Writing & Publishing

Oh The Horror

I have a deep and profound love of horror.

I have my whole life. As a kid (and still to this day quite frankly) my favorite part of Willy Wonka was when they take the boat into the tunnel and Gene Wilder is reciting that eerie poem with a look of insanity in his eye while behind him images of chicken’s getting their heads chopped off are being projected and everyone is screaming. If you had asked me when I was six what my favorite movie was, I would have told you Jaws. While other kids my age were watching Cinderella and The Little Mermaid over and over again, I was watching Terminator 2, and Tremors over and over again. And then I would go and re-enact my favorite scenes from those movies with my little brother.

I don’t know where this fascination came from. Was I born with it? Was it something I learned along the way? It’s the classic nature/nurture dispute. I’m sure the ghost stories my grandma used to tell me had something to do with it.

These thoughts have been on my mind as I’ve been working on my short horror story about zombies and cowboys. I’ve surprisingly never written horror before, and I’m finding it quite a challenge. Sure, my novel A Mouth Full of Teeth is about werewolves, but there’s nothing scary about it. Suspenseful? Yes. Violent? Definitely. But not really scary.

I want this zombie story to be scary. And it’s a challenge to get the same dread and heart-thumping anxiety out of the written word that you get out of watching it on screen. I want my reader to be uncomfortable, which means as the writer, I have to make myself uncomfortable. As I write this story I have to delve into a dark side of myself. I have to unlock the demons and monsters that frighten me and let them come out and play. I have to push myself to the edge and sit in the dark, blaring The Black Angels and Marilyn Manson.

For inspiration, I’ve turned to the one book I’ve ever read that actually made me squirm and not want to “see” what happened next. That book is Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. If you’ve seen the movie, you already know it’s an awesome horror story. As usual, the book is infinitely better, but it’s also much more disturbing. What happens in the movie is only half of what goes on in the book. So read it. Anyway, I’m trying to incorporate some of the same tactics as Lindqvist used to draw every last drop of sweat from my reader.

I can’t wait for it to be read. I won’t post the whole story here, as I am trying to win something from it and possibly get it published in a lit mag, but I will post parts of it and I’m sure I’ll come up with some way to share the whole thing with you. The least I can do to thank you for following my shenanigans is to make you scream.

But not in a weird way….

Thanks for reading! =)

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