A Literary Analysis of Stephen King’s Writing: Part 1
by Adam Huddleston
“What? Seriously? We get it Adam, you’re a fan of Stephen King. But he’s a hack! His work isn’t deep or meaningful! He’s a cynical writer with very little to contribute to the overall tome of literature!”
And he’s one of the best-selling authors of all time. So, say what you will, he must be doing something right.
Over the next few weeks/months, I plan on doing a general overview of what I believe makes Mr. King a successful writer. Notice I didn’t say a superior writer, just a very popular one. These blogs will be swimming with my personal views and opinions. Although I am by no means a professional critic, I feel that I’ve spent enough time in Mr. King’s writing to back up my thoughts with legitimate reasoning. So, let begin.
What does Stephen King do well? What are his writing strengths and (without completely imitating them) what can we draw from his work to improve our craft?
I believe his genius comes out in his character creation. He has the ability to create memorable heroes and villains with just enough backstory to make you care about their struggles without slowing the pace too much. Characters like Pennywise the Clown, Cujo, and Christine are as well known in American culture as Wyatt Earp and George Washington!
Mr. King is also able to throw those full characters into the most imaginative situations. His work, while generally classified as horror, steals a bit from the fantasy, science-fiction, and western genres as well. As you can imagine, when you mix these fields together, a mother-load of strange circumstances can occur. It is these odd occurrences which he throws his protagonists into that keep his “Constant Readers” turning the page.
His plotting style and proliferation.