K is for King

I was spoilt for choice when I was looking for an author for K, but, in the end, there was no contest, as my aim with the challenge was to highlight authors, I, as an aspiring author myself, could learn from. So please raise your glass, or coffee cup to….

Stephen Edwin King was born in 1947 in Maine and has published over 50 novels, 5 non fiction books and over 200 short stories…so far πŸ˜‰ His books have sold more than 350 million copies.

He says that his inspiration for writing horror came from his uncle and finding a copy of The Lurker In The Shadows in his attic, but people have also speculated that the experience of whitnessing his friend killed by a train is what influenced the darkness in his work.

He spent his teens reading horror comics and his first story (serialized over 3 editions) was published in 1965 in a fanzine but it wasn’t until he was at University that he started writing short stories with the intent to sell them.

King published his first novel, Carrie, at the age of 26, but had initially thrown the first draft in the bin. Luckily, his wife retrieved it and encouraged him to finish it. And just like Dickens, 100 years earlier, it was to set him on a path of world wide success.

King has written extensively on β€œwriting” and is eager to encourage aspiring authors. He sets himself a goal of writing 2000 words a day and doesn’t stop until he achieves that and considers β€œthe finest word processor” to be a fountain pen and a notebook.

He often uses authors as characters, or mentions works of fiction in his stories, and sites his biggest influence as the author Richard Matheson. Love him or hate him, Stephen King is an icon amongst authors.

Again, I was spoilt for choice on Stephen King quotes, (thanks to his book On Writing) so heres a small selection I like:

“Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.”

β€œThe scariest moment is always just before you start.”

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

“So okay – there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want.”

β€œReading in bed can be heaven, assuming you can get just the right amount of light on the page and aren’t prone to spilling your coffee or cognac on the sheets.”

“I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read.”

“If you’re not reading, then you’re not going to be a writer. Read things you don’t normally read. Read things you don’t want to read. Be open minded enough to look at work others don’t respect. Have you ever read a romance novel? Read one. Never read a horror story? Pick one up and read it. A western? Give it a shot.”

I was also spoilt for choice on YouTube for interviews and talks by King, but I chose this one, where he goes into a school and talks to kids about writing πŸ™‚ Boy, what I’d give to do a class with him!!!!!

It did make me laugh to hear that he is a slow reader, but still manages to read 70-80 books a year! OMG, is that really a slow reader? I used to read a book a week, now, im lucky if I can finish one every 3 weeks to a month 😦

Going by Kings scale…..are you a slow or quick reader? How many books do you read a year?

65 thoughts on “K is for King

  1. I’m not a horror fan since scary things make it hard for me to sleep at night. Sad to say, I’m an adult with a little kids’ fear of the dark at times. However, I’ve read so many inspiring things about Stephen King, he seems like a wonderful role model for aspiring authors. As for slow or fast reader… I think I’m a bit of a lazy reader. I try to fit in as many books as possible but with writing and parenting and living, and, and, and, it proves a difficult task at times. I do agree though that it’s good to read in all genres, you never know what you might like.

    Have fun with a-z.


    • Thanks Jessica πŸ™‚

      Oh, I’m with you there honey! I can’t read horror either lol. Oh totally! Regardless of his genre, as a writer, he is truly inspiring πŸ™‚

      I’m exactly the same! Reading is at the bottom of my list, but I guess, if I seriously want to write, it shouldn’t be *sighs*

      You too honey!



  2. I’m definitely a quick reader. To compensate, I read several books at once. This helps me slow down and take a book in sections, rather than racing through it all at once.

    I’m so-so on some of Stephen King’s books, but his writing advice is fantastic. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    (www.theprosers.blogspot.com – thanks for the visit; returning the favor!)


  3. I LOVE King’s On Writing. I think I’ve read it three times now and it’s the only book I’ve read more than twice. I even plan on reading it again. Strangely I haven’t read his other work because I don’t like horror. It scares me. That’s what it’s supposed to do, but I read a lot before I go to sleep and that’s not a good combination. I really enjoyed his writing style though, so I do want to pick up the book he recently write about time travelling and assassination. I clicked the video and saw it was 30 minutes long. I’m just reading a few blogs before work and don’t have time to watch it, but I’m definitely coming back to see what he has to say!


    • I’ve heard so many people say it’s excellent Rebecca….I have the paperback AND the audio book, but STILL haven’t been near it yet 😦

      No, I don’t like horror….Pet Semetary scared the living day lights out of me, but Rose Madder wasn’t really horror, so I can recommend that one….saying that Misery isn’t really horror either….that’s what I like about SK, he bends the genre rule πŸ˜‰

      The video is good, if you get time to watch it πŸ™‚



  4. I’m gonna try and watch the video over the weekend, but I’ve only read The Gunslinger so far but I downloaded the audiobook of On Writing last night and I’m really looking forward to listening to it.
    And I can barely read 20 books a year! I’m a slow reader lol


  5. I was hoping you’d go with Stephen King for your K post! πŸ™‚ I read him a lot as an early reader – from the age of about 10 to 16. There was no YA back then, and this was a great introduction to what fiction can do. King is a genius in my opinion, even though I can’t read horror now. What amazes me is how my capacity for scaring myself has changed as I’ve got older! Anyway, as far as number of books read goes, I don’t keep count but I imagine I get through 50 or so as I generally read a book a week. And probably another 50 I start and don’t get past the first few chapters – time is short! πŸ˜‰


    • No stuff from SK appearing on your course then Jo? πŸ˜‰

      He he he, me too! I read that kind of stuff in my teens (James Herbert?) but can’t now…isn’t that funny!

