It’s hard to imagine the horror genre without Stephen King. The acclaimed writer has published more than 60 novels and some 200 short stories, and his books have sold more than 350 million copies altogether. His first published novel, Carrie, set the ball rolling in 1974. Since then, his modern horror classics have included The Shining, The Stand, Cujo, Pet Sematary and It, as well as fantastical novels such as The Dark Tower series and The Green Mile. Many of King’s stories have been adapted into popular movies and TV series, only increasing his reputation as a master of the genre.
Off the page, King has never been shy about speaking his mind. When he’s not terrifying people with his evocative stories, he’s happy to weigh in on all manner of subjects: life and love, creativity and writing, politics, and monsters both real and imagined. His humor is often self-deprecating and he certainly hasn’t let fame go to his head. When speaking about his own success, for example, he referred to himself as “the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries.”
King has also spoken of his triskaidekaphobia: his fear of the number 13. So here are 13 quotes — it only seems fair, all things considered — from the king of horror.
The scares come and go, but everyone likes make-believe monsters to stand in for the real ones.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
Don’t let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets to this point on their own.
Love is a uniquely portable magic. I don’t think it’s in the stars, but I do believe that blood calls to blood and mind calls to mind and heart to heart.
When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is.
Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.
I recognize terror as the finest emotion… and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find I cannot terrify him/her, I will try to horrify; and if I find I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.
Once you get to a certain age… you’ve got to try to keep expanding your field. You’ve got to try new things and if you don’t, you tend to get conservative. I always say you dig yourself a rut and then you furnish it.
Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.
Love didn’t grow very well in a place where there was only fear, just as plants didn’t grow very well in a place where it was always dark.
Fiction is the truth inside the lie, and the truth of this fiction is simple enough: the magic exists.