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Changing my perspective on Stephen King

sirmyk

New Member
He's won three World Fantasy Awards (including one for lifetime achievement), the O. Henry Award, five Locus Awards, a Hugo Award for some of his nonfiction, an HWA (Horror Writers Association) Lifetime Achievement Award, six Horror Guild Awards, six Bram Stokers, and even The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters... but a Nobel? I think the Cretin's mistaken.
 

jay

New Member
Hmmm, for some reason I received no email alerts on this thread…

Cretin said:
I don't agree with that at all, although King is by no means a perfect writer.

As you’re allowed to.
While I blanch at anyone thinking themselves as a “perfect” writer, King, by every definition aside from sales, is a really poor writer.
And I highly question that kind of technician writing a book (or partial book) guiding others.

I also think you have a hot air balloon head. Someone should prick that.

I appreciate the offer (I don’t swing that way).
Sorry, no air here, just some experience reading, you know, good writers.

You quote and try to make a mockery of me, but instead of examples or citations you use blank, smartass commentary.

Er, no. I attempted no such thing. Settle down on the defence.
Go back and re-read (post number 11).

Actually, his memoir is amusing and helpful.

It may be. Still a scary thought though.
But no, I have no bloody desire to read about King As A Boy nor his hot tips on how to “write”.

For one thing, my favorite, it disdains flowery language: if there's something brown and stinky in the toilet, just call it shit. I think that's a great lesson.

And you need King to teach you that?
Better yet, if the reader doesn’t need to know if there is any “shit” in the bowl, don’t write it. If the reader doesn’t even need to know there is a toilet: don’t write it.
No charge.

Also, The Gunslinger book is terse as a desert.

Terse? Did he manage to come in under 600 pages on that one?
(psssssst: deserts lack substance and nutrition)

- but he is undeserving of your moronic diatribe.

But he’s deserving of a legion of moronic readers?

King is among the best selling authors ever and winner of the Nobel Prize.

Funny that…

I'd take his advice over a wannabe elitest forum urchin any day.

Cheers to you. And look where you are…

And horror is not dead. Ever read Edward Lee or Carlton Mellick III? Oh, I didn't think so. :p

That’s about as “horror” as Green Day are “punk”.
And please, don’t ever think for me.

sirmyk said:
…and even The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters... but a Nobel?

And wouldn’t hold up the “and even” too highly as this *totally* pissed off most of the community, voters and recipients.
An absolutely disgusting gesture in which he made an utter cock out himself in his speech.

I think the Cretin's mistaken.

I think it would be far easier to point of the thing Cretin is right about rather than the wrongs…but let’s not hold our breath looking for it.
j
 

muggle

New Member
Kookamoor, try one of his books that have been recommended here. I think you will like King as he tells a good story.
 

jay

New Member
I occasionally have email contact with a former NBA winner, he was a judge on the board and left thereafter. Not entirely because of the King incident, he was tired of the whole process regardless.
Some of his comments were priceless, but they were not public. This was, so here’s a great one by Professor Harold Bloom (kids, take note of the names celebrated in this article, and of the good professor himself):


