Writing

Stephen King and Humor

In case you didn’t know, I’m a big fan of Stephen King. I don’t necessarily like every book I’ve ever read by him, nor have I read a good number of his books (there are a lot of them). But what I admire about him is his writing ability and dry sense of humor. Even in the darkest, most horrific stories, an author can write a scene or two that lightens the mood and makes you smile. For example, in The Shining, the main character is sitting in front of the man who owns the Overlook Hotel and thinks “Officious little prick.” I don’t remember too many details from the book as I wasn’t a fan of the novel (just the main points of the story, to be quite honest) but I do remember his smart ass response. I think with Stephen King, having a dry sense of humor is a necessary element to his books. If you don’t have the occasional wisecrack, you just keep getting blacker and blacker until you find yourself in the black hole with nowhere out. Not to mention that it makes you connect with the characters that the author wants you to connect with. Even if you totally hate the characters being presented, at least you have that minimum expectation of why you dislike him.

The reason I mention Stephen King is because I watched part of the movie Rose Red, a movie to which Stephen King wrote the screen play for the directors. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a traditional scary story with a haunted house and a group of people who (unwittingly) go into the house to seek answers about why the house is haunted. Of course, there are ulterior motives from the professor and a common thing amongst the group: They all can sense the dead in one way or another. At one point in the movie, the doorbell of the house rings and when the professor opens the door, Stephen King is there holding some drinks that she has ordered. He cheekily says “Oh, is this house haunted?” before the professor rolls her eyes and closes the door.

I’ve no doubt in my mind that he purposely did that to be cheeky and to lighten the mood before the darkness truly descended. It foreshadows what will happen, but in a lighter way as if giving you the sense to not take anything seriously just yet.

It just goes to show how in control Stephen King is of his writing, even if it’s a screenplay. He utilizes all kinds of writing styles to move the story along and develop characters. Yes, his stories are long and drawn out at places, but if you’re a writer, his books should be at the top of the list to study how he creates his scenes and stories.

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