Monday, March 6, 2017

Writing Fear

“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.” – Chuck Palahniuk

I’ve always loved the aesthetics, the atmosphere and many of the themes surrounding gothic lore. I could wrap it all around me like a warm blanket. I'm seduced by the melancholia and the romance of this genre, and nothing pulls at my heart strings like forbidden or tragic love stories. Matter of fact, that is what draws me the most. Gothic Romance has wormed its way into my heart and gnawed its edges raw.

I’ve dreamt of writing stories that leave readers as haunted as I’ve been, but at first, the thought of writing a Gothic Romance intimidated me.  Capturing the details and the mood and finding the courage to dig into those uncomfortable places, took skills I didn’t think I possessed. Yet, there were stories that took residence in my brain and haunted me night and day to be written. I struggled with finding the right plot, the right twists and of course, the language didn’t come easy. Unfortunately, while there is a lot of information on defining what dark and gothic fiction are, there isn’t a whole lot on how to write it.

But that hasn’t stopped me, I continue to read and research and write . . . and live in fear. Which, as it turns out, is not a bad thing. Fear doesn’t have to be debilitating, it can be a great motivator, and it can go beyond just being insecure about the work. Scrying the dark pool of our psyche in search of what scares us can also germinate stories.

While, I don’t believe Gothic and Dark Fiction is synonymous with Horror (as explained in my last post), inspecting those things that scare us or give us a sense of dread or we simply find disturbing, is still what lies at the heart of any dark tale. Stephen King calls these “phobic pressure points” in his book “Danse Macabre” and they can be personal fears and phobias or societal ones. And though we want to evoke these emotions in our readers, it starts at the source, the writer. To haunt a reader, it takes a haunted writer.

So, this month I’ll be exploring the theme Fear.

How about you? Do you draw on your own fears to generate story ideas? Are there certain topics that intimidate or frighten you?

Reading Recommendation: Danse Macabre by Stephen King

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