Friday, May 24, 2013

Writing Scary: Thoughts on Plotting Creepy Scenes

This week while working on a new wip, I attempted to write a scary scene. When I read back through what I'd written, it sort of fell flat. Mediocre macabre. My flimsy attempt at spooky wasn't my subject matter, it was more about honest writing, writing from my gut. Needless to say, I'll be rewriting and rewriting until the scene scares the bejeezies out of me.

Author Christina Lay talks about writing what scares you in this blog post. Her post resonated with me, and gave me a few pointers to consider during my rewrites.

What did I learn from this week's writing? I realized writing scary isn't merely typing out the words or telling a creepy story. It's about reaching down into the depths of my own fear pit and extracting my honest reactions, thoughts, and feelings. It's about writing from the very place that scares me the most. It's creeping down the basement stairs and investigating the horrid underbelly of a haunted house. Opening the closet door and facing the demons lurking inside. Hiking through a dark forest even though there are monsters behind every tree. It's about exposing raw fear and allowing the reader to experience every choking moment along with me.

If you write horror, please feel free to share how you reach your sweet scary spot.

I recently signed up to follow the Horror Writers Association Young Adult Fiction blog called Scary Out There. The author of the ROT & RUIN series, Jonathan Maberry, features interviews with young adult horror authors. LOVE IT!

Here's a song from my wip's playlist. Enjoy and have a writerly weekend.



11 comments:

  1. Horror is difficult. Most horror films fall flat as well.
    Someone else wrote about digging deep to find what really scares you. I guess it's all about those deep fears we possess.

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  2. I agree. Most of the horror movies out there are plain silly. As for books, it takes a lot to scare me. Although, when I read a good one, man, it can keep me up all night.

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  3. Thanks for the link to the article. I enjoyed it. I've found my readers get scared the most when the monster (or whatever) appears suddenly. That elicits gasps. They also are most fearful in tense situations, chase scenes and the like. The actual descriptions of the monsters or atmosphere (which I like to write!) are secondary to foreshadowing, tension and action. I guess we're all adrenalin junkies at heart! :-)

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    1. You're right, Lexa. The tension, action, and I think the unexpected definitely come first. Adrenaline junkies, I like that. For me, I'm a boogeyman junkie. I love being scared. Weird, I know.

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  4. Horror is so tricky since everyone has a different definition of what's scary. There's definitely a difference between when a writer is "trying" to make something scary vs. when a writer lets the scene unfold naturally.

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    1. You nailed it. Letting the scene unfold naturally.

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  5. "Mediocre macabre" made me laugh, maybe because I've been there when it comes to "silly sensual." I remember trying to create a sensual scene, and the whole thing just read a bit ridiculous--it's bad when something that is supposed to be sexy makes you laugh, huh?

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    1. Okay, so your "silly sensual" made me laugh! I've read a few romance novels in my day where I've cracked up when I shouldn't be. Mostly it's in the language the author selects. Some words just shouldn't be used in descriptions.

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  6. It does seem like the best writing that will resonate with readers and evoke feelings (whether it be fear or another emotion) is that which pulls from our own depths. I struggle to find that place every time I write.

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  7. i am not good with horror. i scare way too easy so horror lovers would laugh at my attempts!
    but you seem to have found the key, to write what would scare you!

    ps, i awarded you, want to hear about your upcoming wip!

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  8. @Julie, I think many writers struggle with it, myself included. For me, it's the deep down emotions I struggle with.

    @Tara, Thanks for the award! I'll post next week on my writerly Wed. post, along with IWSG.

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