Boston.com
Dumbing down American readers
By Harold Bloom, 9/24/2003
THE DECISION to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis. The publishing industry has stooped terribly low to bestow on King a lifetime award that has previously gone to the novelists Saul Bellow and Philip Roth and to playwright Arthur Miller. By awarding it to King they recognize nothing but the commercial value of his books, which sell in the millions but do little more for humanity than keep the publishing world afloat. If this is going to be the criterion in the future, then perhaps next year the committee should give its award for distinguished contribution to Danielle Steel, and surely the Nobel Prize for literature should go to J.K. Rowling.
What's happening is part of a phenomenon I wrote about a couple of years ago when I was asked to comment on Rowling. I went to the Yale University bookstore and bought and read a copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." I suffered a great deal in the process. The writing was dreadful; the book was terrible. As I read, I noticed that every time a character went for a walk, the author wrote instead that the character "stretched his legs." I began marking on the back of an envelope every time that phrase was repeated. I stopped only after I had marked the envelope several dozen times. I was incredulous. Rowling's mind is so governed by cliches and dead metaphors that she has no other style of writing.
But when I wrote that in a newspaper, I was denounced. I was told that children would now read only J.K. Rowling, and I was asked whether that wasn't, after all, better than reading nothing at all? If Rowling was what it took to make them pick up a book, wasn't that a good thing?
It is not. "Harry Potter" will not lead our children on to Kipling's "Just So Stories" or his "Jungle Book." It will not lead them to Thurber's "Thirteen Clocks" or Kenneth Grahame's "Wind in the Willows" or Lewis Carroll's "Alice."
Later I read a lavish, loving review of Harry Potter by the same Stephen King. He wrote something to the effect of, "If these kids are reading Harry Potter at 11 or 12, then when they get older they will go on to read Stephen King." And he was quite right. He was not being ironic. When you read "Harry Potter" you are, in fact, trained to read Stephen King.
Our society and our literature and our culture are being dumbed down, and the causes are very complex. I'm 73 years old. In a lifetime of teaching English, I've seen the study of literature debased. There's very little authentic study of the humanities remaining. My research assistant came to me two years ago saying she'd been in a seminar in which the teacher spent two hours saying that Walt Whitman was a racist. This isn't even good nonsense. It's insufferable.
I began as a scholar of the romantic poets. In the 1950s and early 1960s, it was understood that the great English romantic poets were Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, John Keats, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. But today they are Felicia Hemans, Charlotte Smith, Mary Tighe, Laetitia Landon, and others who just can't write. A fourth-rate playwright like Aphra Behn is being taught instead of Shakespeare in many curriculums across the country.
Recently I spoke at the funeral of my old friend Thomas M. Green of Yale, perhaps the most distinguished scholar of Renaissance literature of his generation. I said, "I fear that something of great value has ended forever."
Today there are four living American novelists I know of who are still at work and who deserve our praise. Thomas Pynchon is still writing. My friend Philip Roth, who will now share this "distinguished contribution" award with Stephen King, is a great comedian and would no doubt find something funny to say about it. There's Cormac McCarthy, whose novel "Blood Meridian" is worthy of Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick," and Don DeLillo, whose "Underworld" is a great book.
Instead, this year's award goes to King. It's a terrible mistake.
 

Richard Rahl

New Member
Protecting the King...

*Clears his throat* Hey! Jay!! Are you ready? I am a writer, I have a kick ass writing mentor, I am a reader, and I read all the time, I read all diffeent kinds of things- I know a good writer, when I see one.
Also, you don't need to be an amazing writer to give amazing advice- any good writer knows certain rules, and if he follows them he can be a good writer- if he follows them, with some natural talent, he can be an amazing writer. Whether or not you think Stephen King has that little bit of talentis your call, but don't be saying he completely sucks at writing and can't build anything- especially characters. Have you ever read a Stephen King book? An ENTIRE Stephen King book? I doubt it. Consider the following tidbits of advice.

1) "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."

2)"'Omit needless words.'" (Elements of Style)

3) "Consider the sentence He closed the door firmly. It is by no means a terrible sentence... but ask yourself if firmly really has to be there. YOu can srgue that it expresses a degree of difference between He closed the door and He slammed the door, and you'll get no argument from me.... but what about context? What aboutall the... prose that came before...? Shouldn't this tell us how he closed the door?... Someone is now accusing me of being tiresome and anal retentive. I deny it. I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs..."

