Today is a Boo-tastic Day here in America otherwise known as Halloween, or All Hallows Eve. Samhain is another moniker. It is a day when the veil between the world of the living and of the dead is gossamer thin. It is a day when all things improbable are given some semblance of credibility and our imaginations are allowed to take flight. With this in mind, how do we account for those among us that live and breath this life and energy every day? You know who I’m talking about — our favorite writers of horror and of the macabre.
We don’t know what drives many writers of horror to pen the words that they do but on days like today we appreciate that they write down the scary things. It helps us shiver as we imbibe orange-tinged alcoholic drinks while preening in our costumes.
Fellow blogger, Tim Janson, wrote an article listing the 20 top horror writers and I agree with his list! The funny part is Stephen King is not in the spot I thought he would be. Check out Tim’s list here.
Tim talks about the horror genre having no set ‘start’ period and that its highest award The Bram Stoker Award (only around since 1987) is not a true starting point. However, this award does share new and emerging talent with us. One of my favorite new horror writers is Kealan Patrick Burke author of the Timmy Quinn series. Talk about scary!! His novella The Turtle Boy won the Bram Stoker Award in 2004.
While the Timmy Quinn series scared the pants off me I couldn’t stop reading it! The language was beautifully evocative and haunting. The air of suspense and the foreboding written into the white spaces between each letter and word flowed off the Kindle screen straight into my veins.
After reading this series, I was emboldened to combine my love of all things sci fi, fantasy, horror, suspense, thriller and paranormal. These are the genres and sub-genres that I love. I penned my own novel which has horrific moments but is truly a — (get this) paranormal horror thriller.
In writing this over 85K word opus, these are some things I’ve found out about writing things that will scare &/or thrill readers.
- Never be predictable.
- Enjoy the scene. Don’t draw it out for no reason but allow it to expand naturally and go on to the next thing only when it is time.
- Create tension first within your main (POV) character.
- Use words that jolt the mind, heart and imagination.
- Take tips from literary writers and evoke lasting images that keep the reader coming back for more.
- Never say never. One of my characters was supposed to die. In my mind, the character died. In the book, the character stuck its tongue out at me and re-appeared many chapters later.
- Put your character’s back against the wall. This is a must for all fiction (and good writing). If the challenge is flimsy who will want to read it? Make it believably difficult for your character and imagine a solution that could actually work without having a magician come in and save them.
- Keep writing.
- Get feedback from your writing group or peers.
Here is terribleminds blogger, Chuck Wendig’s list of 25 Things You Should Know About Writing Horror.
(I love #2: The Ululating Goat Song! Freakin’ hee-larious!)
I will leave you with a small horrific excerpt of my new novel. Feel free to leave comments below. I love speaking with you guys! Oh, and have a Happy Ghostly Halloween!
Excerpt by Rochelle Campbell