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Monday, October 1, 2012
The Horror That Lives Just Around the Corner
When I was learning to write, I was taught about the distinctions between different types of fiction. Horror, of course, was one of the main genres and came in two varieties. It was broken down into natural horror (stories based on threats like criminals, sociopaths and the violently insane) and supernatural horror (stories based on unconfirmed concepts like vampires, zombies and ghosts). Right now the craze in horror is completely of the supernatural variety. All you have to do is look at all the media devoted to the zombie apocalypse to see what I’m talking about. But in spite of the current trend, I write natural horror because I believe that it makes the stories much more frightening.
I have three urban horror stories currently available for free on Smashwords:
The Replacementsis a story about three high school boys who are forced to face their worst fears when they try to buy a girl in the sex trade.
Spare Some Changereverses the power dynamic between an urban yuppie and a homeless man deep in the tunnels under New York City.
Finally,Afraid of the Darkis set in a near future society where government sponsored killers roam the streets answering to no authority but their own.
I try to create a sense of realism in my horror that infects the mind of the reader. I don’t want you to imagine a theoretical horror. I want you to feel like “This could happen to me.” That’s when you get scared. That’s when horror works.
I know Halloween is traditionally about supernatural horror. I know that vampires and zombies have a lot of cache in modern entertainment. But I don’t relate to supernatural horror, so I don’t have any inspiration to write about that. Stories about being terrorized by homeless maniacs or slave traders might not be the trend now, but try not to follow the trends. I’m trying to tap into primal fears and the fear of someone who might be just around the corner is more powerful than the fear of something that might only exist in our collective imagination.