4)"You should avoid the passive tense."

~~~~

Good advice galore. Stephen King writes by thinking of a what if question-or situation (i.e. "What if vampires invaded a small New England village? [Salem's Lot]") and then he writes about it. He tells you what you need to know with rich detail (not superfluous, mind you), down-to-earth dialogue, full-bodied charactes, and original story ideas. I admit some of the plots become repetitive, but that doesn't matter because the prose is wonderful.

Jay, I urge you to think before you open that mouth of yours- and realize that every word you say, is saying something. Every word has meaning, even if you don't realize it. We take the time to try and listen to what you're saying, but we get mad because obviously, you aren't listening to us if you continue saying things withour backing them up. Don't say something is horrible unless you've tried it. So go on- go read a King book, I think you'll love it.
 

KristoCat

New Member
I agree with what you said about Stephen King, Richard. I think he's a good writer and I've really enjoyed the greater part of his works. I agree with you especially about the characters.

However, I'm willing to bet the Jay has actually read at least one book by King and just dislikes it. King's writing was distateful to him, his style was lacking in his opinion. (I think I'm getting that right?)

So Richard likes SK's writing and Jay hates it. No need to get angry. It's just a guy who tells stories.
 

sirmyk

New Member
Stephen King's been writing now for about 40 years. Does anyone think his style has changed over this time? I have read most of his work, and can see a major change in his writing after he got off the coke/alcohol in the 80s.
 

WoundedThorns

New Member
from the reviews i've read, stephen king kind of varies among his books. so far i've only read Carrie - nothing really freaked me out that badly in it. i loved that book, i'd recommend it to anyone. i also want to start the Dark Tower series and read The Green Mile... recently i've bought one of his novellas, Different Seasons
 

ions

New Member
I was at someone elses place giving some computer use lessons. My pupil had to go do something else for a short time so I decided to browse over here while they were away. Since I was on someone elses PC I did not have the defence of my ignore list and ended up seeing jay's comments regarding Stevie. I had him on my ignore list because even though he came across very bright he wrapped his message in condescending abusive language that detracted far more than his intelligence contributed. Regardless, my ignore list is not important. It was rather fortunate that I came across what jay had to say in this thread because I have changed my perspective on King and I found the quote by Harold Bloom interesting.

October was to be my month of horror. IT was going to be one of the books read. I started it and just couldn't get past the first page. I wasn't enjoying it. I found the language clumsy and a little dated feeling. There was no timeless quality to it. That prompted me to post Spoiled by Literature. I read an Orwell, a Mowat and now a Dostoevsky instead of IT and I'm much more comfortable.

I enjoyed On Writing very much and sill go back and flip through it with pleasure occasionally. I was looking forward to a few of his books like IT and The Stand in particular but now I just can't seem to get excited by his fiction. It appears that good literary fiction has spoiled my appreciation of genre fiction and King may be a casualty of that. Where King and his contributions sit in the literary world I no longer have a definite opinion on. It's sad when you admired someone for something only to find out they're not really that good at it.
 

SevenWritez

New Member
I used to adore Stephen King, but after reading a great deal of beautifully written literay pieces, I can't stand his writing anymore.

Oh, and Duma Key sucked.
 

JeffD

New Member
There is one thing that Stephen King does better than most, maybe better than anyone. He makes you want to turn that page. He makes you want to know what is going to happen next, how is this going to come out. I have finished Stephen King books I didn't even like very much because I couldn't put them down. Good story or bad I needed to know how it ends. And I have taken a long time reading books I really loved, because I took so many breaks and didn't get back to them.

Of course there are many authors better than Stephen King, more important authors, more worthwhile authors, whatever, but he is the master at moving you through the story yearning for the next page. He gives you oreos on the first page, but you have to turn the page to get the milk.

Many authors of a more serious nature should take a lesson or two from King.
 
If you are a reader and haven't tried a few of Stephen Kings books I think you are doing yourself a serious disservice.

You can't go wrong with Carrie, Salem's Lot, the Dark Tower series, the Shaw Shank Redemption, etc etc.
 

amanda_ecj

Member
If you are a reader and haven't tried a few of Stephen Kings books I think you are doing yourself a serious disservice.

You can't go wrong with Carrie, Salem's Lot, the Dark Tower series, the Shaw Shank Redemption, etc etc.

The Dark Tower series is phenomenal. I definitely agree that every reader nerds to give his stuff a try :) I think it's sad that there is such a stereotype believed about his writitng!
 
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