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In the Monster - A Horror Writer's Perspective

  • As a non-violent person, it's sort of funny that I gravitate towards horror stories, movies and writing. I just like to go where the dark things are and explore that realm to see what I can bring into the light, and see what other writers have created. It's just so interesting to go places and see things we never could have imagined before, or to create them.

    When I'm writing, I'm "in the story". If I'm writing about Curakan, I am Curakan to an extent. I don't think, "gee, I can't eat this kid", when I'm writing as it'll break the story. A monster isn't going to stop in the midst of a tirade to think, "is this socially acceptable behavior". We can't write like that. If we do, we end up with a flat story that is not believable. We have to write as though that character is a living being - do what it would really do, say what someone would really say, react as though this is happening right then. In essence, it is happening right then, at least for me when I'm writing. I can't speak for other writers though. When I'm writing, I see the scene in my mind like a movie. I then put it on paper (or in my macbook actually).

    Yeah, it's hard to read it after and see what the monster did, and really think about it. However, I'm here to tell a story. I can't remove the stinkweed and leave only the pretty flowers. It needs to play out in a natural way or you won't want to read it. Imagine if Jurassic Park were made only of brachiosaurus. No big scary T-Rex, no kick ass velociraptors. Just nice, peaceful dinosaurs. Where would the action be? Dinosaurs pooping? Who wants to watch that? No one. The movie succeeded because it kept us on the ends of our seats and put us there with the actors as we could see ourselves in their place. We believed the story and were drawn in.

    That's how horror writing is for me too, and how I find I'm drawn into the best stories by some of my favorite authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz. They paint a story. They bring it to life. I can see that story in my mind while I'm reading. They don't hide the hard stuff as it doesn't hide in real life. Without it, the story is stale, lifeless, and dead on arrival. Ok that was a bad play on words for a horror writer but I'm allowed.

    Another part of horror writing is the humor in it as life isn't all one way. It's good, bad, funny, sad and a whole mix of things thrown together. With horror, as we deal with monsters and a lot of bad, scary stuff, we don't want to overload the reader, so it's great to intersperse some humor in it. Perhaps some safe points with normal conversations and daily life. It's also hard as a writer to stay in the monster and not have a mental break from that intense emotional place. Being a monster is hard. It can be draining to keep that level of intensity that a monster generates. Especially when it's after its prey. Being a character that's got a monster lurking in some dark recess of the room is also draining.

    So, when you ask how a non-violent person can conjure up monsters that do some pretty horrible things, it's not got anything to do with deep seeded feelings of murderous rage. It's just a burning, creative force that resides in every author, artist, musician or other creative person. We look at our notepad, easel, musical instrument and do what comes natural - imagine it and bring it to life. For me, that means monsters, beings, creatures and who knows what else.



  • Mandi Konesni and Jing Gu like this
  • Mandi Konesni I love this! For me, whenever I have to write a violent type post for my roleplays or when I wrote Prey, I tapped into my feelings and emotions when I was bullied in high school, or when people were cruel to me. It helped to figuratively purge them.
  • Donna B Oh that's a good way to do it really. I can draw from that too.