|Horror/Scary: October 06, 2021 Issue [#11015]|
This week: Finding the Muse Within Self Edited by: Warped Sanity
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Using our own and other people's fears as a muse in horror writing is a common theme. There are plenty of fears to feed off of, but have you ever considered utilizing your own life experience in horror? Whether we consider our lives happy or not, we've all faced our own challenges in life. Maybe you were wronged by a business partner or had a difficult childhood. On our unique journey in life, we gain knowledge and experience, much of which would be useful with adding realistic details in stories.
Recently I read an article about Anne Rice. She claimed many of her stories are based on her own sorrows, such as the loss of her parents and her break from the Catholic church. It got me contemplating on my own muse, which whether accidently or intentional, has some basis on people I've met, observances, or my own experiences. Of course, the outcome is exaggerated, because that is what horror is. Horror takes the mundane, making it more grandiose and grotesque.
Utilizing those who have wronged us in horror
Those who have wronged us make for great protagonists. Besides, slaying our demons metaphorically, can be healing. In such stories, the anti-hero is a good rival. This sort of character blurs the lines between antagonist and protagonist. We hate to love this hero because they are doing something, by legal and moral standards, wrong. Yet, a part of ourselves understands the reasoning and cheers the anti-hero for their actions.
Though not all of these type of stories have to include another character enacting revenge. Our demons can reach demise by their own undoing or by supernatural means. Maybe the business partner who slated you hoards money out of greed and ends up being some lonely recluse, who is known to hide money in his home instead of the bank. Isolation and fear has a way of distorting reality.
Of course, utilizing our own experiences does not have to include revenge at all. Using those who have harmed us can force us to look through the others lenses. The world is not black and white. Most people are not all bad, hence characters in stories who are not one sided become more believable.
Utilizing our unique experiences in life
Whether you have lived a sheltered life or a challenging one, there is plenty to utilize for story telling. There have been people who have crossed our path who would make for interesting characters. There have been lessons learned, even if it was from observing another's bad choices and consequences. Those poor choices could be transported to your plot and the consequences twisted to fit a horror plot.
Even in day to day interactions, if we pay attention to the world around us, there is a story to be written. Working with dementia patients I get plenty of fuel for stories. Not too long ago I mentioned in a WdC zoom meetup about a resident at my previous employment. Every once in a while she'd apologize to me for killing my mother. Actually, my mother is very much alive. Apparently I look like someone in the elderly woman's distant past.
I've also had some residents say some interesting things when they are in the process of the fade. When a patient in long care is declining, I call it the fade. Some begin seeing people others can't. Some tell their secret regrets as a sort of last confession to their aid. Then there has been some odd things, like people telling me the exact day they will be dead and it actually happening, even if they seem mobile and not in the last days of decline.
I also have experience with the visuals of someone who is in the process of dying and what a dead body looks like and all the smells associated with it. This knowledge would be helpful in horror writing.
Although your life experience might be very different than mine, you are sure to have a unique prospective due to your own experiences in life. Those experiences, whatever they are, can be helpful when attempting to make details realistic in your writing.
There is plenty in our own life to draw from when writing horror fiction. Whether it be betrayal, first hand experience, or seemingly mundane observation, there is a story to be written.
Until next time, Happy writing!
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