Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Creeping Shadows in the Night

            If you never spent a day in bed shivering with chills while burning up with fever at the same time, throat so swollen and sore it hurt to swallow, dry eyes burning and head feeling as though it was a baby's stuffed toy, how would you be able to appreciate a day when you felt as though you could climb a mountain and have energy to spare?
            If you never sat staring at a pile of overdue bills, your heart pounding out of fear your house and car would be taken away by the bank, how could you appreciate looking at a bank account balance of at least a few bucks after all bills had been paid, including a bit into savings?
            If you never laid in bed during the wee hours of the night, startled out of a deep sleep by some noise you couldn’t identify, watching the shadows move across the walls while your skin literally felt as though it was crawling up your back, your heart racing like you’d been running, how could you appreciate a bright sunny day full of laughter and joy or a night filled with pleasant dreams?
            Reading stories that scare us allow us to construct safety nets in our imagination so when something truly horrible occurs in our lives we can better deal with it, having already lived through something similar. Why do people watch Reality Shows on television, hoping to see someone get injured or experience hurt feelings? It makes the viewer feel like their mediocre life is more exciting and worthwhile than they might otherwise have thought. We need heroes who will fight evil.
            It’s long been known Middle Graders devour scary stories like candy. Look at the popular series, like Goosebumps, with hundreds of books and some kids have read every single one. By reading about ‘the scary’ and seeing how someone experienced and survived it, kids discover they can deal with daily life, which is truly frightening at that age.
            Horror explores and probes the shadows when we are afraid to do so in life. Battling demons or ghosts in a book is a lot easier when you know you will survive. Often making it all the way through a truly horrifying book or movie becomes a badge of courage. And the more terrifying the story, the braver you feel.
            This same phenomena happens with teens and slasher films. Teens need to feel courageous and brave after being bullied at school or worrying about the haircut they just got. By ‘surviving’ a slasher film, even though the heroine or hero does not, it provides that rush of adrenaline that builds bravery in a viewer’s imagination. Whether they could actually be as courageous as they feel if the real situation occurred is irrelevant.
            The same goes for romanticizing evil creatures--make you think of the recent rash of Sexy Vampires? Can you imagine actually coming face to face with a traditional vampire? The ones seen in the scariest vampire movie I've ever seen--30 Days of Night? Who'd want to kiss one of them? But if the author makes the monster, whether it is a Werewolf, Big Foot or Vampire, into a desirable and sexy character, we can more easily face our fears of monsters. After all, don't we want there to be good in everyone, everything? And if we find that good, what does that make us? Super-Good.

            As a writer of Dark Fantasy and Horror, my goal is to reveal through fiction the reality of the horrors which occur daily in our world. My fiction is only partly imagination. All of my horror is based on actual news accounts which I then ‘fill in the blanks’. My hope is when a reader finishes one of my stories they take away from it some idea of how they can protect themselves in the real world so nothing bad could happen to them. You can find out more about me and the books I write at Macabre Raconteur

   See what I mean when you read Don’t Make Marty Mad available as an eBook for only 99 cents. This story of a man who finally loses everything due to uncontrollable anger and jealousy is based on two news articles I read and blended into the character of Marty. It'll knock off.


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Honestly, you scare me, Charlie. Haha, in a good way. Great post. A wonderful reminder of all that is great with the world. If not for all the rejections in my drawer how would I have ever know how wonderful being published is. Thanks for reminding me.

J.Q. Rose said...

I winced when I read you use real news stories to create your scary stories. The world is full of scary stuff. Thanks for preparing us to meet any challenge...

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Rebecca, I had no idea you felt this way about horror. I don't like to read scary books, but I do like stories where the hero must overcome horrors. Sometimes, you the reader know the hero is braver than you and it helps when you are reading. The hero will pull you through all the horrors of the story. Great article and it does help me understand the fascination of horror to some people.

Jerome Samson said...

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