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Stephen King Hates Stephenie Meyer

For those of you only getting your internet news from the Book Catapult:
I know that I have promised to never write about Stephen King again, but c’mon, you knew that was never going to be the case. Sometimes he says things that are just…”so choice“. In an interview with Brian Truitt from USA Today – posted on “journalist” Lorrie Lynch’s blog this week (don’t ask me how I first came across this one) the King bashes fellow authors Stephenie Meyer, Dean Koontz, and James Patterson. Hard.

“You’ve got Dean Koontz, who can write like hell. And then sometimes he’s just awful. It varies. James Patterson is a terrible writer but he’s very very successful.”

Oh, snap! Well, I can’t say I disagree with that assessment of Patterson. (See my old, ranting, crazyman post on King and Patterson.) And although I don’t know Dean Koontz from Sue Monk Kidd, what established writer – especially in the genre we’re talking about here – doesn’t hit and miss from book to book? I’ve never said that King is a terrible writer – he certainly has found that niche and I’d be a fool to say otherwise, but even within the confines of that niche he has turned out some stinky dead fishes from time to time. (Exhibit A: Cell published in 2006 – people turned into zombies by their cellphones. Not that I read more than the jacket copy.) Even the more literary authors that actually can “write like hell” can’t get it right all the time – Jose Saramago, Philip Roth, Garcia-Marquez – all have bombed in recent years. Hell, even the late John Updike had some relative duds, although it’s sacrilege to say so these days. (James Patterson, on the other hand, has clearly signed an agreement with Lucifer.) Here’s the really juicy part of King’s interview though:

“Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people. The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”

Oh dear. First off, doesn’t King know better than to bash Stephenie Meyer on the internet? Her people are everywhere – they’re even reading this post right now! Furthermore, where does someone who writes pop-lit tripe like King get off criticizing another pop author’s skills? Since when is any of this about writing talent? King found his groove, made a boatload of cash, got comfortable, and has been churning out the chum for 30 years – once you sacrifice writing literature for something like horror, you forgo the luxury of literary criticism. Does Paris Hilton criticize Lindsey Lohan’s acting talent? Even his book reviews for Entertainment Weekly…wait, need I say more? He gives an “exclusive” interview with USA Today, writes a column for Entertainment Weekly, and still has the balls left over to criticize other popular authors? Case dismissed on the grounds of the plaintiff being a white trash author. Even his bashing of James Patterson needs some perspective in light of his own resume – where does he get off qualifying Patterson as one thing, while considering his own work as something else? Where’s that Pulitzer, King? Or the National Book Award? Or the Quill, even? While I don’t know if Stephenie Meyer is a good writer or not, I just think that King’s comments come off a bit bitter or hard-hearted, considering that she’s the hot author where he once was himself. Kettle, Pot. Get over yourself.
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In all fairness, King is Pulitzer-worthy compared to Patterson. I couldn’t resist adding these opening lines from J.P.’s 1st to Die, just for fun:

It is an unusually warm night in July, but I’m shivering badly as I stand on the substantial gray stone terrace outside my apartment. I’m looking out over glorious San Francisco and I have my service revolver pressed against the side of my temple.

“Goddamn you, God!” I whisper. Quite a sentiment, but appropriate and just, I think.

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30 comments on “Stephen King Hates Stephenie Meyer

  1. Corey Wilde
    February 5, 2009

    <>1st to Die<> — one the of the all-time worst books. Now see what you’ve done, you’ve set off my gag reflex.

  2. Marko
    February 5, 2009

    Hilarious! I couldn’t believe how bad that excerpt was – that’s the first paragraph of the book! It’s like his cat walked across the keyboard and he just send it like that without reading it.

  3. Robincita
    February 5, 2009

    I wondered what your view on that article was going to be…in fact, I had a few conversations concerning what Marko’s assessment of King’s comments would be. I’m still chuckling…

  4. James Jensen
    February 11, 2009

    I knew there was a reason I loved Stephen King.-James

  5. Anonymous
    February 14, 2009

    I’ve read a lot of what King has talked about, and I have to say I agree. Patterson’s success perplexes me, but I think I read from a writer’s perspective more than a reader’s perspective. I read a lot of Koontz, and it’s interesting to see what works so well and what doesn’t, but he’s popular enough to get away with it. He can really pump it out. I guess I cut Stephanie Meyer’s work a break because she’s a young adult author, so for some reason I don’t expect the same writing quality as adult fiction. I admire King’s work, but sometimes it seems like same old same old.

