NEWS 2000

Here is the transcript from the chat:

OnlineHost: Legendary author STEPHEN KING will be here to chat LIVE at 8:00 PM ET. Welcome to the STEPHEN KING CONFERENCE, beginning at 8 eastern time. We'd love to start early, but the voices won't allow it until everyone's here. Some of you are new, and will want to put your questions into the queue. Remember, you don't have to wait to submit your questions! To send your question to the guest, click on the "Ask the Guest a Question" button, then use the "Send Question" option. Tonight's conference is the first of TWO special Stephen King conferences. In this conference, his new e-book THE PLANT is our center of attention. Remember, you can download it right off his website www.stephenking.com! And on October 10th, we'll be here again with Steve to talk about his new non-fiction book ON WRITING. We know you're all getting impatient, but remember--horror is heightened by tension!
OnlineHost: SKing Live has entered the room.
OnlineHost: we'll be starting in just a few moments. In the meantime, here's something to talk about---what was your FIRST Stephen King book? Talk amongst yourselves!
OnlineHost: Copyright 2000 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The auditorium consists of the audience (where you are) and the stage, where the MC/host and guests appear. AOL Live chat hosts will be in the rows to make sure that everyone has a great time.
AOLiveMC15: Welcome back to AOL Live, Stephen King!
SKing Live: It's nice to be here.
AOLiveMC15: We're extremely excited to have you with us tonight.
SKing Live: I'm excited, too. :-)
AOLiveMC15: Our first audience question deals with "The Plant"...
Question: Is "the plant" going to come out as a regular book in the stores or is it just through the internet?
SKing Live: If "The Plant gets finished, it'll eventually come out as a book, yes. The question is whether or not it'll get finished! It sort of depends on how honest the readers are. I had said I'd continue if the pay-through of a buck an episode hung around 75%. Right now it's down to 69.5%. That could be a problem.
SKing Live: I'm ready.
Question: Can we actually download Part I of The Plant AFTER Part III goes up?
SKing Live: You can continue to download Part 1 until the end of September. We were going to drop it off the website next week, but have decided to leave it up. A lot of people just seem to be getting comfortable with the technical end of it, and I'm determined to give this a fair shot.
SKing Live: Next question?
Question: Do you think of a story before you start to write or do you just start writing?
SKing Live: Usually I have an idea, and then just chase it!
SKing Live: Next?
Question: Will there be a next installment of the Dark Tower Series?
SKing Live: Yes--I'm hoping to start work on the next Dark Tower book in January or February. The tentative title is "The Crawling Shadow." It'll probably change, as that's sort of corny.
Question: What do you like best and worst about the 'new' mediums for your work? (ebooks, web buying, etc.)
SKing Live: The whole business of "The Plant" has been an interesting introduction to the e-book world. I really hope it works. And you know, I think most people ARE being honest. It's just that a lot of people have downloaded the parts 2 or even 3 times to get it right. It's very weird. But I guess weird is my business.
Question: What unique challenges does writing in a serialized format (eg The Plant, The Green Mile) present you? Constant Reader, Mark Fulton
SKing Live: Hey, Mark--mostly, working the serial format is scary. You're out there every month, and it's like working without a net. Certainly without an editor or copyeditor! And with The Plant, I'm really struggling to stay current. Parts 1, 2, and 3 were written a long time ago, but the new stuff is pretty cool. One hint about things to come: there's a guy writing a novel concerning a TV show where contestants are stranded on a desert island.
Question: How can I get your first online book? I missed it when it was available, & now regret it!
SKing Live: You can still get RIDING THE BULLET from...um... I think it's www.simonsays.com. And the Plant you get from my website, www.stephenking.com. But remember, you have to pay the buck or Pennywise will get you.
AOLiveMC15: This question is from David, a longtime fan: How long will "Dreamcatcher" be and what will it be about?
SKing Live: "Dreamcatcher" is a novel that's going to be published next March. It's 907 pages long in manuscript, so it's pretty hefty. I just finished it today. It's got a little bit of that STAND vibe.
Question: Who are some authors who YOU like to read?
SKing Live: Oh, man. I read everyone. There's a new book by Randall Boyll called KATASTROPHE that's just f-----g wonderful. But I'll read just about anyone. I'm working my way through Patrick O'Brians Aubrey/Maturin novels this fall. They're great.
Question: Mr. King. You are so prolific, you amaze me. Has there ever been a point where you felt like putting your pen down for awhile and doing something else?
Sking Live: Sometimes I put down my pen and pick up my guitar. Now THAT'S scary. :--)
Question: What was your inspiration for "It"? I just loved that movie!
SKing Live: When I got the idea for IT, I was walking home from a car breakdown. I had to cross a little bridge, and I got thinking about that old story, "3 Billy Goat's Gruff." The one where there's a monster under the bridge? That was really the seed. That, and thinking of all the ways we change between our childhood and our adulthood.
