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Books Idle

Meet the Guy Who Fact-Checks Stephen King On Stephen King 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-me-anything dept.
cartechboy writes "Stephen King has sold more than 300 million books of horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy. The guy has written so many works, and words, that he actually needs a "continuity adviser" to fact check him when he picks old stories up as a new book. Enter Rocky Wood — who is the world-wide leading expert on Stephen King's work. So much so, that King hired Wood (who has authored a 6000+ page encyclopedia on CD-ROM on every single aspect of King's work — including 26,000 different King characters) to fact check himself when he writes."
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Meet the Guy Who Fact-Checks Stephen King On Stephen King

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Best sellers" are like collectible cards. People collect them because they want to have the complete set, not because the content is any good. The last time King wrote a book worth reading was a decade ago.

    • The last time King wrote a book worth reading was a decade ago.

      The last time King wrote a book worth reading it wasn't a book, it was a movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, and it was more than ten years ago.

      • The last time King wrote a book worth reading was a decade ago.

        The last time King wrote a book worth reading it wasn't a book, it was a movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, and it was more than ten years ago.

        Milk the blood flowing out of the elevators scene until it it makes you want to scream ("Not AGAIN!"). The ballroom shocker was straight out of 1950's Vincent Price shlock. and the "Red Rum" thing was just plain deja vu.

        If you want a King movie worth watching, I'd vote for Shawshank any day.

  • If the task sounds daunting, the truth is even worse. Wood is working on another book about King, but in 2010 he learned he had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and 80 percent of patients die within five years of diagnosis.

    dude's life is horror, all around

  • by djupedal (584558) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @12:43AM (#44826819)
    I need to become the world-wide leading expert on Rocky Wood's body of work...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      As somebody who spends 3 seconds half-reading the summary, I Google searched Rocky Woods hoping that that was some kind lady's adult film stage name.

      Nope.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @12:51AM (#44826855)

    ...but this is the first time I've read or heard the term "CD-ROM" this decade. Really? If it was published on CD-ROM, wouldn't it be horribly out of date by now?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well it wouldn't be out of date because the single books would never change so the facts would still be right

    • CD-ROMs work in normal computer drives, and are what is often used if your content is of that size.

  • by sjwt (161428) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @12:52AM (#44826861)

    And here was I thinking that this is what Wikis are for

    • by LostMonk (1839248)
      You do know that Wikis do not update themselves... right?
      • by sjwt (161428)

        No, but Fan kids do, and will often collectively put in much more effort than 10 paid full time fact checkers.

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          Yes, 10 times the work from one guy, the other 10,000 will give you crap they don't even known about ... and a billion times the opinion and personal bias. Perhaps you've heard of wikipedia and its well known problems.

          You people really need to get it through your head that you need to pay people for quality less-biased work.

    • Somebody has to write the content for the wiki and create all the links - it doesn't happen all on it's own. And few wiki's, even fannish ones, are down to the level of detail described in the article.

    • by chrismcb (983081)
      I would guess you want your new book to be fact checked BEFORE you published it.
  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @01:00AM (#44826903) Homepage

    High-functioning autism as a career path? Heh.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @01:02AM (#44826919)

    See, this is exactly what celebrities need to do. Don't antagonize and arrest your stalkers, employ them!

  • See (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anarchduke (1551707) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @01:04AM (#44826933)
    And they said being an obsessive stalker would never pay off!
  • Continuity checking "Fact checking"

  • How are there 26 thousand characters in King's work? He's written 56 novels, which is a lot, and a bunch of short work, but still, if half those characters are from his novels, that's 232 characters per novel. He'd need to introduce a new one every few pages, constantly, throughout the novel. Unless this counts people who are just mentioned once in passing, crowds, and whatnot, I have a hard time believing that.

    • You forgot about the short fiction. And King, well, he writes and writes and writes and writes. He's been so successful for so long that I doubt any editor has had the stones to cut his work for at least a decade. Maybe two. As much as I enjoyed his early work I stopped reading King because there were better books out there written with many fewer pages.
    • by _Ludwig (86077) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @02:54AM (#44827319) Journal

      Randall Flagg from The Stand and The Dark Tower series is suggested to be the demon(s) Legion that Jesus exorcised into a herd of pigs which subsequently ran off a cliff into the sea.

      “My name is Legion, for we are many.” - Mark 5:9

      So that could account for a whole shitload of characters in just that one guy.

    • by RogueyWon (735973)

      I don't find 26k characters hard to believe, expecially not if you take the short stories into account. Yes, it probably takes minor characters into account, but King's books do feature an insane number of those (cf. IT or the extended version of The Stand) and quite a number of them have small plot-threads of their own, or show up in multiple books (lots of minor-character cameos in the Dark Tower series).