  6. Anonymous
    February 14, 2009

    PS. Like your website. Wanted to send you an email saying so but couldn’t find a linky.

  7. Marko
    February 14, 2009

    King’s a blustery windbag – his actual book writing aside. Keep your eyes open for his blurbs – they’re EVERYWHERE! I’m pretty sure he’ll turn you off of reading some book you pick up, any day now.Thanks for reading, Anon. (I put an email link in my profile, just for you! Good idea.)

  8. Anonymous
    May 11, 2009

    Sounds to me like Stephen King’s jealous because he realizes that his best years of writing are far behind him.

  9. Anonymous
    May 18, 2009

    he is right / jk rowlings is a better writer than stephanie. a person gotta say at is it. jk, has so much creativity , it is upsurbed and harry potters movies are the bomb. twilight was nice but it didnt have the oomph like harry potter. so there is no reason why they should even be compared.just because a romance novel pops up that doesnt mean every one should betary harry potter, harry potter has romance and excitement. and the new movie is going to blow twilight out of the way. hahahaha. i knew there was something i liked about stephen king. i totally agree with him

  10. Anonymous
    January 4, 2010

    ok for ONE: i agree with the person that said king is good nut latley it seems like its the same old same old. for TWO: why the hell do people compare twilight and harry potter besides the fact they sre fiction they are nothing alike. for THREE: i love both harry potter and twilight cant wait for eclipse movie and other ahrry potter movies. STEPHEN NEEDS TO STOP HATING!!! some people probly thinks his book suck too its called an opinion stephen and you need to keep your opinion to urself

  11. chris
    April 22, 2010

    i dont think he cares what twilight fans think and if twilight fans call this book one of the best horror books of all time than they certainly do not know good literature

  12. Anonymous
    July 13, 2010

    Why do you care so much about someone criticizing a book? He's just a man. And he doesn't hate her at all, where did you read that? He just thinks she's a bad writer.

  13. Anonymous
    November 27, 2010

    Twilight a horror book?….No I don't think so. I read the books and hey they're decent. The Host is definitely a great book that hasn't gotten much publicity, yet it is better than Twilight.
    I agree with others…you can't compare J.K. Rowling and Meyers. You just can't.

  14. Anonymous
    January 26, 2011

    The Host is sci-fi meets Days of Our Lives.

  15. Anonymous
    March 7, 2011

    I think Stephen king is damn right.Everything about Twilight.Sucks.The characters stink.The plot is rubbish!…and there is'nt anything happening on the book that makes you read it more(thats why ideas caught from dreams should stay in dreams)ANd ABout James Patterson…well he does'nt even write his own novels!!…he just gives out the plot an a TEAM writes it and anyway his works don't bring much sense….

  16. Anonymous
    March 7, 2011

    Hey!!…WHy do they even compare HArry potter with that rubbish saga…Stephenie meyer should stop writing….she has torchered us enough..!!

  17. Anonymous
    March 7, 2011

    Stephenie mayer should be banned from writing!!!..

  18. London Mabel
    July 17, 2011

    I've never read Patterson, but I randomly found this post (to read the King on Meyer stuff) and LOLLLLLLL that first bit from Patterson! LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Thank-you.

  19. Anonymous
    September 7, 2011

    “1st to die” was bad. That excerpt was worse ROTFL but Stephenie Meyer is the worst crap of all.

    STEPHEN KING is the KING! its as simple as that.

  20. Anonymous
    January 6, 2012

    King is at the top of his game in his FIFTH decade; his latest book sells like hotcaeks and is a huge success both critically and commercially, not to mention the huge Under the Dome published two years ago, which was another commercial andr critical success. His awards are “uncountable” and you are still like “King is old, King is that King is this” Admit it he is easily of the best fiction authors of both the 20th and 21st century and probably the greatest living American fiction author. So he can have one or to say about other authors.

