I recently answered a comment about what it takes to write a Supernatural Story and this in part was my answer. I also thought it would be fun to ‘show my work’ and explain a little of how I go about writing stories for Owl Creek.
I’d have to say anyone who’s ever been in a situation where your heart raced and you felt scared or angry or alone can write a ‘ camp fire ‘ ghost story.
Of course I can’t tell you HOW to write- but here are a few things you should keep in mind when you take this genre on:
The Supernatural ( and I mean all aspects of it ) are based firmly in psychology. If you leave that element out you get the typical blood and guts horror stuff.
Now, that not scary, it’s just gross.
The next thing to keep in mind is that the best ghost stories or supernatural stories always, always, always deal with one small grain of reality and you can’t loose sight of that- once you do you’re going to make your readers feel ’safe’ and you’ll lose them.
They won’t experience your story at all because you’ve removed them from it.
As a writer WHY on Earth would you do that?
Like in Not Quite Alice the little boys who start the fire on the Ferris Wheel are just two normal little kids. The Circus people are actually from the ” Twilight Zone” but guess who turns out to be the Monsters in the end?
That’s right, the human characters.
And because the boys are two kids who could be living right next door to you right now…that’s much more scary then any Circus Folk working in a Sideshow.
I got the idea for IOU from a story I read on -line about how people don’t really like to share seats on a bus or train and the little things they do to make sure people WON’T sit next to them.
I was fascinated by that because I see it all the time.
Back to IOU, this guy works in Heaven and Lives in Hell- his Boss is God and the Devil is his Landlord and the train is a demon but they’re not what your unnerved by.
You’re unerved by the guy who shoves two souls into oblivion so that he won’t have to live next door to them in Hades.
All of that is subtext really and I didn’t dwell on it- what gets you is the guy shoving the people off the train with his bare hands- nothing supernatural there. But you can relate because a lot of us poor souls have been hurt at the hands of another at one point in our lives.
And THAT is scary.
So if you feel inclined to tell you’re own Scary Story just remember there are no rules with this genre, just ‘keep it real’ as the kids say and you’re story will go a very long way- Into the Eternal Night-
thanks to Jan2 and Edith for the inspiration!