Stephen King Threw Carrie into the Trash Can

Some literary critics (snobs?) reject Stephen King as a serious novelist. Oh, they don’t deny he’s popular, or that he’s published 64 novels and 200 short stories. There’s enough data to back all of that up, right? They just poo-poo the horror genre. Maybe you do, too. But we certainly can’t deny that King is one of the most successful living authors, worshiped by fans around the world, and seems to have an endless well of spellbinding stories swimming inside his brain. If for no other reasons than those, we should be all ears when it comes to shared morsels surrounding his starving artist early days.

King is one of the more candid writers on the craft of writing itself. He’s written the famous instruction manual, On Writing, which is something of a bible for most writers (me included!). He gives endless interviews on the basic laws of fiction writing. He’s so ridiculously successful (net worth of $600 million, thank you very much) that it’s hard to imagine he ever struggled.

Stephen King grew up in poverty, but is now worth $600 million

The King of Horror grew up poor in Maine, and eventually went into teaching high school English. He wrote Carrie, but had so little faith in it, he tossed it in the trash. It was his wife, fellow writer Tabitha King, that fished it out and, well, the rest is history as they say.

Carrie was not only King’s first published novel, but it’s gone on to be adapted to film a whopping 4 times! His books, 64 and counting, have generated more than $350 million, and nearly 40 of his books and novellas have been adapted into films, making him the living author with the most film adaptations.

“Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction, can be a difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.”

~ Stephen King

Not only did King cease to believe in his ability when writing Carrie, but it turns out a lot of publishers failed to see the genius in the story, too. It was initially turned down 30 times! It goes to show you that you need a thick skin and a lot of perseverance to make it in this business! Thankfully, King didn’t quit or we’d be missing out on so many wonderful books, films, and entertaining interviews and writing instructional books (besides On Writing, he also wrote Danse Macabre).

To hear Stephen King tell the story himself, check this out.