Where do we begin with this larger-than-life famous writer?
Stephen King is more than a famous author, he is an icon, a mastermind, and the ‘King of Horror’.
On the last count, Stephen King had more than 94 books in his portfolio, including a variety of nonfiction essays and 200 short stories. His content output is huge and it includes so much more than horror and mystery.
Stephen King’s Extraordinary Life and the Love of a Woman
Stephen King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine, United States. His father, Donald Edwin King was a merchant, and his mother’s name was Nellie Ruth. His parents moved to Maine after World War II, where Stephen was born.
The famous writer, and his older brother David, were raised by his mother. His father left the family when Stephen was only two years old. Stephen’s family experienced great financial turmoil and often did not have enough to make ends meet. His mother made the choice to move to various other locations where relatives could offer a helping hand.
When Stephen was 11 years old, the family returned to Maine. The famous writer attended the Durman Elementary and later graduated from Lisbon Falls High School. From a young age, Stephen was a big reader of horror comics.
He started writing while still in school, although at the time it was mostly for fun. He then started contributing to articles that were later published, and he even sold short stories to his friends. Once the teachers caught on to what he was doing, Stephen was forced to return any profits made. It is safe to assume that by that point, the soon-to-be-famous writer had discovered that he can make a living by writing.
Stephen studied at the University of Maine, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1970. The same year, the famous writer became a father.
He started working a variety of jobs to pay for school, which included pumping gas, cleaning and even worked at an industrial laundry.
He married his wife, Tabitha Spruce in 1971. The two met during his college years.
Tabitha was likely the first person to read Stephen’s stories. She loaned Stephen her own typewriter and insisted that he should focus on his writing. She went as far as refusing to allow him to take higher-paying jobs, worrying that a traditional serious job would get him too comfortable and busy to continue writing.
She is also the one who discovered the first “Carrie” draft in the trash! She picked the draft out of the trash and pushed Stephen to continue to work on the story.
Tabitha went on to become a respected writer on her own as well, and both their sons, Joe Hill and Owen King, followed in their parent’s footsteps.
Some of Stephen King’s Most Popular Works
It is likely an impossible task to try and measure how influential the famous author is. In the last 40 years, no other writer has managed to take over a particular genre of writing the same way Stephen has.
Stephen King proudly holds the title of the only author to become No. 1 best-seller over 30 times. His books are cultural icons, and although he has published works in many genres, no one else has managed to dominate the horror arena the same way as Stephen.
We won’t be listing every single piece of work Stephen has ever produced, but here are the 11 must-read books for those who are getting started on Stephens works:
- The Shining
- The Dark Tower – 8 Book Series
- Pet Semetary
- The Stand
- The Mist
- Doctor Sleep
For a complete list of his works check out Stephen King’s Library.
Most of the famous author’s work has been adapted to film. For the complete list check out The List of Adaptations of work by Stephen King.
What Inspired Stephen King
Is this type of talent part of someone’s DNA?
Where does this massive writing inspiration come from?
Does one particular event spark enough inspiration to create a colossal writer like Stephen King?
Is there something more “sacred” and rare that pushed Stephen King to achieve so much?
There is enough information out there supporting that the famous author was fearful of many things in life.
As a child, Stephen was fearful of the dark, death, deformity, psychotherapy, bugs, snakes and rats. He was scared of choking, and small closed-in spaces. Stephen was also very scared of flying. The list doesn’t end here, but one can get the idea of the internal workings of Stephen’s mind.
As a child he was always absolutely sure that something or someone was inside his closet and needed the lights on at all times.
Although many children and adults are plugged by various phobias, in Stephen’s case it is speculated that the severity of his phobias originated from a traumatic event he experienced at a young age.
Stephen saw his best friend get run over by the train. Although he says he cannot recall this, such events can lurk in our subconscious and continue to create monsters.
It is, therefore, safe to deduct that Stephen King’s writing inspiration originates from fear.
The peculiar thing about Stephen is that although he had an assortment of phobias he sought fear. He liked being scared.
Stephen King’s Rules for Writing Stories
With over 350 million copies sold and a net worth of $400 million, we can assume his advice on writing stories holds a lot of value.
- When you are writing stories and you are putting together your first draft, write for yourself and not an audience.
- Avoid passive voice.
- Stop using excessive adverbs
- Avoid adverbs, especially after the phrase “she/he said”
- Stop worrying about being grammatically correct and focus on your story
- What will make you stand out is already in you. Learn how to be a confident writer.
- Read more than you think you need to read…and then read some more.
- Stop watching T.V
- If you need to sacrifice other activities to get more time for reading, do that.
- Stay physically healthy and keep people who push you to succeed around you at all times.
Stephen credits his physical health and his marriage for his incredible success.
- There is no great secret. Success in writing is simply achieved one word at a time.
- Eliminate distractions
- Find your voice and your style early on
- Leave out all the boring things to make room for the exciting page-turning material.
- Kill your darlings. This phrase simply means that sometimes you might have to destroy parts of the story that you love for the sake of the overall result.
- No research should over-shadow your story
- Write to make yourself happy and not to make money. The money will follow.
- Build characters. Most memorable stories are character-driven.
- Do not over-describe. Allow readers to use their imagination.
- Take risks.
“Try any goddamn thing you like, no matter how boringly normal or outrageous. If it works, fine. If it doesn’t, toss it.” – Stephen King
For more iconic writers and their tips on writing visit The Content Fair.
Are you a Stephen King fan?
Which one of his book (s) has been the most influential for your writing?
Do you have any advice you want to share with other writers?
Comment below and let us know!