Stephen King’s 40 Best Insightful and Horrific Quotes

When it comes to literature, Stephen King’s influence is nearly impossible to overstate. He has dominated the genre writing landscape for the past five decades.

He is the only author in history to have had more than 30 best-sellers reach the top spot at the same time.

He now has more than 70 published books, many of which have become cultural icons, and his achievements now extend so far beyond a single genre that it’s impossible to limit him to one. 

Who is Stephen King?

Stephen King is well-known to readers of horror, thriller, suspense, and crime novels, as well as to fans of the supernatural.

They are filled with gripping stories, frank truths, and sometimes horrific situations that defy the boundaries of reality in Stephen King’s books.

Because of King’s vivid descriptions and captivating prose, his words will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them. 

In 1970, King earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maine. Along with his short-story writing, he also taught and worked as a janitor to help support himself.

Carrie his first published novel, a story about a teenage girl with telekinetic powers, was published in 1974 and quickly became a best-seller and a cultural phenomenon.

A cultural resurgence of quality King horror adaptations has recently taken place. We wouldn’t have the single defining image of high school horror if it weren’t for Carrie: a vat of pig’s blood being poured on an unsuspecting prom queen. 

We wouldn’t have Andy Dufresne standing in the rain after escaping from Shawshank Prison without King, nor would we have Pennywise the Clown, Cujo the slavering St. Bernard, or Kathy Bates’ pitch-perfect stalker fan in Misery.

Without King, we wouldn’t have any of these.

40 Stephen Quotes: About Life, Horror, Books, and Writing

40 Stephen Quotes: About Life, Horror, Books, and Writing

When it comes to the horror genre, Stephen King has covered it all, from vampires to depraved killing machines to an evil car.

Later works by King departed from the horror genre and provided sharply detailed psychological portraits of his protagonists, many of whom were women and faced challenging situations. 

A talented storyteller with an uncanny ability to immerse and terrify the reader is what makes Stephen King’s work so effective, although his work has been criticized for its lack of discipline and etiquette.

Throughout his career, he dealt with issues such as the dangers posed by politics and technology to an individual’s well-being.

Here are some of Stephen King’s most memorable quotes, ranging from his most memorable book quotes to his thoughts on life, horror, and writing.

  1. The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool. 
  1. Life is like a wheel. Sooner or later, it always comes around to where you started again. 
  1. Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. 
  1. Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty. 
  1. The devil’s voice is sweet to hear. 
  1. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.
  1. Fiction is the truth inside the lie. 
  1. Life is like a wheel. Sooner or later, it always comes around to where you started again.
  1. We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones. 
  1.  You have to stay faithful to what you’re working on. 
  1. God is cruel. Sometimes he makes you live. 
  1. And in real life endings aren’t always neat, whether they’re happy endings, or whether they’re sad endings. 
  1. Each life makes its own imitation of immortality.
  1. Books are uniquely portable magic.
  1. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
  1. Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.
  1. Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.
  1. The road to hell is paved with adverbs.
  1. The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.
  1. Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.
  1. Nobody likes a clown at midnight.
  1. Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.
  1. If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
  1. You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.
  1. I think that we’re all mentally ill. Those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better – and maybe not all that much better after all.
  1. Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit but taste completely different.
  1. If you liked being a teenager, there’s something really wrong with you. 
  1. Alone. Yes, that’s the keyword, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.”
  1. A short story is a different thing altogether – a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.
  1. There had never been a shortage of fools in the world
  1. Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you’ll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the binding.
  1. The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.
  1. Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman’s got to hold on to.
  1. That wasn’t an act of God. That was an act of pure human fuckery.
  1. Hearts can break. Yes, hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.
  1. Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
  1. Humor is almost always angered with its makeup on.
  1. Description begins in the writer’s imagination but should finish in the reader’s.
  1. A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.
  1. Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

Quotes from Stephen King’s Most Popular Work

Quotes from Stephen King's Most Popular Work

For the past five decades, Stephen King’s books have topped international bestseller lists, propelled him to Hollywood stardom, and made him a household name.

The master of terror probably has a film or television adaptation that you’ve seen, even if you’ve never read any of his works.

He’s a master storyteller, but he’s also a master at creating characters that we can care about. His stories have a realistic tone and are written in a descriptive style, often with a slowly creeping dread. 

