While I’ve been actively working on this rewrite I’ve thought about fear, judgement, and what really scares people.
When I was a kid I had a recurring dream about my Aunt’s basement. There was a coffin at the bottom and all of this smoke. When I reached the coffin a ghoul would pop up and I’d wake up screaming.
Being stuck in a place, with nowhere to go or worse, being stuck and unable to move are the worst things I can think of. I’ve had night terrors for years and used one of them to write a story in my collection. Most of what happens in one of the stories is completely true.
I find that writing horror allows me to tap into those fears. I use it well enough that my wife has asked if I’m okay while she’s reading drafts.
We’ve talked about what scares her and I’ve used that in stories, because she is the first person to read my stories. I also think about what would have scared me in my teens or twenties and incorporate that.
I’ve read a lot of books over the years and while some of them are very odd, I’m looking at you House of Leaves, the also make me think about different aspects of fear. House of Leaves does that with the Navidson House and Johnny Truant. Spoilers ahead for House of Leaves.
With The Navidson House is the fear of something outside our reality or outside what we understand. With Johnny it’s about a descent into madness.
Both of these sections of the book messed with my head. And thinking about the book in that context, I really enjoyed it.
We find ourselves writing things that scare us, our family members or who we were at one point in our lives. It takes a lot to scare me anymore. I’m very desensitized when it comes to horror, but there are limits for me. I don’t like when kids are hurt. The Girl Next Door did a number on me. It was a difficult book to read. The writing is so good you feel complicit. But I’m running away from the topic.
I’ll talk more about fear on Wednesday.