  12. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being deviant IS my art.

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    King is most obviously a great writer judging by his fan base and his very long writing history. And unlike a lot of writers these days, he writes it all himself. He doesn't have six co-writers so he can put out six books a year ala Patterson, Cussler, etc.

    Having said all that, as for me, myself, personally, I don't get him. His writing style is sooooo boooorrrriiinnngggggg. He will never use one word where a hundred will do! Honestly I tried. I really tried to get through The Stand. Got about a quarter way through before I had to give up. A snail's pace is hyperdrive compared to King's writing.
     
  13. steve12553

    steve12553 The Enigma of Steel

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    I have probably 50 of his books and have read 30 something of them. Of those 30 something I really enjoyed 20 something, 5 bored me and 5 I couldn't get through for one reason or another. On the whole, I would call him successful if I were a typical reader. (Of course I'm probably so far off base that it wouldn't matter anyhow).
     
  14. BetaWolf

    BetaWolf Keith A. Manuel

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    I have had an odd history with him. I have yet to finish one of his books. I am a fan of post-apocalyptic (writing one right now myself :)) but I could not get through The Stand. I am reading Carrie right now, but it's more out of morbid curiosity than anything. I just can't step away. :eek:

    The Green Mile was okay, but I saw the movie first so it probably ruined the series for me. I'll try The Shining, just for you, Hoopy. :)

    In any case, he is commercially successful. And I can't deny that he's doing something right for his dedicated fanbase.
     
  15. biodroid

    biodroid Expensive Gadget User

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    What I love about Stephen King is a lot of critics compare him to Charles Dickens of the modern age but he modestly acknowledges Dickens is a superior writer. I have read Great Expectations when in school so it never really made sense to me. SK is very modest, he knows his roots, and he knows his fame but does not shove it in your face. I will always buy Stephen King novel when its released regardless of the reviews thats the following I have with his work, and I am sure many others are the same. He may not be as good as Dickens but the man sure knows how to write characters and weave a good story. To me he is like Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison, pretty much timeless.
     
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  16. biodroid

    biodroid Expensive Gadget User

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    Admittedly he has diarreah of the typewriter and some books like Liseys Story were trash, but if it wasnt for the legend himself I would not be loving fiction of any kind. He is the reason I got hooked on books when I read Pet Sematary and The Shining.
     
  17. ratsy

    ratsy www.scifiexplorations.com

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    No I haven't read it yet. I want to read it so I can read his sequel coming out this year.
     
  18. Kevin11

    Kevin11 Member

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    Stephen King is without question a fantastic writer. I was once asked, "If you could only read the work of three writers for the rest of your life, who would you choose?" I picked Jack Vance first - I love his prose - and then Stephen King. (I couldn't decide on a third.)

    But that was way, way back in the '90s. Sometime around then I stopped reading his work. He was still good, but I didn't feel that the stuff he was starting to put out was up to his prior standards. I didn't know if his publisher was rushing him or he had other issues, but he was in the position where he could sell anything (and he still is) and maybe that had something to do with it. I spoke with some other King fans back then and they felt the same.

    Regardless, word on the street is that he has regained his mojo - that he got it back maybe a decade ago. I've bought a couple of his books since then, but haven't gotten around to reading them, so some have been gathering dust for 10 years or so. At some point I'll undoubtedly go back and start reading him again.

    As to his work, The Stand is without question his best book. the characters, the setting, the conflict...it all came together beautifully.
     
  19. Christopher Lee

    Christopher Lee Formerly BluePhoenix711

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    Before the intervention his wife and close family performed to get him off the many drugs he was addicted to, his fiction was second to none. I hate believing this is why, but I think it was during those drug crazed years of his life that he did his best work. Something inside him changed when the drugs were gone, and he even admitted to having trouble writing again after dropping them. Of course he still found his way back, but not without something missing. I love Stevie, but there is something missing in his post Pet Semetary work. He still writes great prose, but it just doesn't have that edge anymore. I enjoyed Under the Dome, but it doesn't hold a candle to The Stand. I have high hopes for "Doctor Sleep". He says that for doctor sleep he returned to old school scare-your-pants off. We'll see.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2013
  20. Christopher Lee

    Christopher Lee Formerly BluePhoenix711

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    Oh man. We agree wholeheartedly about Stephen King, but Lovecraft is another story. As a "writer" Lovecraft was mediocre at best. His dialogue was absolutely atrocious. He was,.however, one of the greatest "imaginers" of all time. A category I also fit Clive Barker into. But many writers are better at prose than old Lovecraft. It's great you like him, just wanted to put in my opinion. :)
     
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