    • I write solely in ASCII, so I'll never have more than 127 characters. :-(

      • by QilessQi (2044624)

        (I tried to have 128, but the DEL character disappears every time I hit it...)

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          Type control-V before you hit delete, and it will appear (or at least a visual representation of it).

          (This is mostly a joke.)

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:24AM (#44827437) Homepage
    ...a lamp monster! Ooo-oooh! [youtube.com]
  • Why does this lead in with "Stephen King has sold more than 300 million books of horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy" -- sure, he's been a popular author, but the relevant info would be how many books he has *written*, no? How many *words* would be interesting to learn.

    But if he wrote one book and sold 300 million copies, I doubt he'd need a continuity adviser.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:53AM (#44827751)

      Why does this lead in with "Stephen King has sold more than 300 million books of horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy" -- sure, he's been a popular author, but the relevant info would be how many books he has *written*, no? How many *words* would be interesting to learn.

      But if he wrote one book and sold 300 million copies, I doubt he'd need a continuity adviser.

      Well, the bible sold a lot of copies, and though it's just one book - its writers *definitely* needed a continuity advisor, and the lack of one is clearly evident in the bible.

      • Well, the bible sold a lot of copies, and though it's just one book - its writers *definitely* needed a continuity advisor, and the lack of one is clearly evident in the bible.

        The Bible is not one book. It's a compilation of several books.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          it is just one book, generally speaking.

          compromising of several self contradicting separate stories of stories.

          it is one book because it is bind into being a single book.

      • by operagost (62405)
        Ooh, another internet atheist. [citation needed]
  • I always thought that guys like Stephen King or Tom Clancy have their books written by a couple of ghostwriters and in the end only make a few corrections and put their approval stamp on it. Not that I have anything against that, publishing is a business... but I wonder whether I'm right or wrong?

    Any professional ghostwriters among the /. crowd?

    • by abigsmurf (919188)
      King's works are probably heavily trimmed and re-arranged by editors but normally ghostwritten books by established authors stick out like a sore thumb as differences in writing style are too obvious. It's not as easy as creating a book where the main character is a recovering alcoholic writer from Maine.

      For example the last Discworld novel really stood out to me as being ghostwritten. For one thing, it was far too respectful of long established characters (if you're a ghostwriter you may not won't to do
    • by stasike (1063564)

      Are you sure you are not confusing King with Patterson? ;-)

    • by chrismcb (983081)
      Why would you think that? King and Clancy don't "produce" their books.
  • Presumably he was on holiday when King finished the Dark Tower and crapped on a lot of the stuff from Insomnia...
  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:46AM (#44828383)

    I remember one of his books where an author got some problems with his 'Number One Fan'.

  • What do you mean fact check? It's all fiction. None of it is fact.

    Fail.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:04AM (#44828485) Journal

    This kind of thing is quite common. George R. R. Martin of "Game of Thrones" / A Game of Fire and Ice infamy, recently talked about the obsessed fan he calls and asks to fact-check what he is writing, specifically to verify details about characters, rather than continuing to get things like "eye color" wrong, and accidentally changing the gender of a horse between books... etc.

    http://teamcoco.com/celebs/george-r-r-martin [teamcoco.com]

    • by evilviper (135110)

      http://teamcoco.com/video/george-r-r-martin-writing-fast [teamcoco.com]

      Transcript:

      CONAN: Do you ever have trouble keeping it all straight as the guy who is writing this?
      GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: Occasionally, yes.
      I have a guy in Sweden that I call, not one of Alexander's nude polar bear writers, but he is actually an American fan who lives in Sweden and they run the website.
      They know the world better than I do.
      Occasionally when I'm stuck on something, I call them up and say what color eyes did this guy have?
      Was that his nephew

    • by Cytotoxic (245301)

      Not common enough. e.g. George Lucas should have hired one for Star Wars.

  • by Russ1642 (1087959) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:44AM (#44829433)

    It's so annoying to always have the protagonist be a writer. It's self-aggrandizing that an author always puts himself as one of the main characters.

    • by F.Ultra (1673484)
      Always? Actually most of his protagonists are not writers.

      Carrie: no, Salems Lot: yes, The Shining: no, Rage: no, The Stand: no, The Long Walk: no, The Dead Zone: no, Firestarter: no, Roadwork: no, Cujo: no, The Running man: no, Christine: no, Pet Sematary: no, The Talisman: no, Thinner: no, It: yes, in a way, Misery: yes, The Tommyknockers: yes, in a way, The Dark Half: yes, The Stand: no, Needful Things: no, Gerald's Game: no, Dolores Claiborne: no, Insomnia: yes, Rose Madder: no, The Green Mile: no, De
  • That particular job sounds especially hellish.
  • ...to notice the lack of an ending to The Colorado Kid before they sent it off to the printers.

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