Although Stephen King’s first published novel, Carrie, is about telekinetic forces, I reading it as inspiration for a novel I’m writing about spirit possession. You know, trying to learn from spooky uncle Stephen about the ways of horror.
Much of the novel is written in an epistolary format. Using fictional textbooks and interviews to help the storytelling. Few books are able to employ this technique successfully. It’s not a style I enjoy reading, I understand the appeal as a device. As it used in this book, it reveals too much of the ending. By the end of the first act, the reader knows how many people survive “Prom Night.”
Carrie is a pitiable character. Through the abuse at home and school, King creates a character that we care about. We are given a clear enemy in Sue Snell and Chris. We hate them as we hate our own bullies and mean girls from our past.
I’m not here to bash on the book or tell you that it isn’t one of the classics of the Horror genre, I’m discussing the lessons I’ve learned only halfway through.
King is a master of his craft and much can be learned from his strengths as well as his weaknesses.
While my first novel, White Hell, was solidly a thriller, I have always been a voracious reader of King and Koontz since sixth grade. There’s always more to learn. A new lesson in each reading: how they foreshadow or build an antagonist.