Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Secret Behind Halloween

by John Kohlbrenner

To me the scariest thing about scary fiction is writing about it. After having a steady diet of horror movies, TV shows, and books. Plus having an office bedecked with Halloween and monster decorations year around. Frightening thoughts tend to simmer quite easily in my mind. The trick of it is to come up with scary situations that would even spook me, now that takes a lot of work. Limited with only the power of one’s words makes it all the more challenging. Though scary ideas come easy to me, explaining how it works is the hard part; here is my attempt at it. First you need a situation that will lend itself to being frightening, such as an old abandoned house, or a hopeless situation. Next you need the character’s feelings on their dilemma, such as the fearfulness of being alone in an old house, or the despair on having no way out of their predicament. Lastly you drive the nail into the scene by having the monsters pounce. Either slowly with creepy warning signs leading up to a horrible confrontation, or you have the character’s worst nightmare leap out suddenly into their face.

In my book I use both of those situations, but with an extra challenge of making the story accessible to a younger audience. To make something scary doesn’t mean it has to be violent or gruesome. There doesn’t need to be deaths on every page. There are fates worse than death out there as the characters in my story will find out. Now the real trick of writing a Halloween Horror story is that the bottom line of Halloween isn’t really about monsters and frights, it is having fun. Dressing up as a character you idolize and being rewarded for it with tons of candy. There is nothing scary about that. To children it is one of the few fun nights to celebrate a good time together they have each year. So with my story, it is not all doom and gloom. There is a lot of fun in it too. With the main characters being an enjoyable funny crew who don’t dwell too much on their terrible predicament, but instead realize that they are experiencing an incredible situation and in a normally dull life of living in a small town, to them this is really cool. Every boy would love to think that monsters are real. Now balancing that with the scary moments in my story makes the book a real rollercoaster with frightening drops and thrilling rises. Because the real secret behind a scary story is you need the good with the bad, that frightening drop will seem all the more terrifying if you care about the rider.

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1 comment:

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