Thursday, March 6, 2014

Go dark, or go home. 

         Horror short stories are my favorite things to write. The best are 

literary story bombs that go deep and dark without wasting a lot of 

time. They usually start off quiet, but when the bomb goes off it’s not 

like anything else in literature, a heart-pounding ride that will only end 

when boundaries are broken.  They celebrate the mysterious and 

unknown, exposing in eerily subtle or brutally stark ways, that life 

isn’t always neat and tidy.  And that’s always a good lesson to keep 

in mind, because horror stories remind us the cosmos we live in is 

infinitely more complex than that.

         But what horror stories do best, is connect us in an intensely 

visceral way to what we love.  It’s only when you fear you’re going to 

lose something, do you suddenly realize how important it is.  Horror 

stories scare us, but they also remind us to cherish what we have, 

because it can always be snatched away.  At their essence, horror 

stories are a warning to always be careful and not assume what you 

know is the final, unshakable truth.  Because nothing is ever final, 

there is always change and new mysteries ahead.  

     Horror stories are the literary eye-opener that wants you to see 

what can’t be seen. The monster or bogey-man is just a metaphor for 

the uncertainty of life. Horror stories don’t coddle easy assumptions, 

they blow them up, then shine a flashlight on the shadowy, unknown

landscape that lies ahead.

         The other thing I love is the language, because it’s usually 

soaring departure from the everyday.  When describing unknown 

horrors and mysteries, writers have to kick up their descriptive 

game and use language that’s as stunning and unexpected as the 

macabre wonders they’re revealing.  Horror writers tend to use 

language in a more varied and vivid way, creeping into their reader’s 

inner world, word by word, then unleashing their dark surprises.

                 Horror is the removal of masks...

                       -- Robert Bloch

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