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Horror/Scary: December 20, 2011 Issue [#4781]

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 This week: Horror = Hard-wired or Learned?
  Edited by: Kate - Writing & Reading
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Words have no power to impress the mind
without the exquisite horror of their reality.

Edgar Allan Poe

*Star*Horror = is it a learned reaction? or
Is it hard-wired
into our psyches as sentient beings?*Halfstar*

         Welcome to this week's WDC Horror/Scary Newsletter, where we journey into the 'dark' side of writing prosaic and poetic.

Word from our sponsor

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Letter from the editor

Greetings, I ask myself ~ and each of you ~

         Is horror learned, or hard-wired into our psyches? Take out your box of crayons or paints and a sheet of white paper, dab some yellow on the paper, now add red on top. You get orange, right? Now add some green, blue, purple, one color atop the other, and keep going until you've used all but one of the colors in the box. The one color I don't want you to use here is black, because when you're done that's what you will have created on your paper.

         All colors of the rainbow are contained in black, as all colors of the rainbow are reflected by white. Hold an opaque crystal to the sun and you will find rainbows refracted from its facets, white light reflects all colors. Think about it - you're warmer on a summer day wearing a black t-shirt than wearing a white t-shirt - the black t-shirt is drawing in the warm light and its colors, while the white shirt reflects the light and colors.

         I hold that humans learn to fear the dark, as we unlearn the use of our senses and become two-dimensional reflections of the sensory beings we are at birth, relying on mere sight and sound to frame our daily lives. A baby seeks out and reacts to sights, sounds, scent, touch, and experiments freely with all the senses without assigning merit or value to their manifestations; a child, with 'proper' training, learns to focus, disregarding the sensory input of his/her surroundings.

         Now we writers have an arrested development, we've resisted the indoctrination and still perceive our surroundings, our vision, through all or most of our senses. We can share this vision with our readers while we make them run for cover or at least double check that all doors and windows are locked (before they realize the horror lies within).

         Consider the poor little squirrel, its winter pelt mashed into the tar by all-weather tire treads. You pass by and look, shaking your head in pity, then look back as you catch sight of a fingernail in the midsection of the pulverized rodent, then a step closer you note a human finger, mashed but intact. You pinch your nose shut and bend to see better the glint of gold in the coin it's still holding. You've engaged your reader's sense of smell, as well as sight, and what if you decide to take a tissue and wipe the blood to check the image on the coin, or perhaps to remove it; then you're also using touch and the smushing sound to retrieve the coin from the mashed finger. The more senses you engage, the more likely that you will incite horror. Now, the finger could have been a pre-dawn 'snack,' or not; there may be upon further inspection a body nearby, or not; a car with a thick red fluid dripping out of the trunk, or perhaps a bit of flesh from the body stuffed inside, or not. There could be any number of scenarios for your character to perceive and convey with vivid descriptive prose or verse to your reader, drawing them into your vision.

         So to instill horror in our readers, to give them a good visceral scare while keeping them reading to uncover the source of the horror and perhaps come out ahead of it -

         *Bullet*Engage all your readers' senses, make them empathize, or at least sympathize, with at least one of the characters, whether the main character or an unwitting victim of circumstance.

         *Bullet*Make them recall the sensory delights of childhood as a seemingly normal occurrence or object becomes more (or less) that what the socially indoctrinated adult or young adult expects.

         *Bullet*Give your character (and reader) a reason to be horrified by the common image, be it the apparently normal surroundings ominous; or your character's recall of a related incident (good place for a bit of backstory, just don't dwell on it - allude to it so that your reader can image some of the blanks from his/her life experience).

         *Bullet*Remove the socialized shell from your reader's eye (and mind) with vivid tactile images that engage all (or most) of the senses - sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, imagination.

         *Bullet*Once your reader is engaged, you can then take liberty with the object of your reader's attention and immerse your reader in an otherworld of horror. The finger could have been there before the squirrel, merely lopped of while carelessly cleaning out a lawnmower, or it could be a tidbit taken from a shallow grave, or a residue of acid rain, or a sacrificial token, or whatever horror your muse incites.

         *Bullet*Ask the question ~ "What If" ~ the finger was yours? the coin was valuable? the coin smelled like chocolate? the squirrel had three eyes? ~ just go on and you will find something to evoke horror in your character's mind, and by extension, your readers

         Horror is not 'black' or 'white,' but but all the colors of the rainbow seen and imagined; not the absence of, rather the manipulationof all the senses, and your readers look forward (with delightful trepidation) to layering color upon color and sense upon sense to first enter, then escape from the 'otherworld' you've created.

Engage the horror, in all its colors, and
Write On!

Editor's Picks

Now grab a safe corner and check out the following - where the ordinary and unusual are neither what they seem.

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#1831234 by Not Available.

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#1833012 by Not Available.

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#1833638 by Not Available.

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#1833638 by Not Available.

 The Last Tea Party  (13+)
A brother agrees to have a tea party with his sister leading to tragic results.
#1831685 by Angela

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#1831708 by Not Available.

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#1832602 by Not Available.

Now, how about you, see if your muse creative inspires horror learned or hard-wired*Wink*

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#1830119 by Not Available.

Write On*Xmastree*
Kate - Writing & Reading

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Ask & Answer

         Thank you for unlocking your door (or window) to allow me access to your virtual home for a brief time. Before I overstay the welcome, allow me to share a few comments from members of our Community who read and write horror poetic and prosaic - do stop by their ports for a visit and some good reading

         I wish for you all a holiday season of light, and joy and merriment, and a new year of hope, success, and growth in all your endeavors.

          As we gather with family, dear friends, stalwart muse, don't be scare to wish each a ~

center}*Xmastree*Merry Christmas
Happy Chanukah
Yuletide Blessings
Joyous Kwanzaa
Happy New Year*Star*

Write On!
Kate - Writing & Reading

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