I’m currently writing a semi-scary short involving ghosts and seances and all around creepiness, and I have more frightful works planned for later this month (stay tuned!).
‘Tis the season, after all.
And it occurs to me, now that I’ve started my ghosty short story, that I know not the first thing about writing horror or ghost stories or scary works generally. I don’t watch many horror films, I’ve read maybe three horror books in my life. I just don’t go there very often.
If I stretch, I can say it’s because horror movies and books upset me more than they do others. I stayed awake nearly all night after watching The Ring. I saw The Shining as a semi-youngster, and it didn’t bother me, but when I saw it again in college, it troubled me so much I turned it off. I still get a little weirded out if I see a random pile of rocks in the woods, and I’d never laugh at a myth of a creepy New England murderer-witch.
It’s definitely something that came with age. I liked being frightened by Scary Stories to Read in the Dark as a kid, but it was fun-fright, not genuine. Eventually, I grew out of those, and as a teenager, I fell asleep in horror movies. Something about the long silences and dark scenes: they just knocked me unconscious. But for some reason I got jumpier as I got older, and I haven’t seen a new horror movie in ages.
I did see The Grudge last year, and it didn’t frighten me.
I have no idea: my fright-factor is completely hit or miss.
And since I have no idea how to frighten myself, I don’t know how to frighten others, either. So tell me: what makes a story or a movie scary to you? What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever read or seen? Do you have any good horror-writing tips?