Oh the Horror!

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I was walking to work the other day and passed a tow-truck on the street. There was a sticker on the truck that said ‘Danger, Pinch Point’. I suspect most people would pass by without noticing the sticker. But the way my mind works, because of the various influences in my life, inspiration hit. I immediately went to “what if a serial killer used that for …” I’ll spare you the details but you get the idea. The rest of my walk to work was very entertaining.

When I was a kid my dad worked a lot, we didn’t really see him loads, he was either at work or recovering from being at work (he worked long hours as a railway engineer and also had a part-time job as a carpet layer). But Sunday afternoons were MY time with him. We would get comfy in the living room, snacks and drinks to hand, and turn on ‘Sci Fi Theatre’ on channel 29, Buffalo. I still remember the giant cheesy blinking eye that filled the screen as the titles ran. They showed a horror movie every Sunday and in this way, sitting with my dad, I was introduced to the Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, not to mention Godzilla and all his friends. Oops, her friends. All the classics.

So when I started to read novels, it was a natural for me to pick up horror stories. A friend at summer camp read Stephen King to us after lights out, in the dark with flashlights we huddled beneath our sheets as she read ‘The Bogeyman’. Still a freakin’ scary story. Next to King on my shelf were others, John Saul, Frank DeFelitta, James Herbert, Peter Straub. The list goes on. (My mum put her foot down when she discovered me, aged 12, reading my aunt’s copy of The Exorcist. She put it on a higher shelf and told me not to touch it. I waited until she left the room, then got a chair, grabbed the book and finished it in secret over successive visits to my aunt’s house).

(This is a bit morbid, but I’m a diabetic, have been since aged six (for those interested, that’s Type 1) and blood plays a large part in my life. Blood tests, blood sugar, I have to make my finger bleed at least four or five times per day to test my sugars. I see blood on a daily basis. I wonder if this somehow affected my young brain and led me to horror, or whether it’s just a happy (?) coincidence.)

It was also natural to me, when I wrote writing exercises at school, to write horror. I wrote a short story in grade eight about a kid who follows a supposed ‘witch’ in the town and ends up with his legs cut off, left bleeding on the floor of an old wooden shack to die. I never found out what grade I got on that one, it was never returned to me. I still wonder about that.

Me and Max
(This was done by my friend Robyn, and it’s apparently how our friends see hubby and me. Except for the boobs that defy gravity it’s a remarkable likeness. When my basement is done, we’re going to recreate the drawing in real life, altho’ where I’ll get a dress like that is still a mystery.)

The ‘What If’ exercise is awesome, and depending on your own personal influences, can be an amazing writing tool. For a horror writer it can lead to some pretty grim ideas, but it’s all part of the writing process. I mentioned the ‘what if’ above for the ‘pinch point’ sticker but it’s not a conscious thing anymore. The ‘what if’ is still there, it’s just unsaid. These days I can jump right to main idea, past the questioning. The idea is to let the ideas flow, don’t stop them! Let everyday things you see inspire you, let the thoughts of ‘what if’ wash over you. It only takes a second or two and when it becomes a habit, the world becomes your writing oyster. Okay, I don’t actually like oysters, so the world is my writing peanut butter sandwich.

Let inspiration become a habit!

I have to go, I’m sure that one of the contractors currently working on my basement is a secret psycho, he’s about to kill his partner with one of horrible industrial tools they’re using and I don’t want to miss it.

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7 comments on “Oh the Horror!

  1. sugaropal says:

    I don’t like oysters either, so I think I’ll have to let the world be my chocolate truffle 🙂 . The post I have in mind for next week is kind of a “what if” sort of thing and I have no doubt your twisted little mind will enjoy my MC’s twisted little mind…

  2. My husband loves horror, especially Stephen King and similar writers. He also adores old horror films, so we have quite a collection of DVDs and Blu-rays. I’m not much of a horror fan, but I do love the older films — Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein, etc. I especially like the atmospheric films, like Cat People (the original one, NOT the remake).

    I love how you use things you see to spark your writing — it’s a great way to open up to new ideas!

    • kellyewrites says:

      I adore old horror movies, really really bad ones including the classics! I have such a collection, hundreds of horror movies. We had friends over a few weeks ago and they were introduced to my collection. As a thank you for the weekend, one of those friends sent me ‘Thankskilling’, on par with ‘Poultrygeist’. My friends know me so well!

  3. Max says:

    Your 8th grade story is in your permanent Ontario School Record stapled to a worried note from your teacher.

  4. Mia Celeste says:

    I’m a horror fan too. I read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Brandon Massey and Peter Straub, but I’m always looking for new authors. I like how your mind works. Have you read, “Anna Dressed in Blood?” There’s a lot of blood in that story.

    http://www.miaceleste.com/?p=298

  5. Pat Esden says:

    I find horror totally fascinating because I’m not a fan, but I love scary gothic thrillers. It’s really cool to see how people’s What if’s lead in slightly different directions. That said, I’m working on revisions and last night I added a human leg bone into a swimming hole scene. No blood or hanging bloody muscles, though. A nice clean old gray bone 🙂

    • kellyewrites says:

      I like that, simple and classic. I try to return to simple horror, keep it creepy without grossing everyone out with guts and gore just for the sake of showing guts and gore. I like a slow burn, a nice tension builder. Having said that, there are times when gore is called for!

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