The door to new and uncharted writing territory. Lately, I've been questioning my writing. What exactly is it I'm attempting to do? This past weekend, I sat down and asked myself, "What do you want to write?" Then, a second question, "What is it they (teens) want to read?"
Suspense, thrills, creepiness, chills, fear, heart-pounding action, the not overcooked paranormal, darkness, & monsters (of all kinds-including human). These were the elements I searched for in books as a teenager. I was one of those teens who spent hours, reading the backs of books, trying to find the very best one.
These scenarios defined a "really great book" back in those days:
- If I couldn't keep my nose out of it.
- The plot / characters clouded my thoughts when I wasn't reading.
- If it kept me up reading into the wee hours of the night.
- If I was afraid to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Or afraid to look under the bed.
- Or again, afraid to look in my closet.
- If it made me hide under my bed covers.
- If it forced me to buy every book written by the same author.
- If I was afraid to close my eyes.
- If when I was finished reading the book, it haunted me.
What do teens want? I asked my 14-year-old daughter's girlfriends.
Scary stories. Really scary stories. Stories that keep them up at night. Stories that haunt them for days, weeks after they're done reading. And, not just monsters, but haunting characters and plots. Books they HAVE to recommend to all of their friends. Books that make them hungry for more.
Last week, I stepped out of my cozy writing zone, and I challenged myself to write a 200-word flash fiction, with the "crazies" in mind. I attempted to write something eerie and suspenseful. Something I would've liked to have read when I was young.
After reading all the super cool comments about my piece, I realized, I like it. I like the present tense, quick-paced, creepy feel. I like the way this piece could be a terrifying end or a completely irrational, freaky beginning of a story.
Thanks to the 1st campaign challenge, fellow campaigners for all of your awesome comments, and thank you to Rachael for challenging me to let the door swing open.