Submitted by KnightOfPanda t3_10owskr in books

Just finished IT by Stephen King. This was my first read and I actually never seen the movies or known too much about the plot (other than the typical cultural references on media). Overall I enjoyed the book and the connection I build with characters (both young and old). I found myself spending just "5 more min" with the book just to know how the chapter ends. But, the movement I finally closed the book I thought "this was way longer than IT needed to be". If King dropped about 1/4 of the book by shortening some descriptions and flashbacks, I think the book would be much more enjoyable. I am not even talking about removing any controversial actions some characters made (especially right after being soaked in excrements). It's just the world building that feels to much and overcomplicated at times. What do you think?



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shillyshally t1_j6habgc wrote

All Stephen King's book are too long. I assume he is such a valuable asset that no editor feels comfortable sitting down and blue penciling 10 to 20% of his tomes. I have truly enjoyed most of the books I have read by him but he does tend to go on and on.


Vorpishly t1_j6ifu1b wrote

I have read On Writing, and started using it as a guide to write. Writing without outlines and just going where the story goes has been great so far, creatively. however I have 100 pages for roughly 3 scenes. I can see what you mean.


SonnyCalzone t1_j6k2jof wrote

Very glad to see On Writing get a mention here. That book is still the only book which I have bought multiple paperback copies of, just so I could gift them to my friends, and I did that more than ten times. On Writing is so good, and never gets mentioned enough anywhere.


shillyshally t1_j6k4l7h wrote

If you go back to the golden age of editing and look at Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Maxwell Perkins and take a look at the manuscript pages, the relationship is obviously collaborative. Both those authors are noted for their brevity - that is not an accident!

The self-publishing that has blossomed with Amazon is terrific but man, there is no substitute at all for a good editor.


Bonezone420 t1_j6kadi6 wrote

Having a good relationship with a good editor is pretty hard though. A lot of people - fans especially - tend to view it as a solely adversarial thing. That like, the editor is a piece of shit because their job is to go in and ~butcher~ the art. And a lot of editors can easily fall into a mentality that they are, somehow, the gatekeeper of quality and the author is basically just an unhinged hosepipe and it's up to them to sculpt things into what they want heedless of what the author desires. And because usually the most famous dumpster fires get publicized while really good relationships that elevate the final product almost never get brought to light except in interviews and end notes where the author thanks their editor (seriously; read just how many authors will include a note thanking their "tireless editor" often "For dealing with all of this when you could have just quit and moved on to more profitable venues" or something similar) a lot of people, especially those on the outside or are just getting into either side of the industry get a really brutal image of it and kind of go in with a preconceived notion that it's supposed to be editor vs author. And sometimes all it takes is one shitty partner - on either side - to fuck up someone's whole career and perception life-long.

Self publishing is still in its wild-west sort of era; but much like youtubers as of late, I think before long any creator doing reasonably well will realize how much more efficient and effective they'll be by hiring editors to help cut their own labor in half, basically, and we'll have a boom in independent editors for independent authors.


[deleted] t1_j6khc6g wrote



Bonezone420 t1_j6kndj0 wrote

It's absolutely been wild seeing how it's gone, yeah. Personally: I think it's shaping up for the better - publishers, imo, didn't adapt well enough to the digital landscape and worked too hard to preserve their sort of gilded tower and closed gates policies which is why self publishing has taken off so well, while before it was basically only a bastion for the desperate and determined. Now anyone with like, a hundred bucks and a word processor can throw their stuff out into the void.


Randym1982 t1_j6kajsc wrote

Didn't he mention that he also edits his own manuscripts and usually waits like 3-5 weeks before a re-read/rewrite.

I think most Publishers and editors know that his books sell more than anybody else, and have for the past 50 years. So they allow them the comfort to kind of do whatever he wants.


IamSkele t1_j6i2bop wrote

I agree. Except for The Stand(extended) and Misery. Both are perfection(for me).


missfishersmurder t1_j6iehwp wrote

I agree in general about Stephen King, but not for It.

I loved reading about Derry and the way it breathed menace over the centuries...for me, it enhanced how unfathomably powerful Pennywise was, how deeply entrenched the evil was in the town, and how little chance the Losers Gang had. It also made the later scenes where the adults in the town turn their back on the kids almost...unsurprising, or even something that I was already resigned to by the time it happened. And the amount of history that Derry has imbues its occasional appearance in random books with a lot of tension and anxiety.

