I do not especially care about King. I am not a fan (particularly) or a detractor. I have seen movies and television series, but I haven't read his books. One day I heard an NPR interview with him and, without knowing his identity at first, I assumed he was a highbrow writer of a different type. In this night of particularly fertile dreams, though, Stephen King and I were having a conversation. I was with a friend who knew King, in a workshop where my friend was doing an arts and crafts project. King was not there, but was being Skyped in. I had to lie on my back to see him, projected on a screen above my face.
He challenged me to tell a story about my life in two sessions, like we had done before. I said I wasn't a good storyteller, that I didn't have the kind of experiences that leant themselves to being tied up in narrative bundles like that. He scoffed at me a bit, though not in an unfriendly way. Throughout the whole conversation he was a skeptical but benevolent figure. I also told him I was a schmuck, that I didn't do things well, and so that the story would end up being about my various failures. He said something to the effect that we are all schmucks. I didn't want to ask him how he came up with the ideas for his stories, but I said that I mostly wrote poetry, and that occasionally a plot for an entire novel would pop into my head, fully formed.
He said something that implied that that was the easy part. You had to have the self-discipline to write the book. The first example I gave him was of a man who gradually wasted away. He said that had been done already too many times. The second one was of a science fiction novel in which the aliens were taking over the world, but that the reader didn't know it. In other words, the transformation of reality was so subtle that it could be attributed to other causes. This is an idea I have actually had in waking life. Stephen King didn't quite get understand my plot, though it seemed as though gradually we were getting to some meeting of the minds.