Constant Readers all have favorite Stephen King novels. usually The Stand and IT rank pretty high, along with The Shining and most recently Under The Dome. The Dark Tower series is a "beast" of its own -- some people don't even touch it!
Beyond the favorite novels is another issue worth consideration -- strength of writing. Some sotries we love because of the story itself, irregardless of the writing style. Put me down for the Tommyknockers on that one. I think it was a great, great story! But, the prose were long and confusing. Sentenses that ran on and on and became painful. I've said before I wish King would rewrite that thing. But not at the expense of time devoted to the next D.T. novel and Dr. Sleep..
What makes King such a popular writer is at least two fold: Stories and writing. The strange truth is, sometimes the writing is stronger than the story, and stometimes the story is stronger than the writing. A really powerful connection happens when the writing and story come together. I would argue that often King's novella's are driven as much by his writing as it is the story. Thus the strength of The Body. Did anyone really read it to see a body? No! The power of that story is King's writing and his ability to draw us into a world of young teen boys..
So what novels are well written? Which ones "pop"? Please share your thoughts. Here are some of my own notes:.
Classic King was etremely strong. Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Stand, The Dead Zone, Fire Starter and Cujo are all written with a similar energy. Then, with Christine, something starts to drift. You can see that same type of drifting magnified in Insominia, and at times with IT..
King is aware of his sometimes uneven writing, thus the existance of a reworked Gunslinger..
So here's my quick list of novels I thought were etremely strong writing:.
1. Under The Dome. I have noticed more than once how short his sentences are in this. It keeps the story flowing..
2. Dolores Claiborne. I really liked the narration here. The writing was, in my opinion, King at his very best. I feel like I've been inside that old ladies head!.
3. The Green Mile. I think the segmented style forced a level of self-editing that was good, without hacking up the novel. I read someone, now forgotten, who suggested that the Sun Dog was overly edited. I think that might be true. The Green Mile hits the right balance..
4. Firestarter is actually a very tight book, written almost like an action thriller. Notice all the "ly's" king puts at the end of the dialogue? In On Writing he said not to do that -- but I like it..
5. The Shining accomplishes what ing wanted to do in Geralds Game -- lock down a situation. One woman in a room got a little dry, but a family locked in together in a haunted hotel was delightful..
6. UNEVENNESS: Now, about The Stand -- is this really King's writing at his best, or is it driven by story? Come on, it's the all time favorite among King Fans! Obviously the writing is great -- in the revised version. But take a look at the original and notice how dry it feels. It has a hollow feel, almost appropriate for the 1970's! But then notice the writing in the revised version. King didn't just add scenes, he reworked the novel itself. It made a good novel a truly great novel (By the way, Cell gives me that same hollow feeling. I don't know why. I really want to like it!)
By the way. . . based on the picture above, I think I know where Beaver from Dreamcatcher caught his toothpick habit.