  21. Stephen
    March 5, 2012

    I have to ask, why are you writing a commentary on books you have never read and even worse, comparing them? This is a horrible 'article.'

  22. Yehuda
    June 26, 2012

    As soon as you called King's works 'pop-lit tripe' I knew you were a literary snob. Then you put down 'cell' (admittedly not king's greatest book) without even having read it?! where do you get off exactly? Mr. King's books are just as legitimate as the pretentious trash I'm sure you read.

  23. Seth Marko
    June 26, 2012

    I don't know why I'm even responding to this, but – what is wrong with you people? This post – from 3 years ago, mind you – wasn't about Stephen King's books or his skills as a writer. It was about public comments he made about Stephenie Meyer – who, if you can remember that far back, was pretty hot shit in 2009. My point – an opinionated point made in a personal blog post – was that I thought “once you sacrifice writing literature for something like horror, you forgo the luxury of literary criticism.”

    And, like I said there at the end: “I don't know if Stephenie Meyer is a good writer or not, I just think that King's comments come off a bit bitter or hard-hearted….”

    So, calm down.

    But hey, thanks for visiting!

  24. Michael Mackend
    July 4, 2012

    I wonder if Seth Marko grasps the incredible, ironic hypocrisy of: “once you sacrifice writing literature for something like horror, you forgo the luxury of literary criticism.” Coming from a literary critic with no actual work to his own name, it's borderline comedic brilliance.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, “Cell” was a really good read. I often point out that book as being one of Kings works that demonstrate his ability to take pretty much any scenario and make a good story out of built upon what matters most: the characters.

    No hate on you though, Seth. You read a lot. You have opinions. You write about them. And I was obviously compelled enough by them to respond in the comments. You win. 🙂

  25. Tom Schwarz
    July 26, 2012

    I think it's also funny to label King as only a horror writer, when he has produced plenty of works well outside the “horror” label. Long Green Mile, The Body (Stand by Me), Hearts in Atlantis, Shawskank Redemption.

    I would not consider any of those titles to be “horror”.

  26. Anonymous
    April 12, 2013

    Okay, the person who said that dreams that influence work is rubbish should read up on Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, who based the work on a DREAM. And Stephanie Meyer isn't a rubbish writer, I sincerely doubt Stephen King actually read her work.

    Great article!

  27. Anonymous
    May 28, 2014

    The writer of this post is totally stupid, first for having put down Cell without reading it, and second, 'cause he seems to think he “knows it all” about the world of Literature. Pray, tell us, how many critically and commercially rejected books have you written?
    And, FYI, there is a RICHARD BACHMAN too, if you did not know, who has written well too; might wanna check him out, then, when alone — to avoid further embarrassment — look in the mirror and tell yourself: I should stop asserting my opinions, simply because they are shitty.

    P.S.: You can have an opinion, but have no right to assert it over people. And if, this post was YOUR opinion, I'd say you, yourself are a pathetic writer who considers himself a what… a “critic”?. Yeah, right!
    P.P.S.: No hard feelings, just “got the fire lit under me.”

  28. Anonymous
    June 28, 2014

    Opinions are opinions, and they're fine. Where you fall down is your complete lack of irony and self-awareness on the 'pot, meet kettle' comment: on the one hand, there's Stephen Kind. Even if you think he's a bitter, grumpy, jealous old man, which he may well be, he's still, well, Stephen King. When it comes to books he's pretty much earned the right to say whatever he likes whenever he likes, whether you think every word he's ever had published is total crap or not. On the other hand, there's you, thinking you're in any position to sneer at and disparage the talents of Stephen King. And you have what, exactly, to back that up with?

    That's why you've taken a few hits in the comments, although I'm sure you believe in your own internal little Universe I and everyone else who disagrees with you is still missing the point.

  29. twenty six letters
    August 15, 2015

    You're comparing Mary Shelley to Stephenie Meyer??!? Okay, you just crushed any credibility you had, hope you realise that.

    Meyer is a shit writer. Deal with it.

  30. twenty six letters
    August 15, 2015

    Being hot shit hardly makes Meyer a writer. Suggesting otherwise kinda makes you look an idiot.

    Stephen King may not be Shakespeare, but he definitely has the right to point out that Meyer is shit,

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