Midweek Thoughts 12/20/2017

What makes you really scared? 

I may have touched on this before, but what gets you to that level where you look around the room? 

Movies create visual effects that cause fear inside, but what about reading? Can it get the reader to the same place as that visual image? 

I get one is supposed to imagine the things an author describes and that is supposedly the equivalent. But is that truly  possible? 

Or is there a different tactic when writing? 

And just how far can you go before the reader realizes something gimiky is taking place? 

Is it an unsettling atmosphere that creates the appeal? 

I don't necessarily think so, because I've read stories that had me in a state of anxiety. I wouldn't say nail-biting fear, but I guess I'm not like that with movies so much, either. 

So I know it's possible to create an emotion on that level with writing. But are horror writers doing that these days? Is the element truly there? 

What are those conditions that scare? How, exactly, is it done? 


I say there is an element of can this happen to me. Like something that hits home. You can formulaically create tension and stress in the reader, but one moment doesn't work for all. So you have to figure out what gets to the most amount of people. 

Some have different ways. 

Then there are the readers who just want to have a macabre world created for them, an atmosphere not necessarily "scary" for them, to live through the characters in their world. They don't care for scares, they live in this world, cherish it. They root for the bad guy. Or good guy. An example of this could be Harry Potter. There are scares and tension, but there is also that fantastical world that looms over everything. 

Horror usually has a moody setting, tone, that lays the foundation for the tension, like turning the crank on a Jack in the Box. You don't know when ole Jack is going to show is rotten face and corroded garb. 

(Thinking about that one.) 

Next time you sit down to write your next masterpiece. Think about if you are writing what's needed to put chills, true chills, in your reader. 

Let me know what you do and think about this subject in the comments below, or contact me on Twitter. @Wcmarchese 

You could be a reader, too. Let me know what scares you. 



Madeleine Swann said…
Sometimes online fiction can be scarier than traditional horror because you don't know where it came from. By its nature it's unidentified and untraceable.

With traditionally published horror I've found understated creeping dread works best on me

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