Opinion | Stephen King is a ‘scary-good’ wordsmith


Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Lawton / Wikipedia

Author Stephen King is pictued speaking above. Columnist Noah maintains King impresses with writing in diverse styles.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

What are you afraid of? The dark? Heights? Clowns? If you were to ask any voracious reader, they might tell you a Stephen King book will do the trick. Heck, they might even tell you the author himself is scary.

As it’s currently Halloween season, it’s an appropriate time to talk about the name of the best-selling author which speaks for itself. For over 50 years now, King has kept readers up at night due to his countless pieces of literature filled with horror, suspense and a whole lot of good stories. The man is a literary legend, and he has the career to prove it.

Known for horror classics like “Carrie,” “Salem’s Lot” and “It,” which have all been made into movies over the years, I agree that King just keeps churning books out like a machine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And his wheels keep on turning.

Having read a few of his novels in the past, King knows how to write a story. He takes an ordinary character or situation and puts his own twist on it, thus expanding them into a novel for several hundred pages. Though his narratives do run off on wild tangents sometimes, one has to keep reading until the end because then everything will all make sense.

One aspect of King’s career that deserves recognition is how prolific his work is. Yes, mostly everyone knows him for his horror novels. But over the last 40 years, he has written some great books in other genres.

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In the fantasy genre, he has penned many hits like the “The Dark Tower” series, “Insomnia” and “Rose Madder.” Diving into the science fiction world, works like “11/22/63,” “Under the Dome” and most recently, “The Institute” are unbelievably great. Outside of writing novels, King also has various short story collections to his name like “Different Seasons,” which contains famous works like “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” and “Apt Pupil,” and this year’s collection “If It Bleeds.”

One of the best books to King’s name doesn’t pertain to fiction. Rather, it’s his critically acclaimed work “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” which is part memoir and part how-to section on writing, recommended by critics and fellow scribes in any genre for anyone interested in improving their craft.

Most readers I know are pretty hesitant about reading one of King’s books. It’s understandable, given that I acted the same way several years ago. This October, there’s no better time than now to pick up a King book.

However, don’t choose one of his long works that stretch several hundred pages. Instead, start with one of his short stories or a small book like “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon,” “Elevation” or “Joyland.” Try to sample King before you dive into his longer and more popular books.

Above all, King’s name fits him well. If there ever was a crown for someone who has won at writing, King should no doubt earn it. He’s one of the best authors writing today, and the literary world couldn’t thank him enough for his contributions.

 Noah is a junior in the College of Media.

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