Hi everybody, Stephen King here. I'm a novelist and I'm also an executive producer on the new series UNDER THE DOME. I'm looking forward to taking your questions for the next hour or so about my work. AMA!

proof Hey, everybody--I have to split. Thanks for all your questions. Hope you'll watch UNDER THE DOME, on CBS, starting on 6/24/13. Long days and pleasant nights.

Comments: 6238 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

CrimsonQuill1572611 karma


I don't have a question for you.

When I was fourteen, I picked up your novel, The Stand, and couldn't put it down until it was finished. Your novel sparked a love of reading in me that has not gone away since. I'd just like to thank you so much for that. Best wishes.

stephenkinghere2258 karma

Well, you're welcome!

TheDnBDawl2221 karma

Long days and pleasant nights Wordslinger!

Your lesser known novel Rose Madder gave me the courage to finally leave my husband. What research did you do to get into the frame of mind as your heroine, Rosie?

Also, my son wanted me to say hi from him =)

stephenkinghere2269 karma

Well, I did a lot of reading about women who were abused, and about husbands who won't let go, even with protection orders, and I went on from there. Congratulations on leaving someone who was abusive.

ahhhabee2142 karma

Mr. King, what would you say is your worst fear?

stephenkinghere3507 karma

Alzheimer's Disease.

Number1AbeLincolnFan1861 karma


stephenkinghere2036 karma

Because they're sick puppies!

Defs_Not_Pennywise931 karma

I dunno seems like a nice place to move to especially if you have children.

stephenkinghere2581 karma

If you want to get rid of your children, that is.

ColonelLugz1813 karma

The timing of this AMA... 4.15...4 + 15 = 19. Coincidence? I think not

stephenkinghere2632 karma

19 is never a coincidence.

ColonelLugz1476 karma

Mr King, Constant Reader here. Randall Flagg (and his many alter egos) has meddled in the affairs of many of your characters and their stories. Have you toyed with idea of doing an independent Flagg story chronicling his adventures, from his beginnings to his end(s), criss-crossing through existing novels but all from the point of view of that bastard?

stephenkinghere2258 karma

Giving Flagg his own story would make him too coherent, somehow. He's the guy behind the scenes, pulling all the strings.

katarokkar1237 karma

I live in Maine. Can you tell me the creepiest thing about the my state of residence?

stephenkinghere2199 karma

The creepiest thing about Maine is the endless woods. Especially if you're lost in them with no cell phone service. ARRGGHHH.

jethro-cull1218 karma

Mr King! This will probably be the only question I pose to a reddit AMA, ever, that I will pray for an answer to. As a kid from South Africa I'm not often awarded the chance to be in contact with my idols. I started reading your novels at quite a young age, they formed my transition from comics to the grown-up world of reading, my firsts, which made them the books I have judged all other books against and found wanting. I have read almost all your books and they inspred my love for reading. I can't thank you enough for the endless hours I had with your words in my company. Especially The Stand and The Dark Tower series, especially grateful for them.

Anyway, questions.

  • What's your opinion on Kubrick's The Shining and The Shawshank Redemption? Do you think they convey the stories you wrote well?

  • In light of above, which books of yours would you most like to be seen made into a film/series?

  • You quitting drugs and alcohol in the late 80's majorly influenced your writing (pre to post Needful Things), if we had to divide your bibliography into two era's, those which were written intoxicated and those that were not, which era's books do you like best and why?

  • Will we see Randall Flagg (or one of his many aliases) appear in any of your new works? He's a fantastic character.

I'm really looking forward to Doctor Sleep and the new Carrie film. Thanks again.

Your constant reader

stephenkinghere1787 karma

I loved SHAWSHANK. I wasn't crazy about the Kubrick version of THE SHINING. As far as dope and booze goes, I'd like to have some of those early books back. They're not bad, but could have been better. For the record, most of the work was done straight and sober.

chlerbie1124 karma

What actor or actress in one of your movie adaptations, do you feel most captured your own vision of the character?

stephenkinghere2288 karma

I'd say the four boys who played the kids in STAND BY ME. River Phoenix was a standout.

stephenkinghere1677 karma

Kathy Bates was a great Annie Wilkes.

WhiteVisitation954 karma

Hi Stephen, which of your novels would you say is your favorite?

stephenkinghere1751 karma


tcicc092882 karma

What keeps you up at night?

stephenkinghere2672 karma

not much, I usually send my fears on to my readers.

