Given how important “Carrie” became to the world of horror, why did King — often called the master of the genre — throw it away? It turns out there were practical reasons. For one, he was mostly writing short stories and novellas for men’s magazines at the time, and “Carrie” was merely too long for the medium he was accustomed to. His story, “Sometimes They Come Back” was published in Cavalier magazine in 1974, and it would eventually become part of the “Night Shift” anthology book in 1978. Short stories were where King wanted to reside. Additionally, King said simply didn’t “vibe” with the story, to use modern parlance. King wrote:
“For me writing has always been best when it’s intimate, as sexy as skin on skin. With ‘Carrie’ I felt as if I were wearing a rubber wet-suit I couldn’t pull off. […] [M]ost important of all was the realization that the story wouldn’t pay off unless it was pretty long, probably even longer than ‘Sometimes They Come Back,’ which had been at the absolute outer limit of what the men’s magazine market could accept in terms of word-count.”
Indeed, King knew that his publishers were better known for their nude cheesecake photos more than their literary content, so he was at a begrudging peace with the way his stories had to be shaved down. There needed to be enough room on the page for nudity as well as words. A whole novella like “Carrie” wouldn’t fly.