6 Comments

  1. Thea

    I have set myself the task of writing a gothic novel. Unfortunately as I near the end of my plotting I realize I have a hard time making the house terrifying. I have however made the protagonist seem scary and do scary mysterious things. But sinisterizing (made up word) the house itself continues to escape me.

    One can only have so many unexplained cold drafts, creaking doors and whispers before you must go somewhere with it. And the truth is what terrified us and worked well in the greats (Victoria Holt, Daphne Du Marier etc) just does not work that well today.

  2. Thea, you are right–scary these days is much harder because of how much the reader has already seen! Writing horror or a gothic novel is a difficult task so kudos to you for working on a challenging project! (I love your word–sinisterizing–Shakespeare made up many words we use today!) In the book I mention above (Joe Hill’s NOS4A2) he makes a simple covered bridge terrifying–not only for where it takes the protagonist, but the bridge itself. There are bats in that bridge. Does not seem like that would be a frightening thing (after all, we’ve seen them before in fiction) but what he does is make them terrifying by the ultimate meaning that is attached to them (they are more than bats)–and what they mean to the protagonist and her life. Also, the reactions the protagonist has going through that bridge and what it means to her–and what the bridge means to the story. In THE SHINING it’s more than frightening things in the hotel, but its affect on Jack Torrence and how helpless Danny is in the grip of the house–how helpless they all are. So the fear comes from, ultimately, the affect on the protagonist and others in the story–not only how they relate to the setting but the meaning behind the setting (what is really going on.) Good luck with your book!

  3. Brandy

    Those are really great ideas….that’ll help with writing horror or even mysteries or other great genres. I’m wanting to write a mystery now and I’m trying to make sure i do it great. I read a bloody Mary book awhile back that had me jumping with every creak and blanket tugging, shadow moving moment. I want that for my own and I’m looking into everything i can do to get there

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