Creating Suspense Across Versions: Genetic Narratology and Stephen King’s IT

How does a novelist create and enhance suspense? How is suspense fine-tuned across multiple drafts and proofs, and what is the role of editors and proofreaders in such an undertaking? In this FWO-funded research project, the University of Antwerp has the unique opportunity to look over the shoulder of one of the masters of suspense, Stephen King, and to study the material evidence of the writing and publication process of his 1986 masterpiece IT.

The research team consists of Luc Herman, Dirk Van Hulle, and Vincent Neyt. Vincent Neyt is writing a PhD in which he zooms in on the changes made across versions to the text’s narrative pace, characterization and focalization so as to maximize suspense. Both the author’s solitary work on his drafts and the subsequent collaboration with editors will be examined.

As part of the project, Vincent will post essays and videos on this blog about Stephen King as a “writer at work“.