That quote comes from a character in Joyland
, Stephen King’s
most recent book. Released earlier this month, the book is notable in part because King has decided not to release it as in print only, at least for now. That decision is actually the subject for another post, another day. No promises, though.
AT any rate, in an interview for Parade
magazine, King had this to say: “The major job is still to entertain people. Joyland
really took off for me when the old guy who owns the place says, ‘Never forget, we sell fun.’ That’s what we’re supposed to do—writers, filmmakers, all of us. That’s why they let us stay in the playground.”
‘Fun’ is such a strange word. The implication of ‘fun’ is…well, fun. Laughing. Smiling. Happy sounds and warm feelings. Tigger is fun. Clueless Pooh (or accidental genius Pooh) is fun. Fun can even be a book that is somewhat unpleasant but has that “Holy crap, I never saw that coming!” moment
. Think Gone Girl (or most anything by Gillian Flynn, come to think of it)
. As long as the twist doesn’t feel like a cheat, it’s usually pretty damn fun. But if there’s no twist? If you’re dealing with straight up tension? Is that fun?
|Fun or fright? Kind of hard to tell
And that’s the odd thing about it, isn’t it? ‘Fun’ is different for everybody. Some love roller coasters, some don’t. Some find fun in collecting stamps, some in skydiving. There’s no real right or wrong to it, it’s just the way we are. I don’t know that I’d say what I’ve written so far is ‘fun.’ Some of my short pieces, yes, but the novels, not so much. In fact, if you read one of my novels and said to me, “Hey, thanks, that was a lot of fun,” I’d probably wonder where I went wrong (or what was wrong with you, hah hah). I think that there’s fun in them, amusing lines, segments that make you chuckle, but not necessarily fun. I don’t feel like the sort of person who rights ‘good time stories.’ Though I don’t think I write ultra dark and depressing stuff, either.