What I believe to be interesting articles on authors and books, but then I would think that, wouldn’t I?

Sticking up for Stephen King

Almost certainly the reason why I am scared of cats...

Some things in life simply defy all known explanation. One would be how chickens make eggs — a feat which would require the combined intelligence of all the scientists in the world, yet a single chicken manages it in just one day, and it can’t even walk in a straight line! Another would be why no company can make a pedal-bin which lasts forever. A third would be people who slate Stephen King…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a massive Stephen King fan. I haven’t read very many of his books, and I definitely haven’t seen all SK associated movies. But really, that’s besides the point. The simple fact of the matter is that Stephen King, whether you like the style of books he chooses to write or not, has written such a vast quantity of work that he has, in my opinion, proven that he is a writer to be taken seriously. You can argue with me all you want on that score; all I ask is that you read until the end of this article and then re-consider how you feel. Not because I want to intellectually beat you into liking SK so that by the time you reach the end you’ll have no choice but to agree with me, but because I genuinely believe that by that time, you’ll be in a better more informed frame of mind to consider the debate fully.

In case you were wondering just how many works SK has written over the many, many years he has been a writer, below is — from what I can ascertain — the complete unadulterated list (I could go into all the movies based on his books, and the comics which have sprung up as a direct influence, and the Richard Bachman books, but I don’t think I really need to). I’ve even left a slightly bigger space between each line in the hope that it might allow you to properly get your head around how unfeasibly large the list is. I know I needed it…

1960 – People, Places, And Things – Volume 1

1964 – The Star Invaders

1974 – Carrie

1975 – Salem’s Lot

1977 – The Shining

1978 – Night Shif

1978 – The Stand

1979 – The Dead Zone

1980 – Firestarter

1981 – Cujo

1981 – Danse Macabre (nonfiction about horror)

1981 – Roadwork

1982 – Creepshow (comic book, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson)

1982 – The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

1982 – Different Seasons (novellas)

1983 – Christine

1983 – Pet Sematary

1983 – Cycle of the Werewolf

1984 – The Talisman (written with Peter Straub)

1985 – Skeleton Crew (stories)

1985 – The Bachman Books (novel collection)

1986 – It

1987 – The Eyes of the Dragon

1987 – Misery

1987 – The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

1988 – The Tommyknockers

1988 – Nightmares in the Sky (Photo book with text by King)

1988 – Dark Visions

1989 – The Dark Half

1989 – Dolan’s Cadillac (limited edition)

1989 – My Pretty Pony (limited edition)

1990 – The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition

1990 – Four Past Midnight (stories)

1991 – Needful Things

1991 – The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands

1992 – Gerald’s Game

1993 – Dolores Claiborne

1993 – Nightmares & Dreamscapes (stories)

1994 – Insomnia

1995 – Rose Madder

1995 – Umney’s Last Case

1996 – The Green Mile

1996 – Desperation

1997 – Six Stories

1997 – The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass

1998 – Bag of Bones

1999 – Storm of the Century

1999 – The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

1999 – The New Lieutenant’s Rap (limited edition)

1999 – Hearts in Atlantis

1999 – Blood and Smoke (audio book)

2000 – Riding the Bullet (electronically published novella)

2000 – The Plant(electronically published)

2000 – Secret Windows

2000 – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (nonfiction autobiography)

2000 – Dreamcatcher

2001 – Black House (written with Peter Straub)

2002 – From a Buick 8

2002 – Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales

2003 – The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger (revised edition)

2003 – The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla

2004 – The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah

2004 – The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower

2004 – Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season

2005 – The Colorado Kid

2006 – The Secretary of Dreams

2006 – Cell

2006 – Lisey’s Story

2008 – Duma Key

2008 – Just After Sunset

2009 – Stephen King Goes to the Movies

2009 – The Little Sisters of Eluria (limited edition)

2009 – “Graduation Afternoon” (in PostScripts)

2009 – “Throttle” (in He is Legend)

2009 – UR (e-novella available only on Amazon.com’s Kindle)

2009 – Under the Dome

2009 – “A Good Marriage”

2009 – “Big Driver”

2009 – “1922”

2009 – “Fair Extension”

2010 – Blockade Billy

2010 – Full Dark, No Stars

Wow. As you can plainly see, if by some miniscule chance eternal life becomes a possibility in Stephen’s life-time, it’s fair to say that he’ll be able to live on his royalties quite literally forever (although if you think about it, it’d be pretty irritating if eternal life became possible after you’d written this many books. In a way, I’m sure death would seem like a nice relief from having to write more…)

Now, it probably didn’t cross your mind precisely how many books Stephen King had written — up until recently, this is — so now I am going to tell you:

82.

