Monday, March 17, 2008

Make Prose (and Your Reader) Jump

Have been busy with work (always a good thing), so have only gotten time to post this overdue prompt today. Notice how I've filled my post with cute animals? It's in the hopes that my publisher will overlook my tardiness and focus on the animals instead. Hey, whatever works! Now here's this week's prompt: Humorous Pictures
moar humorous pics Three things I've noticed in horror fiction that jumps out at you (and makes you jump in the process): The Shock Factor a href="">">Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics There is shock and there is shock. Though it can be argued that horror, at its basest (and sometimes laziest) is about shock it doesn't mean that making a ghost pop out randomly makes for good shock (though it seems to work for axe murderers). What makes the shock, er, shocking is the build-up. Think The 6th Sense, The Ring even Feng Shui. One of my favorite novellas that's big on the build up is David Morrell's “Blue is for Anguish, Orange is for Insanity.” It's about this guy who follows his college roommate's obsession with a certain painter. Morrell strings you along the whole story and when he finally drops the bomb, you're totally floored. You cannot help but be creeped out, and you cannot help but cry at how your own measly talents cannot ever hope to measure up to his. The story was freaky in 1988 and it's still freaky now. The Sex Factor Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics You don't need me to tell you that sex sells. But, like the excuse filmmakers use to get around the MTRCB, it has to fit in with the story. One of my all-time favorite short horror stories is John Peyton Coke's 1995 S&M-fueled “The Penitent.” It blurs the line between love/ sex/ death/ religion. And since a lot of it draws from Mexican Catholicism, it makes an extra impact t the Filipino mind. The story is basically about sex, but in the end, it's not the sex, but the factors that surround it, that makes the story. So. If you plan to write about, or use sex in your story, your story should not be just about getting it on. Otherwise, you're better off writing fan fiction. After all, you can never have too much slash on the interweb. The What the F**k Factor Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics Some stories, you read from beginning to end and all you can think after is “What the F**k?” If you like screwing with people's minds, horror is a good playground to practice your craft. Be warned, general weirdness is harder to pull off in horror, because you have the double task of slightly confusing and totally terrifying your reader. It's a though road to travel, one that I dare not set foot on just yet. Personally, I'm not a fan of this kind of story precisely because I'm never sure about what's happening. But there are times when the horror outshines the weirdness, and when that happens, the effect can be really chilling, as the WTF factor adds to the already gnawing pit inside your belly. Paul G. Tremblay's The Teacher (which has been nominated for this year's Stokers) is a well-written example.

1 comment:

EK said...

Even in fanfiction it's still about the story.there must be a good reason for getting it on,if you want a name for yourself on