A lot of people, my wife included, write off Stephen King as a writer.
Is it because he is immensely popular? Wealthy? Prolific? Is there a stigma involved for writers who specialize in horror?
I think all of the above apply. I read all of his works growing up. The local library would supply me with my fill and I would indulge endlessly. At night, I would read his work until the early hours. Never once could I pull myself away from his work. I was addicted…
At my school, we had quiet reading time at the beginning of the lesson. I would pull my latest acquisition from the library out of my school bag. I can see the teacher now as she asked me to hold the book up. I did. She stared down at me with a sneer, her lips curled at the edges.
“We do not read those at this school,” she would chide. “Read something of substance.”
Now, to me a story was and is something that can involve the reader. If you can’t take your eyes off the work, then it’s a hit. Stephen King managed to grab me every time. Whether the story was about Vampires, the end of the world or a creepy shop owner, I was there, I was addicted. I read other writers’ work, but always returned to the master of suspense masterpieces.
What makes his books so good in my opinion are simple ingredients. Characters, places and storylines.
The characters are strong, rounded and always believable. I found myself liking them, hating them and sympathising with them. The places, the towns are so realistic. Those people really do exist, believe me! I came from a small town and there’s always a gossip, a drunk and a town cop. The social aspect of his books are fantastic, he gets to all those little secrets every town wishes to hide. The story lines drove me to the end, especially the short stories. I especially went for the short stories. To me, the ability to write a novella with such skill is a dying art. Think about it, a short story that takes a character from one frame of mind to another in perhaps 50 pages has to be really crafted to make it work. I can’t get enough of them.
So, if anyone wants to get into something they haven’t tried before, I’d suggest trying his work. The stories will have you gripped as I was gripped into the night. You won’t forget them in a hurry.
I don’t know Mr King in real life, I have no idea what he is like as a person. But, his work is top of the tree for me.
Let me know who you consider to be a great writer and why? Feel free to comment!