I started reading The Shining by Stephen King last week. I’ve read it before, it’s easily one of my favorite books and possibly my favorite by Mr. King. I like to read for several reasons, aside from the obvious entertainment reason. I read as a writer, I like to dissect the way someone writes, the techniques they use and the ways they deal with conflict and character development. Being that Stephen King is one of my favorite writers I enjoy reading his work in order to dissect it, the problem is once I start reading I can’t seem to retain that part of my brain that wants to critique the writing. I get so sucked into the story, by the time I remember I’m supposed to be reading this as a writer I’m already halfway through the damn book.
So I’ve made a conscious effort to read slower and to bookmark places I want to look over again, which is so much harder than it sounds. The first time I read The Shining I devoured it, I loved it but I completely missed some of the intricate ways he uses writing to make the story that much more complex and interesting. This time, since I’ve forced myself to slow down and look at the writing I’m learning a lot more, not just about the way it was written but also about the story itself.
This book is so much more than a horror/ghost story and for people who just watched the Kubrick movie that other element is completely lost. All I can say is Stephen King is a master of figuring out human nature. He packs so much information into his characters but it never feels bulky or long winded, it’s like getting to know a real person. His characters are never flat, his stories are never flat. They all come to life, which is the main reason I’ve been trying so hard to focus on his writing.
The reason The Shining is my favorite King novel is because of how well he weaves the details of the character’s back stories into the main meat of the novel. It is what makes the story so intense and so strong. I strongly encourage people to read the book, not just watch the movie.