TL;DR: I liked reading about Derry and its inhabitants, so it didn't feel like too much, but if you weren't into that, I can understand why it would feel bloated.


Red_Ed t1_j6iiok9 wrote

Yeah, the build up of Derry and it's inhabitants was amazingly done.


Randym1982 t1_j6k9zi0 wrote

I felt that It had a bit more highs than lows, but the lows were kind of "wtf?" and a bit stupid. The highs?

>!The whole backstory on Derry. THe Lumbermill massacre. The gangsters getting shot to death while Pennywise dances in the background. Pennywise basically turning into 60's and 70's type monsters while tormenting the kids. !<

That stuff was the best parts of the book to me. Some of the other stuff was a bit of a slog to get through.


missfishersmurder t1_j6kcmcz wrote

Agreed! I guess I view It as a history of Derry, which can only exist in Pennywise’s shadow. So the Losers Gang and the final battle against Pennywise is less about the humans and more about the destruction of Derry.

Though, you know… >! Pennywise Lives! !<


Randym1982 t1_j6kczc6 wrote

Both movies and TV Mini kind did away with the destruction of Derry. I will say the Tim Curry ending felt closer to the ending of the book. >!Beating Pennywise to death, rather than insulting him till he shrinks and then ripping out his heart. !<


missfishersmurder t1_j6kgx8k wrote

That is a pity! The book has so much in it that I understand how hard it is to pack everything in and do it justice on screen.

I've never actually seen the Tim Curry version all the way through...I saw part of it and something about the shower with the drain stretching around him as he clambers out really haunted me. (Am I remembering that correctly? I have no clue, it's been decades.) I was living alone over winter break in a college dorm--there were probably other people in the building but I never saw them--and stopped showering until people started coming back onto campus, and had to time my showers to be when other people were in the bathroom lol.


Randym1982 t1_j6kn6wm wrote

Kind of. I think Pennywise pops up out of the drain and starts taunting the kid. The TV Mini had some good parts and some "lol. Seriously?" parts too.


missfishersmurder t1_j6knk51 wrote

Hah, I'm a little tougher these days when it comes to horror movies, so maybe I'll give it another shot! I love the weirdness and occasional silliness of horror movies, especially older ones. And tbh Seth Green, even when just starting out, is always a fun watch.


malmsteensplectrum t1_j6h90wa wrote

Yes is the short answer. However i find his worldbuilding to be part of his charm. The Tommyknockers is a book of his that could easily be half as long. You can tell he was.. ahem, over stimulated while writing it.


AbbyM1968 t1_j6ieqeq wrote

Hee-hee-hee. I haven't read it, but over on r/todayIlearned, it says that he barely remembers writing Cujo for the same reason. (I think his family did an intervention during or after it)


OverallSummer9121 t1_j6kn7oc wrote

Tommyknockers is actually the first book he wrote after getting sober. It’s his least favorite book. He says it felt like he completely forgot how to write and his wife had to push him on sentence by sentence


malmsteensplectrum t1_j6mhi6a wrote

Needful things was the first sober book i think. Tommyknockers came out in 1987. King didnt get clean till 1988/89.


[deleted] t1_j6iew2r wrote

Overestimated on what? Is Steven a king a blowhead?


MojoMomma76 t1_j6ife2u wrote

He was famously into coke, pills, weed and alcohol


JokeySmurf0091 t1_j6is618 wrote

He’s been clean and sober for over 3 decades now.


MojoMomma76 t1_j6j9tu4 wrote

Yep, talks about it in On Writing for those who want to hear about his decision to get sober.


[deleted] t1_j6ihv6o wrote

Ah. Makes sense. I've always found him deranged and uninteresting. Don't downvote just my opinion.


Negative-Net-9455 t1_j6h906l wrote

It was, yeah.

It's a valid take on a lot of his middle-career work. It, Tommyknockers, Dark Half, Needful Things, the Dark Tower series etc. He got so big that I think editors got scared to actually tell him to reign it in a bit.

Thankfully, as he's got older, he's either got much better at self-editing or some editor somewhere has had the balls to tell him straight up that he's waffling and he's by and large returned to the more streamlined, better and more effective writing of his youth. Apart from the recent, dreadful Fairy Tale of course.


