So Long as You Tell the Truth
Stephen King was once quoted as saying: “You can write anything you want so long as you tell the truth.”
All that frightening, terribly scary shit; the clown for God’s sake, a telekenetic high school girl wreaking havoc on an entire town, a pandemic virus known as “Captain Trips” almost destroying every human being on the planet, a hotel controlling a recovering alcoholic’s mind until it drives him insane?
If you take what Mr. King said at face value then that means…all those stories are true…right?
Okay, I know you’re telling me to get a grip on myself. You’re telling me the stories aren’t real. They’re all made up.
But you’re wrong. You’re so very, very wrong.
Every horror story Mr. King wrote — or will write — is real and here’s why.
When we read his work his mastery at storytelling consumes us; draws the reader into a horrifying situation more frightening than we can imagine, a horror only he can create. And we start to believe.
We believe because Stephen King’s writing is — and has been for years — at a level most of us writers only dream about. If I myself had half of his talent who knows where I’d be? NYT bestseller list? Probably not. I still need about half of the man’s imagination as well.
But enough about me and my less than stellar abilities.
When Mr. King paints a story he achieves instant buy in from the reader. The reader knows they’re being asked to accept the unacceptable, believe the unbelievable and we.just.don’t.care. His writing, his ability to tell a spellbinding story is so accomplished, so in-your-face, so catching-you-by-surprise, you’re almost afraid to turn the page, but you know you have to turn the damned page. You become completely immersed and everything happening is so real, so believable.
You begin to accept what’s playing out before your eyes as the truth, the truth so help him Stephen King.
I get it. Stephen and his blood curdling may not be your bag, but you need to read at least one of his stories to understand how great his writing really is. You need to read Stephen’s words of truth at least one time. You’ll see. You’ll start to believe.
As Stephen said, “You can write anything you want so long as you tell the truth.”
I now understand what the man meant when he said that.