JW_BM853 karma

Welcome to Reddit, Mr. King.

Your fiction has done more for me than I can express. At 13 I was crippled by a neuromuscular syndrome, left bedridden and in constant pain that would last for the rest of my life. I often wanted to die up there in my bunk. Often the only company I had came from books or audiobooks, and yours, including Nightmares & Dreadmscapes, The Regulators, and Needful Things, made up many of my favorites. There were many nights when I couldn't fall asleep for the pain, and on hundreds of those nights I only found the will to live to dawn because I wanted to know what happened next to your characters. I'm 31 now and that's in part thanks to you. So thank you.

So, a question: what is the relationship between The Regulators and Desperation? Was it just throwing off the covers of Bachman by naming everyone the same? Or is there more thematic connective tissue?

stephenkinghere808 karma

Desperation and the Regulators was like a reparatory theater where the same actors played different parts. I thought I would try that once to see what it was like to tell the story two different ways with the same people. I'm glad that my books helped with the pain during that part of your life.

toboldlygo-749 karma

What do you do to help writer's block?

stephenkinghere1542 karma

The only thing you can do with writer's block is wait it out. Sometimes a few stories just die. There's no explaining it. It goes with the territory.

Literarywhore578 karma


stephenkinghere1280 karma

I don't have any plans to go back to Mid-World. Sometimes I just find myself there! :-)

champski562 karma

Hey Stephen, big fan from South Australia here. I read my first book of yours when I was 11 - IT. I'm 21 now and have almost worked my way through your catalogue, though IT remains pretty special to me. It was the first novel of that size that I had ever read. I remember searching for other books of yours in the computer system of the library at my primary school (imagine my disappointment when the query came back empty). IT opened my mind up to new ideas and made me want to read and write so much more than I ever had before. For that, I say thankya.

I recall you saying at some stage a while back that you would like to write sequels for all your novels at some stage. Is this still the case? I'm curious to know whether or not Pennywise, or at least the creature behind Pennywise, may come back as a primary antagonist in a future story.

Thanks again for everything!

stephenkinghere1270 karma

I don't think I could bear to deal with Pennywise again. Too scary, even for me.

turkturkelton524 karma

I just want to tell you that your stories are what encouraged me to read. As a teenager I started with your collections of short stories, then grew into longer novels. I love your work so much that I have the first line of The Gunslinger tattooed on my leg.

I have two questions. The first question has spoilers for the DT series.

1) What is the significance of the horn at the end of the DT series? Will this somehow lead Roland to break the cycle?

2) And my real question: Why always aliens or spiders?!

Edited in question: How did you chose 19? Does that number have a special meaning for you personally?

stephenkinghere742 karma

Well, not ALWAYS aliens or spiders, but think about it: are spiders the most alien creatures on earth, or what? I've just got a thing about them. I don't usually use snakes, because they don't creep me out.

stephenkinghere738 karma

The horn is from the Robert Browning poem. Besides, every hero should have a battle horn.

Mr_Poppers_Penis74 karma

You have pretty legs. I kill with my heart mother fucker!

turkturkelton40 karma

Lol, thanks. I just hope Mr. King sees the pic! It would mean a lot to me for him to know that there are fans out there dedicated enough to get a permanent mark of his work on their bodies.

Kaladin_Stormblessed103 karma

It would mean a lot to me for him to know that there are fans out there dedicated enough to get a permanent mark of his work on their bodies.

Perhaps not quite so permanent, but I named my dog after Oy. He lives up to his name, too... he kills all the spiders in my house!

stephenkinghere691 karma

I don't need marks on my body. You guys are engraved on my heart. :-)

EltonJuan506 karma

You’ve written a lot of novels that have been adapted to the screen. How often do you anticipate your work being adapted into a film? Are there any books you never want to see adapted?

stephenkinghere1076 karma

I never think about movie versions when I write, because that would put a border around my thinking. I just write the stories. If someone wants to make a movie, that's fine.

lostmatthew480 karma

Sai King, I am a huge fan. Keep up the great work. I would love to hear your thoughts on the progress being made toward bringing The Dark Tower to either movies or television. Which do you think could convey the story better? Are you a fan of Ron Howard's idea of splitting it between the two? Thankee sai!

stephenkinghere851 karma

I like the idea of doing the DT books as films, and the adventures of the younger Roland as TV. I like changing it up and trying new things.

jnyc91477 karma

Hi Stephen, it's great that you're doing one of these. I'm a huge fan of your work, especially The Stand! My question is as follows, if you were able to "unpublish" one of your books and make one change before releasing it again would you do it and if so why? Thanks.

stephenkinghere648 karma

If I were to "unpublish" a novel...hmmm. There are some I'd probably rewrite, but unpublished? Probably not even ROSE MADDER, which has always seemed less than successful to me.

