Joe -- they say your Dad wrote most of the book...

Joe -- they say your Dad wrote most of the book...

Postby HorrorFan on Thu Mar 22, 2007 4:34 pm

Hi Joe,

I have come across a lot of stuff on the internet where people claim you didn't really write Heart-Shaped Box, that either your Dad ghost-wrote or at least heavily edited much of it. One woman even claims it's a conspiracy on your Dad's part to insure that at least one of his kids will continue the "Horror Dynasty" after he's gone. I don't know how much of that to believe so I thought I'd go straight to the source and just ask.

How big a part DOES your Dad play in your writing process? I assume he's like your first reader, right? Does he also do any re-writing for you?

I know it must be difficult to be working under such a huge shadow and make it in your own right. But you probably can also understand why so many people are quick to think you've had unfair advantages. And if, rather than getting unduly irate or dismissive, you could just address the controversy once and for all and lay it all to rest?
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Postby Patrick on Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:23 pm

Hi HorrorFan,

You may have already seen these, but in case you haven't, Joe discusses the family connection a bit in these two recent interviews. Just some things to check out while awaiting a direct answer to your questions.

NY Times print article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/magazine/18hill.t.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

On Point Interview - audio:
http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2007/03/20070320_b_main.asp

Welcome to the board.

- Patrick
"Open your mind to the endless possibilities of the human soul."
- Joe Hill, Heart Shaped Box

"And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"
- Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are
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My humble opinion

Postby mark_james on Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:46 pm

If I might presume to offer my own humble opinion.

Writing is an extremely difficult process. And it is exactly that, a process. Even the best first reader, like Stephen King for instance, can’t make a good novel, where there wasn’t one to begin with.

By the time the public sees a completed novel, you can bet that it’s been through enough drafts to fill the better part of a small house.

For people who’ve never done it, there’s something essential to understand about the writing process. Hollywood always portrays writers as Gods who make a world, and everybody in their world has to do what they want. But that’s wrong.

Being a writer is like being a medium. You have to learn to stand aside, and let your characters come through, and write like crazy, and hope you get it right. I say all of that to say this.

Since a writer is like a medium, the characters will always come through in the medium’s own, unique voice. Stephen King’s voice isn’t in Heart Shaped Box. He didn’t bring those characters through, Joe did.

Stephen King’s writing has an unmistakable voice that isn’t anywhere in Heart Shaped Box. I think the reason the two sound alike is that they clearly have the same influences in 19th century literature.

You could just as easily say that Joe Hill writes like HG Wells, or Charles Dickens or approaches thematic concerns like Tolstoy.

As to re-writing, well, that line made me shudder. It is a writer’s absolute nightmare to have someone else re-write his manuscript. And, I don’t think it could be done successfully without the characters somehow becoming off-key, not to mention the flow of the narrative going a little off course.

In short, Joe Hill has written a cohesive, entertaining tale, told in the best traditions of the 19th century. If I wanted to completely bore everyone on the board to sleep, I could map each of the characters in Heart Shaped Box to at least one character from Charles Dickens. A very, very small example is Georgia’s remarkable similarity to the orphan characters of Dickens who know too much and have suffered too much for their age such as Oliver Twist.

I doubt these similarities are on purpose, but, for anyone who’s read any popular literature from the 19th century, the similarities are obvious. Since Stephen King also shares that heritage, it’s inevitable that their writing will be similar.

Joe Hill will grow as a writer, as time goes by; which is to say, he will become a better and better medium. Only time will make true believers of those who doubt Joe Hill’s talents or abilities.
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Postby Janice on Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:25 am

*applause* Good answer.
*A sobering thought: What if, at this very moment, I AM living up to my full potential?

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Postby aaron2010 on Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:52 am

Joe's writing isn't anything like King's writing. I think it flows better and reads faster.
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Postby Lou_Sytsma on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:07 am

Joe's writing isn't anything like King's writing. I think it flows better and reads faster.
I hate to compare and its still early in the game for Joe compared to Stephen.

But like every other ***hole on the planet I have an opinion :twisted: so here it is - S. King's writing is like sitting around a campfire listening to someone telling a story. J. Hill's seems more like someone sharing a secret with you ie more intimate.

Different styles. Which is better, depends on your sensibilities. I find they are both easy to read.
Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.
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Postby sybil on Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:22 pm

i don't believe it for a second, horrorfan. not one fat second. he has said that his wife and king are the first to read his work, and that they like the same parts and make much the same suggestions.

