Why Is Stephen King So Popular?

With the dawn of a new year, one of my goals was to read more books. It’s something I’ve always struggled with before I started taking antidepressants, but I found that as soon as I was medicated, I was able to concentrate better and retain more information. With this new development, I began devouring books the way I always wanted to. There was no racing mind to distract me from the story.

Last year I read 12 books, more than ever before. I know this number seems low, but for me, it was huge. This year, I challenged myself to read twice that amount, and so far I’m on track.

So far I’ve read six books and am working on my seventh; Cujo by Stephen King. I’d like to talk a little about this book before I finish reading it.

Stephen King is known as the master of horror. I wonder how much of that is simply his saturation of the genre, and his ability to speak to the masses in a way that other authors fail to do. The prevalent theme I see throughout his books is the “everyday life”, a horror that takes place in small American towns with normal, flawed, and deeply intricate characters that we all could know in real life.

I think it is this relatable nature to his books that make his writing so successful.

He also has a way of creating a novel out of one very specific and often horrific idea. If you are looking for examples of elevator pitches, look no further than Stephen King.

What’s Cujo about? A rabid dog that terrorizes a small town.
What’s Carrie about? A bullied teenager who ends up using her psychic powers to take revenge on her tormentors.
What’s It about? A shapeshifter that can take the shape of your worst fear, whose only desire is to feed.
What is Gerald’s Game about? An abusive lover ties his wife up and dies, leaving her to find a way out or die trying.

Literally all of his books can be broken down into one concise sentence. How many authors can say that? Especially horror authors? He takes one terrifying idea and explores it exhaustively, delving into the psyche of his characters.

What are your thoughts on Stephen King? Do you think his writing lives up to the hype? Are you a fan? A critic? Please share your thoughts! Let’s have a great discussion about The King.

Talk to you later,

8 thoughts on “Why Is Stephen King So Popular?

  1. At first I thought he was genius but I think its a combo of good writing, the era, and that he dominated and still dominates the horror genre perhaps. Though id argue there are tons of great horror writers.

    I do like me some Stephen King. I felt, as I was growing up, he could do what R.L. Stine could not get out of, that almost fantasy, childlike horror. King made it real, as you said which real world things we could relate to.

    Great post! Nice to discuss the writing world in terms of horror 🙂


    1. Yes, exactly! When King wrote most of those books, it was a different time. The internet largely wasn’t what it is today, and I think the internet now greatly shapes how we consume fiction. Isn’t it funny how modern literature lacks some of that realism that older authors had? In a world that mostly lives their lives online, I suppose the horror genre needs to grow with the times.

      He definitely owns the area of childhood horror. I know some of my favorite stories growing up were the horror stories, Tales To Tell In The Dark and all of those. And of course Goosebumps was my jam.

      May I ask who your favorite horror author is? Or favorite horror novel? I am always looking for recommendations!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you agreed. I feel like most get caught up in his fame and don’t really think about how different that time was, not discounting all the fantastic work he did, but we definitely consume literature a bit differently now. its transforming and I find myself having to keep up and adapt with it. Hence why I post shorter, more precious fiction rather than the long, psychological thrillers I love haha

        I did like R.L Stine as a kid, but the older I got, the more I needed something more…real? xD Haha I still like Goosebumps and its awesome he could bring horror down to a level kids could enjoy without driving themselves crazy with fear at night.

        Ohhh a good horror author is Brian Keene!!! Have you hear of him? Try reading “urban Gothic” or “Darkness at the Edge of Town.” freaking fantastic! That book will definitely leave you with a touch of cold and darkness…


      2. It really makes you think about all those REALLY old scary stories from the Victorian era or earlier where electricity wasn’t available and there were a lot more dark corners and strange noises and isolation. And that’s a whole other topic of discussion! The environment of horror stories and how they were shared at the time of their creation.

        I haven’t read any Brian Keene, but I will definitely add him to my TBR list! Thanks for the recommendation!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I can’t imagine how creepy it must have been living back then and having stories like that when you knew you’d have to walk around your big, old house with nothing but a damn candle >> Haha Actually kind of fun when I think about it. Maybe I should write a dated piece~

        You won’t be disappointed! When you do, tell me how you liked it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I will! And yes, isn’t it fun getting into a mindset like that? I think that’s the true beauty and talent of a writer–to be able to enter different mindsets and write about experiences they might not have had first hand.

        Thanks for reading!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read a lot of King in my teens and early 20s. These days I tend to listen to his interviews and lectures, although I did read ‘Elevation’ last year. It was ok, didn’t blow my socks off but it did make me think.
    You are right, King is simple, and simple things get under our skin more because just about everyone can relate to them.
    He’s also a pantser and is just as much along for the ride as a writer as the reader is. I think this is key. The unknown really is the unknown because he’s not plotted the hell out of it first. It also means his writing is character driven, once again making it more relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I absolutely agree with everything you said! I love listening to him talking about writing just as much as I enjoy reading his work. He’s just an average cool dude who has some opinions but mostly just writes what he sees and experiences, and that’s what makes him so relatable. It makes you wonder, if more people wrote in a simple way like him, would we have more relatable works? Instead of stories being written for shock value or complex plots?

      And the more I learn about him, the more I think “if he can do it, so can I.” Because he’s really just an example of persistence creating fame.

      Thanks for reading! ❤


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