Back when Stephen King was writing short stories but was yet to publish a novel, someone accused him of failing to write about women. This was an accusation he'd go on having to dodge for the rest of his career. For now, he countered the attack by writing a short story based on an idea that came to him when he was temping as a high school janitor: a girl gets her period in the locker room, and then all the other girls laugh and pelt her with feminine hygiene products. Can't get more female-focused than that, right?

Maybe, but he also figured he'd gone a little overboard there trying to find a feminine theme, and he {literally) chucked the draft in the trash. His wife dug it out and told him to expand it. His idea of a girl getting telekinesis wasn't long enough for a novel at first, but he padded it by telling it epistolary-style, retelling the same events through different documents and different points of view.  

He based the main character of his story, Carrie White, on two girls from his town when he was a kid. The first one, the kids bullied because she wore the same clothes every day. Her mother sank most of the family's spare money into sweepstakes that they never won. Finally one day, the girl saved up and managed to buy an all-new outfit. When the kids saw she was now putting in an effort into her look, they just teased her even more.

That family wasn't religious like the Whites—the religious aspect came from a different kid. This one didn't go to Stephen's school, but he visited her house one time because her mother hired him to move furniture. A giant crucifix hung on the wall of the living room, above the sofa. It was big enough that, he imagined, it could fall and kill whoever sat there ... which was a scene he did not end up including in Carrie, but you can imagine how he might have.

The religious girl eventually moved out and got her own apartment, where she died alone of an epileptic seizure. The bullied girl hanged herself in her cellar. Neither girl had telekinesis to give her a new lease on life—"fortunately or unfortunately," said King. 

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For more on Carrie's story, check out:

Stephen King Still Hates Carrie

Stephen King Was Your University's Hairy Weirdo

In Horror Movies, Everyone Drives An Unrealistically Old Car

Top image: United Artists

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