      Oh, if only I could read 50 a year….I’d be MORE than happy with 1 a week *deep sigh* πŸ˜‰

      Thanks honey xx


  6. Oh the luxury of having 4 to 6 hours a day to read and write! That would truly be bliss! I guess I’ll just never be a good writer then… 😦 I loved his book ‘On Writing’ – one of the best things I’ve read, although I don’t think I’ve read a single one of his books!


    • Ha ha ha, that’s funny isn’t it Bel, yeah, IF ONLY! πŸ˜‰

      I’m definitely going to add at least another to my wish list, as I’ve only read 3….the question is, which one, there are so bloody many! Lol



  7. I don’t like horror, but I do enjoy Stephen King’s books. But for me, On Writing was just depressing. If I’d read it before I started writing, I never would’ve attempted it. Who has 4-6 hours to devote to the practice? I’ve already given up good sleep, friends, laundry and cleaning, but there’s no quitting the kids or the job.


    • Thanks Karen πŸ™‚

      Yeah, some of his books aren’t really horror are they.

      Really? Wow! You’re the first person who I’ve heard say that about On Writing. Does he basically say stuff about it being a nightmare career choice?

      Ha ha ha, yeah, I’ve given up sleep, laundry and cleaning (didn’t have the friends to give up so ok there lol) but I know what you mean….that’s a bit unrealistic lol



      • I think my complaint with On Writing is that SK gave writing all the appeal of a endoscopy prep. Like if you aren’t willing to read X hours and write X hours then you don’t really want it, do you?? And then, I can’t remember his exact quote but it was something to the effect that if one isn’t graced with natural talent then the best one can hope for is some pale shade of mediocrity. I think writing can be brilliant, cathartic and intoxicating and I was disappointed to find his book stuffed with musts and must-nots and none of the magic. Too prescriptive on what I think is a limitless art.

        And what do you mean no friends, we all adore you Vikki!


  8. Was a time I would read a book a day – more than one a day on holidays – and I still do read a couple of books a week. My first reaction to writing 4-6 hours a day was whaaaaat! but although I don’t do quite that, I do clock up at least 3 hours a day, one way and another. It just isn’t disciplined, because there’s stopping to eat, do the work that pays the bills, walk the dog, shop for groceries, socialize, housework, gardening – and that’s living alone, when I can work until 2 in the morning if I want. I wonder if he truly realizes how much his wife must shield him from! I can’t imagine how people with families cope it must be just one interruption after another.


    • Wow, go you honey, those are impressive stats! πŸ™‚

      I know lol….one of my male writing tutors asked the class if we’d written that week. One woman laughed and said, no, how could I? It was school holidays! My tutor said….AND? She asked how many trips to the park he’d done that week. His reply….oh, my wife does that!

      Yes, when I’ve got as much money as SK I think I’ll get me a wife lol πŸ˜‰

      Thanks honey xx


  9. Great pick Vikki. I can unequivocally say that Stephen King is my favorite writer. It is the only medium of expression I can say that about. I have ten favorite movies. This is the first year in my life I have tried to count how many books I can read and movies I can see in one year. So, far, 13 books and 18 movies. It’s almost May, I need to step it up.


    • Thanks Sydney πŸ™‚

      Ahhhhh, now that’s where I think I’ve got the balance wrong. Last year I watched, I think, over 450 movies. Yeah, not something I REALLY should brag about. And I ask myself why I don’t read many books lol πŸ˜‰

      Thanks honey xx


  10. Hello from the Blogging from A to Z challenge…I see from your bars that you did NaNoWriMo too in November. I also participated, and am curious to know how others’ NaNo novels are coming along.

    I love Stephen King. One of my favorite quotes from him is “Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”


    • Hi Cynthia πŸ™‚

      Oh don’t talk to me about my Nano novels lol…I’m currently rewriting (version 4) my first one that I wrote in 2010! Lol….haven’t touched the last 2! You?

      Now THAT is also a great quote, but, there are hundreds!

      Thanks for sharing that one honey xx


  11. Wow. I knew he had written a lot, but I didn’t know it was that much. That’s truly an amazing accomplishment.

    I’m usually a really quick read. I used to read about 4-5 books a week. I miss those days. Lately it’s about a book a week. And I’m very grateful for speed reading skills that allow me to read so much.


  12. Shoul;d have known it wouldl be King! Great post Vikki!

    -β€œRead and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.”
    Well then, I’m totally screwed according to King…


  13. I have had a copy of “On Writing” on my coffee table for a couple of weeks. You’ve inspired me to make a start on it!


  14. Love King!! I am actually not much of a horror fan but have read almost all of his work. Faves for anyone wanting to check him out for the first time —
    It – my absolute favorite. Have hated clowns ever since!!
    The Stand – tied for 1st. Don’t base your opinion on the TV miniseries. This book is awesome!
    Liz Claibourne- excellent!! And not your typical horror.
    Carrie- classic


  15. I actually read On Writing three or four times before I ever picked up one of King’s novels. (Still one of the most inspirational writing books I own.) Since then, I’ve read the Dark Tower series and Firestarter. I think the first 3-4 books of the Dark Tower series are absolutely fantastic, and since the series bends more toward fantasy than horror, it’s a great place to start for people who may not like his scarier stuff.


    • Thanks honey πŸ™‚

      I hear so many good things about Kings On Writing, it seems to be a favourite with writers definitely.

      That’s what I like about King….most people assume he writes horror, but his work isn’t ALL horror is it.

      Thanks honey xc


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