Question: How can I get an autographed book? Is it even possible?
SKing Live: Not really. So many people ask now...they're piled up to the sky at the office. Sometimes I sign books for charities and stuff, but mostly it's a choice: I can write em, or I can sign 'em. Mostly I write 'em. Of course you could go to a book dealer. God knows I've signed enough in my time!
Question: Mr. King - I was left in complete suspense when I finished the first story in Hearts In Atlantis, "Low Men In Yellow Coats". Will you continue that story in the future?
SKing Live: That particular story is now filming as a movie--"Hearts in Atlantis," starring Anthony "fava beans" Hopkins as Bobby's friend, Ted. Of course the story itself is a small piece of the Dark Tower cycle, and if those books get done, we will encounter Ted Brautigan again. He's a breaker, after all, little as he wants to be.
AOLiveMC15: Mr. King, so many of your fans have asked about how you've been doing since the accident:
Question: Did your accident change the way you relate to life and your work?
SKing Live: My accident changed everything. Not all those changes are bad. But it's a little easier to see the small shit in life for what it is after you've almost gotten the gate.
Question: What was the hardest book in terms of emotions for you to write?
SKing Live: Pet Sematary.
Question: Will you be making any public or television appearances to coincide with the release of "On Writing" next month?
SKing Live: I think I'm supposed to do Good Morning America.
Question: I highly enjoyed the remake of The Shining, especially how it stuck to the story line as it was originally written. Do you ever regret allowing your stories to be made into movies and, if so, which ones?
SKing Live: Well, I think several of the movies have been real stinkers, but I never regretted giving anyone the chance. Sometimes the smaller ones, like "Cujo," surprise you. I like a lot of the Castle Rock films, like STAND BY MEN, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, and THE GREEN MILE, because they see past the horror to the human beings. I'm a lot more interested in the people than the monsters.
Question: Do you ever use story ideas suggested by fans?
SKing Live: Never have. Too easy to get sued for plagiarism! Besides, I've got more ideas of my own than I'll probably ever get to.
Question: How do you decide in what manner you're going to release a book, i.e. "The Plant?"
SKing Live: "The Plant" was almost a goof. I had it, and no one had ever seen it, and I thought that was a shame. Also, it was a way of forcing myself back to work on it. We're go for Part 3, at least, but then I'm really going to have to get serious about this thing. If people don't pay, I'll have to pull the plug. But right now, it's so hard to separate the shoplifters from people that are just having trouble making the technology work.
Question: If literature offers a space in which to explore and challenge the human psyche, what influence or expressive outlet do you see horror as a genre serves readers; is horror a positive venue to, say, overcome one's fears or can it generate violence?
SKing Live: I think violent art can generate violence in violent people. For the rest of us, it's a way of exploring the dark sides of our natures (there are many, I think). We have so few outlets of this sort! I think that some violent, scary entertainments are vital. I hate the current uproar over violent films and video games, because they make such a convenient whipping boy. If you're yelling about games like WWF Smackdown, you don't have to discuss the society the gives birth to those interests.
Question: Do you find as much satisfaction writing for the online crowd as you do for the mainstream book fans?
SKing Live: This is hard!
Question: Mr. King.. besides writing books, do you write poetry? And do you have any advice about how I can learn how to become a better poetry writer?
SKing Live: I have written a lot of poetry, but I show very little of it. Most of it just doesn't work. I even taught it for a semester, about a million years ago! I think some of the basic things apply: honesty and vivid language being only two of them.
Question: Will you be doing a sequel to "Eyes of the Dragon?"
SKing Live: "Eyes" is also a part of the Dark Tower stories. I don't think there'll ever be a sequel per se, but a talented bunch of animated filmmakers from France are making a feature out of that one.
AOLiveMC15: We have time for one final question for Stephen King tonight:
Question: What can you tell us about "On Writing" and what went into writing it?
SKing Live: I wanted to write a book about how to write, because so many people have asked me. It's a short book, but it was very hard to write. It's amazing how much stuff you take for granted after you've been doing this for awhile! In any case, I think it's funny. The story of my accident--maybe NOT so funny--is in there, too.
AOLiveMC15: Well Mr. King, we very much look forward to your returning to AOL Live on October 10th to talk about that book.
AOLiveMC15: Thanks so much for joining us tonight -- it's been great!
SKing Live: Thanks very much. And when it comes to The Plant, I hope everyone out there will help us make it a success.
AOLiveMC15 Thanks again, Mr. King. :)
SKing Live: Goodnight!
AOLiveMC15: And thanks to our audience for all their great questions.
AOLiveMC15: Good night!
OnlineHost: SKing Live has left the room.

Thanks to Bev Vincent for sending the transcript!