And if, rather than getting unduly irate or dismissive, you could just address the controversy once and for all and lay it all to rest?


whoooooa, horror writer....that made me GGGGRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
i've met joe in person...granted, not for long, and i'm not saying i can read him like a book or anything....but whenever his dad was brought up, he always came across resigned that people were treat him as SK's son. he never seemed irritated or pissed about it. maybe a little weary, is all. i think if it were me, i'd be QUITE pissed that something i sweated over was being talked about like that. and even if he WAS irate, i wouldn't demean it as being "unduly." i would say he'd have plenty of reason.

your post was quite respectful, so i will assume you didn't mean that in a bad way.

mark james...your post was excellent. also, i want to say that i read 20th century ghosts BEFORE H-SB, and the voice in both is the same. since 2CG was published YEARS before it was known whose son he was, i'd say it's pretty solid evidence that he, and he alone, wrote both.

horrorfan...i wonder if you could provide links to those sites where this is being said? thanks.
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Postby Barry_Wood on Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:24 pm

Sybil: I like your posting; well said.

Barry
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Postby sybil on Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:41 pm

thanks barry. i really would like him to post some links. i'd like to see what kind of mentalities (spelling/grammar/etc) are saying such BS crap.

hey, if you don't mind...is that your real name? it's just been striking me as familiar and i remembered i've a collection of bari woods's books. have you read them? it's been a few years since i've read them, but i remember them as dark, with deviant characters doing heinous stuff. here, i found a site, i've got all but the latest "twins."

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/bari-wood/
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Postby Barry_Wood on Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:50 pm

Sybil:

Barry Wood is my real name, but I've not heard of Bari Wood. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

:D
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Postby LauraK on Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:22 pm

Hi Joe,

I have come across a lot of stuff on the internet where people claim you didn't really write Heart-Shaped Box, that either your Dad ghost-wrote or at least heavily edited much of it. One woman even claims it's a conspiracy on your Dad's part to insure that at least one of his kids will continue the "Horror Dynasty" after he's gone. I don't know how much of that to believe so I thought I'd go straight to the source and just ask.

How big a part DOES your Dad play in your writing process? I assume he's like your first reader, right? Does he also do any re-writing for you?

I know it must be difficult to be working under such a huge shadow and make it in your own right. But you probably can also understand why so many people are quick to think you've had unfair advantages. And if, rather than getting unduly irate or dismissive, you could just address the controversy once and for all and lay it all to rest?


Wow. :( I can't believe that you believe any of it, horrorfan. And to ask if his dad does rewrites for him? That's pretty insulting, imo.

As for him having 'unfair advantages' just read where the publishers had no idea he was King's son and that was just how he wanted it. He made it on his own merits.

I searched and could find nothing of people saying King wrote any of Joe's book. Utter rubbish. I'd like to see those links, too.

Here's an article that may have been seen by many already. I particularly liked the last line:
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ ... 00310/1079

LK
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Postby sybil on Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:48 pm

yep, i hate to be drumbo-esque, but i wanna see the proof.

links, horrorfan?
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Postby Nerak on Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:42 pm

Some people just seem to have nothing better to do then to dream up stories.

I don't feel that Joe should have to defend himself against something that ludicris (sp?)!

He could say it's not true until he was blue in the face and the people who started the rumors will probalby still be doubters.

We know the truth.

We believe in Joe.

Need we say more?
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Postby val04463 on Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:49 pm

I never heard one rumor like that or even thought about his Dad rewriting...The styles seem very different to me..and do you not read King books? The last thing he would do is try to Bullshit readers..he is a good,honest man with incredible integrity. And Joe is a man who has stories to tell, not stories to Sell...I think in a case like this it takes a dishonest person to suspect others of such things...
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Postby Mercy on Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:43 am

I agree with Mark and Sybil. If you've ever tried writing a book (and I am currently) you have no idea how horrible it would be to give it up as someone elses work. It's something you bust your butt at and even letting someone else read it makes you break out in a cold sweat. Let alone letting them take it as their own, make changes, rewrite?? (I shudder at the thought).
I'm sure it's hard as hell to try and make it in a business where your father has built a multimedia empire. Do you really think King would try to force one of his kids to follow him into that. I may not know any of them, but I doubt that that's something you would force your family to do if they didn't like it.
Writing is a hard life, Joe's is harder in that he's tring to prove himself and stand alone. Meanwhile, King already wrote under another name, Bachman. He used another writing style then, but it still had King's flavor to it. Joe's is different from either. I think people are just trying to tear him down, why Heaven only knows, but people do wierd things out there.
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