7ootles t1_j6hb9jv wrote

>Apart from the recent, dreadful Fairy Tale of course.

I wouldn't say it's my favourite book, but it's certainly far from dreadful. What's wrong with it?


unclefipps t1_j6hgt66 wrote

The first 1/3rd of the book could be condensed down to a couple paragraphs and it wouldn't effect the story in any way, except to make it better. It's meandering and full of useless fluff and the language is over-the-top. It takes the more interesting parts of the story that occur later on and covers them in poo so they don't shine as well.


7ootles t1_j6hh32d wrote

Why don't you do the edit and I'll tell you if it's any better? I'll wait.


FullyStacked92 t1_j6iegri wrote

Lol, you ask him his opinion and then come back with a childish response?

I can tell you if a meal tastes bad without being able to cook it and the same goes for a book. Don't ask people for their opinion if you're going to get butthurt over it.


Negative-Net-9455 t1_j6jz0gq wrote

I'll happily do that. My rate is $300ph, in advance.


7ootles t1_j6k5r6f wrote

You're not the person I commissioned.

Also, editors don't charge per hour. They usually charge per thousand words or per page.


Negative-Net-9455 t1_j6jys71 wrote

Overlong, particularly the opening act. Lazy stock King characters - The Grumpy Old Man, The Good Boy etc etc - truly awful prose on occasion. I mentioned this in a previous post on this book but when you commit a sentence like 'they darkened the darkening sky' to paper and think its good, you're in trouble.

He's showing his age too. Nothing wrong with that, he's older now, but why try and write a teenage character when you clearly can't write a teenager? It had 'how do you do fellow kids' energy running all through it.


7ootles t1_j6k5ysk wrote

I will say I had to roll my eyes a little at how much of a Mary Sue Charlie was. Like I said, it's not my favourite book - but I enjoyed it as just another story.


[deleted] t1_j6he2s7 wrote



7ootles t1_j6hecl5 wrote

I tend to read past that stuff. Some teenagers act and speak differently to "average" teenagers. And some people really love dogs. We see on r/nextfuckinglevel and r/humansbeingbros and elsewhere that some people will risk themselves to save a dog or a cat or some other animal they only just met.

Thing to remember about stories is that, if the main characters were normal people, there would be no story.


[deleted] t1_j6hfrqg wrote



7ootles t1_j6hgiet wrote

>Every one of his pop culture references is an old movie he saw on ‘TCM’ or ‘his dad’s favorite’ whatever.

OK? I mean I'm in my early/mid-thirties and almost all of my pop culture references are from old films and music I've watched/listened to with my parents. I'd get a 1960s reference more readily than a 2000s one.


Tanagrabelle t1_j6hmhrs wrote

See, the boy loving the dog is actually one of the most realistic parts to me. I have cats, though. Additional point, in the story he's that young man, and he, in the way that the young often are, doesn't really believe he's in danger until he really is.


Anon-fickleflake t1_j6hae3n wrote

The cocaine in the middle years may have had something to do with it lol


kaysn t1_j6hs3vs wrote

>Fairy Tale

That book needed a lot of pruning.


crazyike t1_j6hsvko wrote

>and flashbacks

The flashbacks were some of the best parts. They showed how fucked up Derry was whenever IT was active. Blowing up the ironworks, killing the gang (I forget their name now), the Black Spot fire all built up the threat that was under the town. The Eddie Corcoran flashback was nasty too, one of the few first hand looks at a Pennywise attack that was successful.

So no, I don't really agree.


unclefipps t1_j6hh23s wrote

Stephen King is kind of a funny author. Some of the stuff he writes is pretty good and some of it really flops around with story elements that are far too long and story elements that don't really get resolved, and story elements that take away from the overall quality of the story.

His underlying story ideas tend to be pretty good but his writing is all over the place. He can write one story that's decent while the next story is a hot turd he just squeezed out. And yet somehow he's still managed to become very successful.


BeasleysKneeslis t1_j6icvjy wrote

I don't think so.

Only in that I don't know what sections I would leave out. I love the interludes. I love that Derry has a history and feels like it's alive. The relationships between the losers and other people in town feel super important.

I also think part of the reason people hold it in such high regard is the feeling of accomplishment of finishing such a long novel.

