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Bob Nailor

A Couple of Horror Secrets

I tend to write what some people call 'soft horror' or 'twisted' type stories. No, I do not write a lot of blood, guts and gore. Of course, I'm not saying that bg&g is a bad thing but I tend to lean more toward the psychological type horror. Yes, I love to play with your mind... take it out, massage it, squeeze it and then give it a good twist before putting it back into the cavity.

So how can you write a horror story that scares the crap out of your reader and not have bg&g?

1) Place your creature in a strange place or distant location. Huh? Strange place? Do you expect to find a vampire stalking the halls of a hospital or prison? Get them out of those drafty castles and dank dungeons. Place some in a dilapidated plantation in a deep, vibrant Southern bayou... and make them young children. Do your zombies wander the streets of the town or do they attack out of the piles of trash at a landfill? Even glowing demon eyes at the bottom of the basement stairs can send chills coursing up and down your readers' spines.

2) Expand on the dark human nature. Not all monsters have to be supernatural... the ol' human body is just fine. The evil lurking deep inside the pysche of a demented person can be your 'muse' for the next story - think "Hannibal" for an idea. Yes, I'm talking about cannibalism and other very taboo topics which respectable society now frowns upon. An nice, elderly couple befriending a run-away girl still need to eat... or is it the other way around?

3) Abuse is a no-no. Child abuse is even a bigger no-no. Attempt to avoid any situation where a child is involved. I'm not saying you can't have children as victims but it needs to be addressed properly. Let the reader's imagination fill in the blanks. I think the movie was "Warlock" and he wanted to make a candle and needed untainted human tallow when he stumbled upon a child who was unbaptised. The next scene showed him with the candle. I still get chills when I think of that scene.

4) Where to get ideas? Read your local newspaper and when a certain aspect grabs you in a story, write the concept down. Let your imagination run rampant when doing this. Also check out news articles on the internet. AND the bestest ever place to get an idea -- your nightly dreams. Keep that notebook beside your bed and when a nightmare awakes you; write it down. Trust me, by morning that terrifying experience will have mellowed and might even be just a dissipated thought you will struggle to remember for days and fail in this goal.

Good psychological horror is the ability to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. In other words, the cup of joe sitting in front of you; is it really coffee or some strange creature about to consume you from the inside out?

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