This week: Knowing the Fear and HorrorEdited by: Kate ~ Retooling
More Newsletters By This Editor
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
Words have no power to impress the mind
without the exquisite horror of their reality.
Edgar Allan Poe
Welcome to this week's Writing.Com Horror/Scary Newsletter, where we journey into the 'dark' side of writing ~ prosaic and poetic ~ to create a reality that portends the horror to come. What makes us seek horror; what makes us desire to be frightened, mortified; what makes us want to embrace the darkness within ~ and without? Is it a modern-day phenomenon, or older than graveyard dirt? Come join the exploration.
Greetings, let me ask a question ~
What scares you? What makes you cringe and shiver with a sudden need to get someplace safe, right away? Think about it for a minute, there has to be something - could be of this world, of another world, of your own mind (or loss thereof). Now believe it's real, know it's real for you. Then, write it out in all its visceral detail - show my eyes what you see, make me hear, smell, taste, feel everything you do at the moment of your greatest fear.
Make me know it as you do, that I too must be as scared or as horrified as you. Take those vivid details and give me the why - or the why not - and we've got the makings of a horror story or poem that will weave a link between your reality and mine for a time, a footprint in my personal space.
It was a dark, starless night, yet the wind made no sound as branches wept leaves and twigs, bending limbs in unison to encircle me. An arboreal wave hiding in autumn's moldering musk, or perhaps the scent of fermenting rot was the signal, the welcome mat, for Axe. [now - Axe can be a chainsaw wielding eviscerator of flesh-bearing mammals (humans included), an android, a vampire, a dragon, a ghost, a stalker, a serial killer, a feral cat, ...
Did you hear the wind - or were other senses more engaged, making the experience more visceral? Whatever you imagine now, get past my learned skepticism to make me see it; make me know it as though I were there. Ask your character why the situation terrifies him/her. Then empathize with that character's fear and share the sensation without a barrage of familiar images. Sometimes allusion is even more effective, allowing readers to form the image through their senses.
Suspending disbelief. I think, is key to writing horror. For a brief time, we give our readers an 'otherworld' whether today, in the past, future, alternate reality. Make your readers need to know what will happen, Make them know the story, but without relating a litany of 'facts,' but rather weaving them into the story or poem by taste, touch, smell, sound.
Make it believable, with enough detail to convince your readers it can be real. Give your readers direct reference with relevant physical details in the premise. For example, you wouldn't have oak trees bending sideways in a desert of 100-degree sand (but how about cacti shedding their outer spikes as the inner growth thrummed, its tempo increasing in sync with the trekker's own heartbeat). Or does your character touch it, call for help, and why - related to a childhood memory or driven by present-day philosophy.
Or try the indirect approach - alluding to the nature or cause of the aberrant action or image. Your character is different, but not so you can see, just something you sense, an ability that's not obvious even when it happens in front of everyone; just something 'different'.
I hope the above exploration makes sense ~ horror writing creates an 'otherworld' your reader can step into with either direct or indirect imagery that provokes your reader - making him/her want to read on to discover how he/she can avoid the horror (along with your character(s).
Kate ~ Retooling
Scary Stuff as perceived and created by members of our Community ~ engage the experience then weave one of your own
Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!
Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!
Don't forget to support our sponsor!
Until we next meet, may the taste of fear be mild ~ else have an antacid ready
Kate ~ Retooling
To stop receiving this newsletter, click here for your newsletter subscription list. Simply uncheck the box next to any newsletter(s) you wish to cancel and then click to "Submit Changes". You can edit your subscriptions at any time.