Why Did It Take Stephen King 45 Years to Finish His Latest Story?

Why Did It Take Stephen King 45 Years to Finish His Latest Story?
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Stephen King began writing The Answer Man when he was 30 but only finished it at 75. What caused the celebrated author to stall this story for so long?

When we think about an author who takes their sweet time to finish a book, we generally picture George Martin and his notorious The Winds of Winter. Stephen King, on the other hand, is known as an extremely prolific writer who pumps out stories like there’s no tomorrow — but apparently, it took him almost half a century to finish one of his novellas, The Answer Man.

Even Martin’s only been at it for 13 years, and he’s writing an enormous multi-POV novel. What made the King of Horror postpone his short story for so much longer?

King Explains Why The Answer Man Got… Delayed

Delay is definitely a tame word for a 45-years-long period, but let’s roll with it. After all, technically, that’s exactly what it was: as funny as that would have been, Stephen King did not take half a century of actual active writing to finish a 50-page novella. There was a sound reason for why The Answer Man only released so much later.

“Well, I lost it. What happens with me is I will write stories and they don’t always get done. And the ones that don’t get done go in a drawer and I forget all about them. And about five years ago, these people started to collect all the stuff that was finished and all this stuff that was unfinished and put it in an archive,” the author explained to NPR.

The Answer Man Is Out Thanks to King’s Nephew

Why Did It Take Stephen King 45 Years to Finish His Latest Story? - image 1

Despite his people rummaging through “desk drawers, wastebaskets underneath the desk, every place” where the King of Horror had previously written, it wasn’t them who discovered The Answer Man. Stephen King’s most delayed story ever finally saw the light of the day because his nephew stumbled upon it almost by accident.

“I’m not exactly a very organized person. My nephew John Leonard found this particular story, which was written in the UN Plaza Hotel back in the ‘70s, I think. And he said, ‘You know, this is pretty good. You really ought to finish this.’ And I read it and I said, ‘You know, I think I know how to finish it now,’” King shared.

In other words, it was borderline a marvel that The Answer Man was rediscovered almost half a century later and then actually finished and published. Props to John Leonard and Stephen King himself, what can we say! You can read The Answer Man in King’s new short story collection You Like It Darker which is out now.

Source: NPR