The Hauntings of King

Thanks to more of my late night twitter search, I have found another interesting blog post for tonight. The title of the post is 7 Things I Learned Last Week from Stephen King. The post begins with the author’s love of ghost stories, which almost immediately goes hand in hand with the great master of horror.

While the author has a somewhat bland view of King’s non-fiction Danse Macabre, she like most readers of King understands the subtle influence he has in his writing. He manages with little effort to insight thought provoking ideas about horror that people infrequently invoke. After his general interpretation of one of the author’s favorite books, The Haunting of Hill House, he allows her to see what he is really getting at.  I will only discuss what most struck me, but there are indeed seven things she discussed.

“Fiction is seeking pressure points,” the author dutifully reiterates from her time with King.   She explains how King and many other writers like him use adrenaline and then the temporary relief from the scares they give.  King has an uncanny way of finding what we fear most, and showing us why we fear it.  Then, he relieves us from the fear of what could potentially happen by putting a supernatural spin on the story in addition to resolving the conflict we fear most.  The way King does this makes me and all of his constant readers come back for more because he knows how to get us to come back every time. The thrill of a good horror book can be the best entertainment when done by someone who knows what people are most afraid.

She then goes on to explain how the involvement of the reader relies on the story being believable. While King typically has some type of fantasy or science fiction element to his stories, these aspects don’t change the fact that he makes the story believable. He chooses things in life that could potentially happen regardless of the science fiction or fantasy. He allows things like time travel, telekinesis, and ghosts to be inserted into the normal terrifying parts of life as if they are supposed to be there. That’s what I love about King. He takes the most interesting qualities of fantasy and make them as real as the computer you’re reading this on.

Although the blog post went on to analyze more of King’s ability to understand fiction, I will let you read and decide for yourself whether King’s insights are useful or not. I adore King in every shape he takes writing in. He manages to make me afraid of going outside my house and yet comforted in knowing that things aren’t always as bad as they seem in a world where dragons and vampires don’t exist. Not that we know of anyway.

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