Son_Of_Sothoth449 karma

Hi Mr. King. I am absolutely amazed that you are doing an AMA. I want you to know that you are the most influential man in my life after my father. You changed my life. When I was a kid, I wrote stupid, funny stories to amuse my friends. It wasn't until I was in 8th grade that I knew I wanted to be a writer. That was when I read The Green Mile. After I finished wiping the tears from my eyes, I thought to myself, "I want to make people feel the same way he made me feel. He made me believe these people, this world, all of it, is real." Thank you.

My question is about The Eyes of the Dragon. Will we ever find out what happened to Thomas and Dennis? The story says they find Flagg, and there is a very small mention of them in (I think) Wizard and Glass. Yet we never see the outcome of that encounter. Is there any chance they have twinners in The Stand or The Dark Tower? Do you have any plans to tell us? Thank you.

stephenkinghere629 karma

Yes, I might go back there. I wrote a sequel to THE SHINING, so anything is possible. As a general rule, I don't revisit. Too many new stories to tell.

nerdgirl7381 karma

Hi Mr. King, do you have any advice for an aspiring author on how to approach the publishing industry? How did you deal with rejection before you became a household name? Thanks!

stephenkinghere804 karma

I just went on to the next story - there's no way to deal with rejection other than to continue on, banging on the door.

Death_or_Exile344 karma

Hey, Mr. King. "Cell" ranks in my top five favorite novels from you. Last I heard, a film adaptation with Eli Roth directing was in the works. Are there still plans for bringing it to the big screen that you know of or perhaps a miniseries of some kind, such as on HBO?

Edit: I can't wait for "Under the Dome"!

stephenkinghere636 karma

I think John Cusack is going to make CELL.

Sasha1382325 karma

I started reading The Dark Tower when I was in rehab for the 2nd time. To this day I tell everyone that part of my success at staying sober was thanks to these stories. They took my mind so far away from the pain and struggle I was going through in real life, connected me with these characters I grew to love, and just entertained my struggling brain when it needed it the most. I thank you for this....and I could really never thank you enough.

My question is one that I'm sure everyone is wondering after The Wind Through The Keyhole. Will there ever be more Dark Tower books/stories? Do you ever feel you can ever really let this group go or will you always want to continue their journey?

Again thank you for being the most amazing story teller ever and for creating the most amazing characters and bonds of friendship I've ever come across!

stephenkinghere524 karma

I'll probably come back to them, sooner or later. I never seem to be able to leave the world of the Dark Tower. Congratulations on staying sober a day at a time, glad that my book inspired you.

Aloaf284 karma

I won't ask you where the ideas come from, don't worry. But, I was wondering, how do they formulate exactly? It is a scene, an image? A whole story? Also, do you think about the plot all day or do you really just unleash the beast once your fingers are on the keyboard?

stephenkinghere617 karma

Sometimes it starts with an image. With JOYLAND, I kept coming back to a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on the beach. Eventually I looked farther down the beach and saw an amusement park. That image became JOYLAND, which is out now.

14thCenturyHood236 karma

Hi there! Rural New Englander here. As a child, I lived for a long time in middle-of-hell-nowhere Ossipee, New Hampshire, so it always seems to hit home when I read your stories. Do you feel that sudden violence or terror in these quiet little places stands out as more horrific than if it happened in a city? What is it about these places that make them so hard to place and strange?

stephenkinghere485 karma

I know Ossipee well, drive through there once or twice a month. I write about country places and people because it's where I grew up. Also, the more out of touch a place is, the more likely that strange things might happen and go unobserved by the outside world.

fakename311233 karma

I think “Pet Sematary” is one of the best Ramones songs from the later era. Joey seems to really be using the concept of your book as a metaphor to explore some of what he was feeling at the time. It breaks my heart. I know you're a huge Ramones fan. What did you think of it, and what involvement did you have in the choice to get them involved? Love when you write about pop culture. even when I disagree I’m entertained. edit:spelling and grammar

stephenkinghere511 karma

I'm a huge Ramones fan, and my radio station got them to play a concert in Bangor. They put on a great rock and roll show. We had dinner afterwards, and talked about PET SEMATARY. The song followed. It was great. So was getting AC/DC involved in MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.

