Stephen King an American author has truly made a significant impact on today’s readers. King can turn marital stress, peer pressure, or adultery into a terrifying epic that would make your skin crawl.
Stephen Edwin King was born September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. Stephen’s birth was a tremendous surprise to his parents as they had been told they could not have children. When Stephen was 2 years old his parents began experiencing problems in their marriage.
One-day Stephen’s father went out to buy a pack of cigarettes and never returned. Stephen hasn’t seen his father since. After Stephen’s father left the rest of the family relocated to Massachusetts. After living in Massachusetts for several years he returned to Maine and began his schooling.
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Stephen King’s passion for writing quickly began in 1959 when he wrote articles for his brother’s local newspaper entitled “Dave’s Rag. At the age of 13 Stephen began writing articles and even his opinions on upcoming television shows. Stephen copied some of his short stories and sold them to the town’s local people for 30 cents. King tried selling his stories at school but his teachers stopped him. During these years King published many short stories. These early stories had science fiction themes however due to his lack of scientific knowledge they were said to be “a bit thin on detail”.
Stephen’s interest in writing fiction began in 1959 when he was at his Aunt’s home and found a box of horror comics. The authors of these comics, Howard Phillips, Lovecraft, and Jack Finney inspired King. Shortly after this encounter, he began to think about writing fiction stories. His first published comic was titled “I Was a Teenage Grave Robber”. Despite this first publication Kings, first professional sale occurred in 1967 when Startling Mystery Stories accepted his story “The Glass Floor”.
After King graduated high school he attended the University of Maine. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English. While a student at the university Stephen met Tabitha Spruce. After a short courtship, they married. The Kings currently have 3 children Naomi Rachel, Joe Hill, and Owen Philips.
This research paper focuses on the life of Stephen Edwin King. Through this paper, I would like to learn how he became the man he is today. I would also like to find out if he is “The Master of Horror”. In this paper, I will examine how he plans his novels and how he developed his ideas for them. I chose to write this paper on Stephen King because he is a favourite author of mine.
After college, he knew he had to get a job, to support his wife and his children. King had many jobs before he became a successful writer. His first job was working at an industrial laundromat. King didn’t enjoy working at the laundromat. King’s second job was that of a janitor working at a school. The pay was poor and he quickly ended that job. Finally, King landed a job as an English teacher. While working as an English teacher he would use his free time to write. In fact, he finished his first novel entitled “Carrie” while teaching English at a public school in Maine.
The book “Carrie” published by a small company called Doubleday was an instant success. Sales of “Carrie” helped the Kings tremendously. However, their lives would soon be changed on that faithful day of May 12, 1973. On May 12, 1973, Doubleday sold the rights to reprint the book to New American Library for 400,000 dollars. King was to receive half of the money. With money troubles behind him, he could now concentrate on writing full time.
King’s newfound success was tarnished by the news that his mother had passed away. However not even this tragedy could derail this success. That same year King finished his second book entitled “The Second Coming”. Critics now labelled King as the premier author of horror novels.
King’s third novel was titled “The Shining” and is based on a vacation Stephen and his wife took to Esta’s park hotel. While at the hotel King was filled with constant dread. As a result of his experience, he was able to develop his plot. King incorporated characters he met at the hotel in his storyline. Those characters included a mad bartender and clairvoyant cook. The book was a huge success. In fact, it was such a success a movie was made starring Jack Nicholson. The Shining made King’s name known across the nation. He now became known as the author of spine chilling tales.
After the release of “The Shining” King changed publishers for several reasons. His new publisher, NAL, owner of Viking publishing, was offered King more money, did not impose time limits for manuscript completion and retained a public relations firm to create vibrant book covers and marketing strategies.. Since joining his new publisher he has managed to write over 30 novels including Misery, Cujo, and It with many becoming motion pictures.
Through his publishing efforts and motion picture royalties, King has done so well that he made a list of the top paid people in America in 1998 when he earned 40 million dollars.
Unfortunately, King almost lost all of this on that fateful day of June 20th, 1999. King was tragically hit by a car while taking a stroll in his residential neighbourhood. He sustained multiple injuries including a collapsed lung and multiple fractures of his right leg and hip. Fortunately, after several surgeries, he recovered.
After this near death experience for King, he has written a book entitled “ The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon”. This story was based on the accident he had.
After reading Stephen King’s novels one might be left with the impression that his world is bizarre. However, King is routine. He wears Levis, small glasses, carries a ball-point pen in his breast pocket, watches baseball and drinks Pepsi. King lives quietly in Bangor, Maine with his wife and children. “My wife, my kids- they see me one way” King has said. ”But something happens when you write- something that’s not a normal thing, whoever I am when I’m walking around that’s one person, but somebody else writes the books”.
Stephen King has led an inspiring life with the many books he has written. This is why it is without any surprise that he has won countless awards for his novels. When asked, King in an online interview why he writes such terrifying stories he responded by saying “ people want to know why I do this why I write such gross stuff. “I like to tell them I truly have the heart of a small boy… and I keep it on a jar on my desk”. This shows King’s witty attitude as well as his sense of humor.
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