King gets a lot of flack for his novels being to long and needing editing, but as someone that prefers long novels it's never bothered me.


Wickedjr89 t1_j6iqm9v wrote

It? Too long? No. Not to me. I'm a character-driven reader and King does that so well! If you're a plot-driven reader than i'd see the problem. For me though he dives deep into characters and that is what I want and NEED from a story generally! Plot? Who cares about the plot? Not me! Well, not much anyway in comparison to the characters. I don't think it's too long at all and I usually read much shorter books. But something I love about King is how much he dives into his characters. So far from King i've read: Joyland, Misery, The Tommyknockers, On Writing, 'Salem's Lot, Needful Things, Pet Sematary, Carrie and It. So I haven't read a ton from him yet but his character-work is why I love his work so far.


19phoecker83 t1_j6io16l wrote

I think IT is the exemption, because of its length you can re-read the book after some time and notice that you forgot parts of the story, similar to the protagonists forgetting parts of their life.


Dickinson95 t1_j6hnies wrote

Absolutely! I would have enjoyed it if it was half the length.


Maleficent_Tap_332 t1_j6hrz1g wrote

"Subject to suffering bouts of diarrhea at the typewriter" - his very own words about himself


ArtSchnurple t1_j6hvid4 wrote

I actually love Stephen King in early long-winded sprawling mode from his beer years. It's why The Stand is my favorite of his books and one of my favorite novels. For me, the problem with IT is the way it's too long. That's like he committed to this structure where you see each kid have their own individual confrontation with It, alone, each one in succession, and then the structure of the book is that this gets repeated over and over. It gets very repetitive and is a screwball way to structure a novel.


BrooklynBillyGoat t1_j6i6new wrote

All his books are to long imo. They could all do with few hundred pages less


jcargile242 t1_j6itlmv wrote

The Stand has entered the chat.


skullfullofbooks t1_j6hrpwt wrote

All of the King books that are known to be long are "too long" to me. He needs an editor


salamaleco t1_j6hrxyb wrote

I'm currently 40% through the same book and yeah I agree. Some parts are just not really necessary.


GhostMug t1_j6ibbtv wrote

Honestly, I love SK but you could probably make this claim about most of his books post-80's. My theory is that he just became so successful as an author no editor would actually tell him "no" and it didn't matter cause he would sell millions of copies anyway.


General-Skin6201 t1_j6iowlc wrote

Personally I think a lot of King's later books are too long. I think his popularity let him do whatever he wanted and his editors had to go along. I prefer his earlier shorter books.


HugoNebula t1_j6j3fh2 wrote

In the grand scheme of things, IT is one of King's earlier works.


BrowniesNCheese t1_j6j6kcp wrote

I just commented on this somewhere yesterday. I think this was one of his books he wrote while completely shitfaced. I tried for a year to read this and don't even remember if I finished it. His rants in this are just boring and go nowhere.


Naive_Possibility668 t1_j6jgpzp wrote

Well, that's Stephen King for you. Some people really like that about him, and I'm one of them, and some just don't. I'm reading Christine right now and there's a chapter dedicated to the weather and describing things like the stop light. Could it have been cut and the story would have been fine? Sure, I guess. But it adds to the ambiance and feel of the story, and one of the things that keeps me reading his books is how he describes things, not just the plot of the story itself.


Negative-Net-9455 t1_j6jzgaq wrote

There's nothing wrong with long novels. The issue with King is that he sometimes writes flabby novels.


Tombazzzz t1_j6jin0x wrote

I tried reading IT twice. Never made it past 100 pages...


InvestigatorFlaky173 t1_j6jjb8c wrote

I agree that 90% of kings books are too long but I absolutely loved IT and think the length was part of the charm. The first time I read IT was over the course of a summer when I was 14 and I've reread it twice since (I'm in my 30s now) and nothing else brings me back to those long hazy neverending summer days like that book.

Although I also highly recommend 11/22/63 if you loved IT it's such a treat


Oak_Bear97 t1_j6jjyr4 wrote

I really enjoyed the kids part parts and the history. I never finished it, I find the adult parts really boring and hard to get through. Even in the movies I'm glad the newer ones split the perspectives into two so I can just watch the kids movie lol


Working_Method8543 t1_j6jmarp wrote

Haven't read King for years, mostly because I had the feeling "skip the first 30% and then it gets interesting". I liked his Bachmann books though - they were more condensed and manageable. But then that's 25 years ago and I will probably try some of his newer books - heard a lot of praises.