Eighty-two.

E-I-G-H-T-Y-T-W-O.

Let’s put that into some kind of perspective, as I suspect that that number is so large that  it’s a bit like when someone says “Facebook is worth £45 billion.”

Let’s say that all 82 of SK’s books are 300 pages long. That’s not true, of course. Although quite a few are fairly short, many more are exceedingly long and the kind of page length that if you dropped it from a second-story window — paper or hard-back — it’d easily kill someone.

That would mean, as a conservative estimate, King had written in the region of around 24,600 pages…

And now we have the big-number problem again. So let’s compare that figure with what I have achieved so far (and by achieved I mean books I have written, not books I have published. Even if I was comparing myself to King when he was 30 as I am, I would also lose that competition hands down).

8 books.

Eight.

E-I-G-H-T.

As you can see, the only thing me and Stephen have in common is a) we’re both male and b) there’s an eight in there somewhere with the figures.

So that would mean that seeing as most of my novels have been around 300 pages, I have written the following number of total pages:

2,400. That’s 22,200 less than Stephen King. My mum always said it wasn’t about quantity it’s about quality. Frankly, if I ever manage to write 3 quality books as good as Stephen King’s best, I will be happy.

That’s it, lecture over. Now feel free to ponder how much of a real writer or a hack Stephen King is. But let me leave you with one question: aside from your opinion on SK’s writing style and what you think of horror, could you be a hack and write that many pages?

5 comments on “What I believe to be interesting articles on authors and books, but then I would think that, wouldn’t I?

  1. Chris says:

    Agreed. King, like every writer, has some good works and some bad works. But almost everything I have read by him has been quite entertaining. It’s fast-paced thriller/horror writing, which takes a different sort of finesse than literary fiction. And his quota of at least 2000 words per day (even on holidays) is downright impressive.

    Like

    • chrispink says:

      Agreed in return. Much as I hate to admit it myself, there’s always variety in quality — unavoidable. That’s a good point: King is consistently entertaining, and that definitely has appeal to those who get bored easily by literary fiction.
      Word counts per day are a good idea! Only way to go when writing a novel in my opinion.
      All the best, thanks for the comment,
      Chris

      Like

  2. Yasmin Selena Butt says:

    I absolutely loved Stephen King’s earlier work especially in my teens. I wrote my GCSE open study on ‘Carrie’ and another essay on ‘Salem’s Lot which I still think is one of the best contemporary vampire tales ever. And oddly we were talking about him the other day and how obsessed I was by him and earlier this week I posted on the FTRC site that I was still waiting for someone to do a huge, epic version of ‘Salem’s Lot and how even the TV movie rocks in a small scale way and scared the crap out of me as a kid. The books is beautifully descriptive. n So the timing of your post and the author you chose made me : )

    My friend Steve reckons some of his later books were ghost written due to the rate they came out or the writing style. I don’t know. So that’s interesting because your blog is about pages and prolificness. I lost my love for him in the early 90s and I think if memory serves me well the last book I read cover to cover was The Green Mile when I was sat in a salon for something crazy like 4hours getting highlights done ( I have a LOT of hair). The rest I’ve never managed to be entranced by so far.

    Despite his sojourn into fantasy which made me : ( as it’s not my thing, I respect his right to go there and I will *always* love the guy for turning me onto reading. I think his 70s/80s output is pretty untouchable and I’ll fight his corner for that!

    I am also impressed, Chris, you unearthed a decent photo of the man, it’s the first I’ve ever seen!! He was funny in Creepshow. Spookily his wife, Tabitha, looks just like him but as a lady.. x

    Like

    • chrispink says:

      I’m glad this post received positive feedback…so far at least! I thought I’d get a right old bashing for this, but I just wanted to make people aware of just how much work this man has put out.

      No time to respond anymore than that, but will get back to you later on about the weekend chat. Don’t panic if it gets late and you haven’t heard — I will drop you a line for sure.

      Thanks for the comment as ever Yasmin, and if you go to the gig tonight have fun x

      Like

  3. Yasmin Selena Butt says:

    Yes! Am Low bound this eve : ) By the way that cat on the cover of the book, I’m sure it’s just sorely misunderstood ; ) It’s probably just yawning…x

    Like

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