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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Stephen King - Love or Hate? #WriterlyWednesdays 8

Welcome to Writerly Wednesdays 8 and today I have chosen to talk about a writer who has written some of the most fantastic horror out there: Mr Stephen King.

Stephen King 
Love of Hate?

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Other than the fact I can never remember if his name had a 'v' or a 'ph' there is a lot to love about Stephen King. Did you know he sells some of his stories to film students and theatre productions for $1 (Dollar Babies) so they can afford to use his material? I didn't until I saw a tweet about it and I think that's awesome.

However, what I really wanted to talk about is his writing. Now, as a reader, I actually have a bit of a love/hate relationship with King's work. When I love it, I can read it over and over again, but sometimes I just don't get on with a particular book.

I've never quite been able to explain King's style. It has a remoteness about the narration, being very bleak and straightforward and yet it dargs me in every time and throws all the punches. When it hooks me into a story I can't put the book down, but in other novels it has left me cold and I don't want to keep reading. Therefore the only conclusion I can come to is that, when it comes to Stephen King, it is all in the story for me and the way it is put together.

Let's look at two examples:
  • Salem's Lot
  • IT

Salem's Lot

Salem's Lot is by far my favourite Stephen King novel to date. My copy is so old and battered I'm sure that sooner or later it is going to fall apart on me. It is one of my go to books when I feel like reading something that is an old friend.

I suppose the fact it's all about vampires probably helps, but I don't think that is the only reason I love it.

The mini-series with David Soul came out on TV over here in the UK in the early 80s and I saw that before I read the book. It scared the ever-living hell out of me :). I also enjoy the remake staring Rob Lowe, but that's getting off the point.

This is a story which is very bleak. It's about the death of a town thanks to vampires and it always grips me from beginning to end. There are all sorts of details, that with a less skilled writer might make me want to put the book down because I just wanted plot, but not with King. I soak it in like a sponge every time.

The characters aren't exactly the epitome of human evolution or kindness, but that makes them all the more interesting.

The plot is brilliant and intricate, with just enough twists to grab the imagination. This is a great book.



Here we have another great premise of the town of Derry, under siege from a malevolent supernatural entity over hundreds of years. An entity which is preying on children.

Once again I saw the mini-series first and I love it. I watch it over and over again. Pennywise is so damn scary.

However, then I tried to read the book.

I've never managed to finish it. This is one that I found too bleak. It was too horrible for me and too heavy. I didn't find anything to latch onto in the book in the way I did the TV adaptation. I'm not sure if it's entirely the structure or that fact that the book goes places the TV series did not dare, or what, but I just can't read it. I've tried twice now and still not managed it.

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Love the adaptation, can't get into the original material. I think it's may be to do with structure and characters; I think they made everything, including the protagonists, a little less dark in the tv version. It will be interesting to see how the new adaptation does with the story.


So there you have it, two examples of Stephen King that produce entirely different reactions in me as a reader, yet written by the same author. I'm really not sure why I love some of his books and don't like others, all I do know is that there is never anything guaranteed when it comes to me reading Mr King.

Just before I pop off I do have to mention my other favourite King story, only this one isn't a novel, it was written purely for the screen and it is brilliant:

Rose Red

This is the story of a house that eats people, decade after decade, until it goes dormant. Then a psychic team go in to investigate just before it is to be pulled down and the house starts to wake up again.

This story is pure brilliance.

It's creepy, it will make you jump and it's coldly horrifying for so many reasons other than the scares. It's full of superb characters and had a great cast. If you are a fan of Bones, Emily Deschanel is blonde and psychic in this one.

This is another of my go to horror staples and it great for curling up on a dark evening for a good scare. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

What I also love about Stephen King is how he, like Stan Less, cameos in the films that use his stories. :)

Are you a Stephen King fan? What is you favourite story of his? If not, who is your favourite horror author?

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Have something a little bit scary to share? All bloggers, authors and artists welcome. Just click the link to see all the details:


  1. Well, I don't need to answer your questions about my fav Stephen King horror, because you said it all, from Salem's Lot to It and on the Rose Red :).

    However, my favourite horror author is Susan Hill, the Woman in Black is just a great story in the gothic horror genre, and I've been picking up some of her other books too. Traditional, spooky, ghostly horror :)

  2. The Stand was the first SK novel I read. It will always be my favorite work of his.I hadn't really gotten into the scary books/movies as a kid. The few that I read /watched were all about the scare factor.
    With The Stand, there was character development, humor, and so many other things, it demonstrated to me that you could have a thriller that wasn't just about the gore.

  3. I read the Dark Tower series, and my God, was it so boring. Only the 3rd and 5th book were decent, but for the most part, I was just angry after the 7th book for how awful it was. Felt like a waste of time.


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