[TAE] Spooky Time Of Year

Monday, October 6, 2014

Welcome to October!

Growing up, my big thing around Halloween was skeletons. I always wanted to see someone in a skeleton costume when they came to our door. Fewer and fewer people came to our door over the years, and it reached the point that Halloween was pretty much like any other night for me.

However, I’ve always enjoyed the spooky, to a point.

When I was younger, R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps books were a constant source of fascination – much to the consternation of my mother, I think. She had other ideas about the kinds of books I should be reading – so I read those too. But when I spotted a new Goosebumps in the library, I would usually read through it while I was there – not even needing to take it home.

I’ve always been a fairly fast reader.

I’ve experienced some spooky things personally, too – from interactions with pet ghosts, to communications with skin spirits, to having incredibly accurate deja vu years before an actual event happened, and even occasionally prophetic dreams.HauntedHouse - FreeDigitalPhotos-net

But there’s something about the spooky that fascinates me – as it does so many people. I enjoy writer’s creativity when it comes to creepy things. And I appreciate it even more so when it isn’t one of the overused ideas of what is or isn’t frightening that causes the story’s tension. Like the creepypasta story, String Theory. A personal favorite that might just have you questioning the concept of free will.

Another fun creepy/spooky thing is the internet phenomenon of Two Sentence Horror Stories. Some examples can be found here, here, and here. Though there may be some repeats between the three sources.

The concept behind the Two Sentence Horror story is simple, and yet as you can see, it can be manipulated and molded to fit just about any level of spooky. The first sentence usually is unremarkable – it seems absolutely normal and sounds perfectly reasonable. The second sentence brings the axe down on what the reader expects and may have you reading the stories several times until it hits you what really happened.

HalloweenBg-FreeDigitalPhotos-netThe way the body viscerally reacts when reading or watching something scary is part of the fun – the same reason human beings in general love “daredevil” rides like rollercoasters and sky drops. We, as a species, enjoy adrenaline. We love having our fight-or-flight reflexes kicked off and not actually having to do either of those things.

As a writer, it takes a surprising amount of focus to make sure you don’t give away your shock too early. As I’m writing the Patron Exclusive horror story, which I plan to release to my Patrons by Halloween, I find myself having to keep this in mind. (A teaser will be posted here – but to get the full story, you’ll have to become a patron!)

I’ve never written for suspense before. I’ve done foreshadowing, I’ve built a world carefully and surprised my readers with an outcome, but I’ve never really written anything deliberately suspenseful before. This short story, tentatively titled ‘Wendigo,’ is in many ways a first.

Still, there couldn’t be a better time of year to get spooky! Enjoy the things I’ve linked to, and don’t get too creeped out. Most of all, have fun and enjoy this spooky time of year!