The first novels of Stephen King were the most magical. They, in effect, set the stage for his later decline.
What was it about them that worked so well?
He simplified. The word choice went superbly well with the idea-complex. He built idea-complexes of height without sacrificing meaning.
His first novel, Carrie, was fished out of the trash by a curious Tabitha. Before she became a total bitch she supported his endeavors. In the end, she would turn on him, using her mental powers to screw up the smooth ink-on-an-EEG-machine-like writing of his wondrous prose; she would screw, screw, screw, and his prose would scream “This sucks!”
He organized people. His characters were close to our hearts, even if they really were just geeks and losers. Who cares, you say? In real life, yes, who cares. But Stephen King was setting up a mainline directly to our hearts.
He built a prize. In The Stand that prize was the entire world! Marching down darkened corridors, we saw events we didn’t want to see, but this was counterbalanced by the prizes.
And finally, there was the pacing, the timing. The sentences went chop, chop, chop like a ginsu knife, clop, clop, clop like a steady Clydesdale horse. Remember to follow these precepts in your own writing and you’ll rock yourself to sleep like a baby.