SonnyCalzone t1_j6k23bz wrote

King's IT displays some of finest character development that I've ever seen in any book by any author. If the tale seems overly long to you, this reveals a truth about both your limits and your patience as a reader. And while I have no desire to reread that tale again any time soon, I am glad that I experienced the tale when I did (I was in my late 30s, instead of being in junior high school when most of my other friends were reading the tale and having sleepless nights because of how scary the tale is in certain chapters.)


sdurflinger t1_j6kfxfv wrote

I don't really consider books to be too long. If I get bored, that's just a sign that I don't like the book. All or nothing for me!


greeheheasy t1_j6kj8w0 wrote

Well here’s the cliff notes for everyone else

Scary clown

Sudden orgy

Space turtle

Scary spider

Le end


Loose_Management_406 t1_j6kryn3 wrote

When an author writes 3 pages detailing the leaf hanging from a tree branch then the author is waisting ink. I've found Zane Grey wrote this way. To much time on the unimportant.


DisastrousSpot8570 t1_j6l4x4n wrote

Hated this book. Lol. Reading he was coked out makes so much sense!


parasolofdoom t1_j6l6zc3 wrote

I thought IT was OK. It definitely felt like something a person wrote in their cocaine days and was. The Stand on the other hand-- gimme all the bloat, I'm here for it!


apri08101989 t1_j6laxbx wrote

I foolishly tried to use It as a way to break a dry spell. Made it about halfway through before giving up on it. One one hand, halfway through It is as long or longer than your average book, so I didn't feel too bad about it. On the other...not did not work to get me out of my slump, it just burnt me out again


supreme-dominar t1_j6ljs54 wrote

The short stories/vignettes of background characters is actually my favorite feature of a full Stephen King novel. For me it enriches the world the story is set in and shows that the author gave it real depth. It also gives a small emotional pause, a step away from the main plot. I often needs those breaks or I get too caught up in the flow.

It does greatly increase the length of some of his books though.

I can’t think of another author I’ve read that does things like that. Wish they would.


EvokeWonder t1_j6lr5l6 wrote

I tried It two times and gave up. I only made it past ten pages both times. I’m not sure why because the movie was amazing.


GrudaAplam t1_j6himw6 wrote

Yeah, a bit. Que sera, sera.


tangcameo t1_j6hsoxy wrote

It was. When I reread it and I get to the latter half, I get more interested in the Interludes.


UFO_1980 t1_j6iamk0 wrote

I agree that I have found nearly all Stephen Kings books far too long.
Just finished reading "A Fairy Tale" and I was constantly saying to myself "just get on with the story, and leave out all the unnecessary padding".

There also seemed to be a lot of repetition.
I was also saying "yeah, you told us this in the last chapter and the one before that".
Get on with the bloody story.

To be fair, it is not just Stephen King who does this.

I am all for "world building" and "developing characters" in a story.
But it seems to be taken to such silly levels so often it drives me mad.

However, I am my own worst enemy.
Once I start reading a book, or watching a movie, I always see it through to the bitter end.
Even when a third of the way through I know its crap.
Something inside me tells me that it will get better and a great ending awaits me.

That has never happened!


Rick_101 t1_j6iel75 wrote

Yes, people will crucify me for this but Stephen King tends to do what you described.


CertainDegree t1_j6j52v8 wrote

It's 1300 pages

It's fucking long !!


harvestmanners t1_j6ig04m wrote

Yep, that's Steven King. He said in his book On Writing that he never plans his novels beforehand, and this is the result.


Sumraeglar t1_j6hn4sl wrote

Yes it was, his stuff usually is. I feel like he knows what's going to be picked up to go on screen or not and does that on purpose to try and make the screen version as good as possible, just speculation but everything that has been picked up to go on screen has been insanely long.


Candid_Dream4110 t1_j6hspyq wrote

With the exception of Carrie. Possibly my favorite King book because of how short, sweet, and to the point it is.


Sumraeglar t1_j6i2tvh wrote

This is true about Carrie. It's one of my tops too. Desperation is my fave King novel though. It's one of the scariest books I've read and it often gets overlooked.