DevonV94225 karma

Seriously, you’d think I was Annie Wilkes if you saw my bookshelf. I own almost everything you’ve written so any response to this post at ALL (even written in gibberish) would mean the world to me. Anyway, time to think of a question – or maybe even a few since I can’t help myself here.

. What is your attitude toward electronic books and whether or not we’ll see paper books survive into the near/distant future?

. How did it feel as a novelist to break into playwriting with Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County? What do you like about the art form?

. Do you know the status of the IT remake? How about Frank Darabont’s adaption of The Long Walk?

Once again, I’m star struck in spite of the fact that you’re probably hundreds of miles away. You’ve been my idol since I was eight and inspired me to start writing. This mindless meandering is only a facsimile of how much I value your work. Rock on.

stephenkinghere634 karma

I like stories. The delivery system isn't as important to me as a good story. I will say this: if you drop a book into the toilet, it doesn't short out. And a lot of us read in the bathroom!

McExpos222 karma

Hi Stephen,

First off, thank you for creating such an interesting and well-populated world of characters. I don’t typically re-read books, but I find time to revisit one or two of your novels per year. Something about the cohesiveness of your universe draws me back.

My question is about your acting, believe it or not. How did you end up doing the segment as Jordy Verrill in Creepshow? My friends and I always loved how funny you were in that bit, especially considering you haven’t really done any acting before or since (outside of cameos in your own adaptations).

Thanks for all you do!

stephenkinghere408 karma

George Romero asked if I'd take a shot at playing Jordy. I said yes, with the caveat that he should fire me if the dailies looked bad. I never expected an Academy Award nod, and boy, was I right about that.

Kuba_198 karma

Hi! Here's my first question: If you could move one of your book characters to real world and meet him/her, who would it be?

stephenkinghere566 karma

Not Annie Wilkes. I'd guess if I could move any character to the real world, it would be Danny Torrance in The Shining.

dancepantz191 karma

Dear Constant Writer,

First of all, thank you for doing this AMA and for your brilliant work. I have loved every page of every book of yours I have read. You are the only author to write such convincing terror that I often find myself covering my eyes and reading through the cracks between my fingers. In particular, thank you for Gerald's Game. I was going through a slump in my depression and the imagery of Jessie de-gloving her hand just to escape her bed made me get out of mine and do something about it.

All the questions I have wanted to ask you have been answered, mainly in On Writing and on your website, so I will ask about my favourite appearance of yours as an actor - in Sons of Anarchy. I love that he was named Bachman. I know Kurt Sutter approached you, but were you given any creative input into the character or did you just trust him to do you justice?

Thank you again for many years of entertainment and scaring me senseless. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Joyland.

stephenkinghere365 karma

Kurt Sutter said "if you want to play a part in Sons of Anarchy, we'll put you on a big-ass motorcycle." and I said "I'm there." I didn't have any input - and I didn't want any input, he told me what the character would be and I said "terrific!"

maokaiAFK183 karma

Hello Mr King, huge fan.

1. Have you thought about writing a sequel to ‘Danse Macabre’ (for the last 30 years of horror fiction)? I love the original.

2. What do you think your weakest book is and why?

3. What is your opinion on your sons’ published work? If your opinion was unbiased, would you recommend their books?

Also, how do you play "Louie Louie" on guitar? It’s fucking impossible.

Thanks! Keep up the awesome work and I’ll continue to read everything with your name on the cover that I can get my hands on (:

stephenkinghere321 karma

I've been asked about a sequel to both DANSE MACABRE and ON WRITING, but I think one book on each subject is enough. Updating DM might be a good idea, though.

stephenkinghere321 karma

"Louie Louie" is just E, A, and D. Rinse and repeat. The lyrics are entirely up to you.

elwo178 karma

The Dark Tower serie took you over 20 years to complete, 30 counting the last one. Did you feel like you somehow grew up with some of the characters like Roland, or that some of them started to become a part of yourself ?

