- After the Flood (1957)
- After the Carnival (1984)
- Six Phone Calls (1985)
- Derry: The First Interlude
- Ben Hanscom Takes a Fall
- Bill Denbrough Beats the Devil (I)
- One of the Missing: A Tale From the Summer of '58
- The Dam In the Barrens
- Georgie's Room and the House On Neibolt Street
- Cleaning Up
- Derry: The Second Interlude
- The Reunion
- Walking Tours
- Three Uninvited Guests
- Derry: The Third Interlude
- The Apocalyptic Rockfight
- The Album
- The Smoke-Hole
- Eddie's Bad Break
- Another One of the Missing: The Death of Patrick Hockstetter
- The Bullseye
- Derry: The Fourth Interlude
- In the Watches of the Night
- The Circle Closes
- Under the City
- The Ritual of Chud
- Derry: The Final Interlude
- Epilogue: Bill Denbrough Beats the Devil (II)
Six Phone Calls (1985)
And now, after two prologues, the Story Proper begins:
Stan Uris is an accountant living in Atlanta who was picked on as a child for being Jewish and for his stiff, rigid demeanor. Now as an adult, he receives a mysterious call one night from Mike Hanlon and rather than go back to Derry, commits suicide in the bathtub. This section is rich in details and character development. It is interesting that it is told entirely from Stan's wife Patty's point of view; we never get inside Stan's head and he remains the least developed of the seven. Also, this section features another mention of the Turtle.
Richie Tozier is a radio DJ and comedian living in Los Angeles, picked on in school for being nerdy and for his annoying "motor mouth" personality. He gets the same call and, despite some strife, begins the trip out to Derry. We, as the reader, pick up on the pattern, and finally understand that these are our main characters who we can latch onto.
Ben Hanscom is an architect living in Nebraska (the same town Mother Abigail from The Stand lived in) who was given a hard time for being overweight as a child. After getting the same call, he has a chat with Ricky Lee, his bartender, and performs quite a trick in consuming a large quantity of whiskey. I remember reading this scene at age fifteen and being VERY impressed. I still find myself wondering if that trick really works. I also have always been sad that Ricky Lee never comes back in the novel.
Eddie Kaspbrak is a limo driver living in New York. He was alienated as a child because of his asthma and because of his nervous/insecure personality, caused by his overprotective mother. And we learn that his wife, Myra, is essentially a copy of his mother. Eddie gets the call and starts the trip.
Beverly Marsh is a fashion designer living in Chicago. She was friendless as a child, ostensibly because of being poor and tomboy-ish, but in truth, her good looks played a role in it as well. Her husband, Tom Rogan, is a cruel drunk, and King does a good job getting into the head of an abusive husband and showing his psychology. After taking a beating, Beverly leaves Tom for good, a scene that manages to feel climatic in spite of it being at the beginning of the novel. Beverly is left on the street with nowhere to go.
Bill Denbrough is a novelist and screenwriter living in the UK with his actress wife, Audra Phillips. He was picked on because of his stutter, which he eventually got over. He gets the call and is scared so badly that the stutter starts to relapse. After chatting with Audra, he also heads out. Personally, I find this last section to be a little much of a fairy-tale: Bill has lived what is literally every writer's dream. We learn that in college he was an outcast in his writing class for wanting to write popular adventure/suspense stories while everyone else wrote pretentious/artsy stories. Despite being humiliated in class and rejected by his teacher, Bill gets published and becomes a superstar writer fresh out of school, a huge sensation in Hollywood, and is even married to a moviestar. Yeah, it's pretty exaggerated, and may represent King's own boyhood fantasy.
All in all, this is a fantastic chapter. "The Shadow Before" section of the novel consists of three chapters: the two prologues and this one, which fantastically lays out what's going on, who these people are, and why we should care about them. Our heroes have all been giving the call to action, and now we end the section wanting to know what will happen next.