These are some of the best quotes and wisdom from his books that we’ve collected as a tribute to Stephen King.


  1. Maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends – maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that’s what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.
  1. We lie best when we lie to ourselves.
  1. Eddie discovered one of his childhood’s great truths. Grownups are the real monsters, he thought.
  1. Come on back and we’ll see if you remember the simplest thing of all – how it is to be children, secure in belief and thus afraid of the dark.
  1. Everything’s a lot tougher when it’s for real. That’s when you choke. When it’s for real.
  1. Politics always change. Stories never do.
  1. You pay for what you get, you own what you pay for… and sooner or later whatever you own comes back home to you.
  1. Drive away and try to keep smiling. Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can find and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand.

The Green Mile

  1. Like some dogs: kick them once and they never trust you again, no matter how nice you are to them.
  1. Sometimes there is absolutely no difference at all between salvation and damnation.
  1. The world turns, that’s all. You can hold on and turn with it, or stand up to protest and be spun right off.
  1. We have once again succeeded in destroying what we could not create.
  1. Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not.
  1. We each owe a death, there are no exceptions, I know that, but sometimes, oh God, the Green Mile is so long.
  1. It was sweet and lovely, that smile, perhaps the more so because it wasn’t complicated by much in the way of thought.

The Shining

  1. Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.
  1. Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.
  1. Wendy? Darling? Light of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.
  1. We sometimes need to create unreal monsters and bogies to stand in for all the things we fear in our real lives.
  1. The tears that heal are also the tears that scald and scourge.
  1. The sleep of reason breeds monsters.
  1. She had never dreamed there could be so much pain in a life when there was nothing physically wrong.

Pet Cemetary

  1. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.
  1. Don’t go beyond, no matter how much you feel you need to, Doctor. The barrier was not made to be broken. Remember this: there is more power here than you know. It is old and always restless. Remember.
  1. Cats were the gangsters of the animal world, living outside the law and often dying there. There were a great many of them who never grew old by the fire.
  1. Maybe she’ll learn something about what death really is, which is where the pain stops and the good memories begin. Not the end of life but the end of pain.
  1. Death is a mystery, and burial is a secret.
  1. Life sucks, then you die.
  1. That lesson suggests that in the end, we can only find peace in our human lives by accepting the will of the universe.


  1. The rain. Sometimes it gives me the blues. When you first came here, I only loved the writer part of Paul Sheldon. Now I know I love the rest of him, too. I know you don’t love me, don’t say you do. You’re beautiful, brilliant, a famous man of the world and I’m… not a movie star type. You’ll never know the fear of losing someone like you if you’re someone like me.
  1. No matter how much he strained, it was a good nine inches above the tips of his fingers but he reached anyway, unable to believe Fate or God or Whoever could be so cruel.
  1. It’s always wise to check your maybes.
  1. Book’s almost finished, your legs are getting better. Soon you’ll be wanting to leave.
  1. God came to me last night and told me your purpose for being here. I am going to help you write a new book.
  1. There may be fairies, there may be elves, but God helps those who help themselves.


  1. High school isn’t a very important place. When you’re going you think it’s a big deal, but when it’s over nobody really thinks it was great unless they’re beered up.
  1. The low bird is not picked tenderly out of the dust by its fellows; rather, it is dispatched quickly and without mercy.
  1. True sorrow is as rare as true love.
  1. It’s what you say when you spill a cup of coffee or throw a gutter ball when you’re bowling with the girls in the league. True sorrow is as rare as true love.
  1. But hardly anybody ever finds out that their actions really, actually, hurt other people! People don’t get better, they just get smarter. When you get smarter you don’t stop pulling the wings off flies, you just think of better reasons for doing it.
  1. And suddenly it didn’t seem to matter anymore, nothing would matter if she could turn over, turn over and see the stars, turn over and look once and die.
  1. Mind over matter in any form is a terrific drain on the body’s resources.
  1. Telekinesis is the ability to move objects or to cause changes in objects by force of the mind.
  1. In the sudden, brief silence, she heard something within her turn over. Perhaps only her soul.
  1. People don’t get better, they just get smarter. When you get smarter you don’t stop pulling the wings off flies, you just think of better reasons for doing it
Joe Davies