It's an honor talking to you, thank you !

stephenkinghere360 karma

Yes, I grew up with Roland. No doubt about it.

BeardNoir157 karma

Hey Steve, Auburn transplant here. I wanted to thank you for the years of inspiration and imagination that your books provided and continue to provide for me. You're always welcome on my bookshelves among my Raymond Carver, Cormac McCarthy, and my Holman F. Day – among others.

You said in On Writing, “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.” I've been fortunate enough to find that, but self-doubt is as steadfast as ever..

What is there to be said, in the mirror or to the blank page, when that doubt rears its head?

stephenkinghere344 karma

I think all writers live with doubt. The trick is to put them aside as much as possible, and concentrate on that day's work.

Tarcos156 karma


Do you have any plans to write anything else set in the world of The Dark Tower? Perhaps something not related to Roland's Ka-tet?

Additionally, how would you feel if someone else did such a thing? I'm thinking how other authors penned works in Lovecraft's universe.

stephenkinghere376 karma

I think you might be talking about fanfic. I have no control over that, and I understand the urge, but I think writers would be best served by creating new worlds.

Moose_Bolton143 karma

Hi Mr. King. Thanks for being the favorite author of me and my dad and giving us great topics of conversation to have together. My question is: Who is your favorite musical act of all time and who are you currently listening to?

stephenkinghere451 karma

Favorite musical act of all time? Probably Creedence Clearwater Revival. But AC/DC is close...and The Temptations...the Stones...ah, man, don't get me started. Just not Led Zeppelin.

lostfan815139 karma

Hello Mr. King, I’m a huge fan and I just want to thank you for the great stories you’ve told all of us over the years. The Stand will always be my favorite book and my inspiration as a writer. (As well as On Writing) I have two questions for you:

  • What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a storyteller? (For storytelling)

  • Is there a true solution to the mystery of the Colorado Kid, and if so, after 8 years, are you willing to throw this dog a bone and give out a clue?

Also, when I was 8 I had the great displeasure of having my eardrum punctured. I can still remember the pain. You’re the only other person I “know” that has also enjoyed that wonderful experience. I have nothing to add to that. It’s just the worst.

stephenkinghere414 karma

I think the most important thing about storytelling is to let the characters lead, and not try to force them into things they don't want to do.

Alias55118 karma

What is one movie based on your novels that you really feel got it right?

stephenkinghere331 karma

The best thing I wrote for fil was the STORM OF THE CENTURY miniseries. That's one I still feel good about. You never get it all right, but we got most of it.

LuiguSefirosu114 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA! Your stories and worlds have captivated, scared and graced me throughout a large portion of my life. For that, Thankee Sai.

All I'd like to ask is... What was, for you personally, the highest achievement of your career and what would you be doing if you wasn't an author?

stephenkinghere286 karma

If I wasn't writing, I'd probably be teaching school, but this is what I was meant to do. As far as high achievements, that's for other people to decide. I try to keep myself amused. Every day I do that is a good day.

mossman85109 karma

What's your favorite TV show?

stephenkinghere285 karma


bobfromholland41 karma

Where do you get your ideas from?

stephenkinghere305 karma

A little used idea shop in Pittsburgh. You sell them your soul, they give you ideas. :-)

izzidora38 karma

Welcome Sai King! Huge crazy fan here and I'm SUPER excited for "Doctor Sleep"!

Well I've got my DT shirt on for ka to blow my way today! I've decided on 2 short and friendly questions!


Number 1: As I'm in-between King novels, I've picked up a few books to keep me in pages - some are old reads for me, others new, (Ender's Game being my current fave). My question is, what is one of your favorite "old shoe" reads? One of those comfy books that a person returns to now and again for a warm revisit?

Number 2: Im a giant cookie-monster, and I was interested to know what your secret sweet-treat is! A snack/dessert that you just can't say no to, regardless of how horrible it may be for your waistline.

Long days and pleasant nights!

EDIT: Lucky shirt!

stephenkinghere100 karma

I'm apt to go back to the Dick Francis detective novels. I also go back to WATERSHIP DOWN. As far as treats go, I love fried dough. Also Hostess Sno-Balls, which of course they don't make anymore. Boo.