King’s first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974. That book alone has been adapted into three separate movies (not counting sequels) and a musical. Between his staggeringly long bibliography and popularity among other artists, he’s become a cultural juggernaut. At this point, you’re probably familiar with King’s storytelling no matter what medium you prefer.
And with decades of interviews, multiple non-fiction books, and active social media accounts, King has had some memorable and interesting things to say. The best Stephen King quotes, unsurprisingly, are on his favorite topics: writing, reading, horror, and life itself.
Here Are 20 of the Best Stephen King Quotes
“Schizoid behavior is a pretty common thing in children. It’s accepted, because all we adults have this unspoken agreement that children are lunatics.”
“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
“Hug and kiss whoever helped get you – financially, mentally, morally, emotionally – to this day. Parents, mentors, friends, teachers. If you’re too uptight to do that, at least do the old handshake thing, but I recommend a hug and a kiss. Don’t let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.”
“I believe most people are essentially good. I know that I am. It’s you I’m not entirely sure of.”
“I give because it’s the only concrete way I have of saying that I’m glad to be alive and that I can earn my daily bread doing what I love. Giving … [puts our focus] back where it belongs—on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities which nurture us.”
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
“A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.”
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
“I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud. ”
“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.”
“The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…”
“From a very early age, I wanted to be scared. [I think that] I wanted an emotional engagement with something that was safe, something I could pull back from.”
“You know, sometimes people say to me, ‘Why do you choose to write that creepy stuff?’ And I usually say, ‘What makes you think I have a choice?'”
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”
“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.”
“There are books full of great writing that don’t have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story… don’t be like the book-snobs who won’t do that. Read sometimes for the words–the language. Don’t be like the play-it-safers who won’t do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.”
“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.”
Alternatively, show off your knowledge by crushing this Stephen King Novels quiz.