As a horror writer, I know how ideas form to scare the crap out of people and make them cringe. But, I’m also aware that ‘normal people’ (if such a thing could exist! Pfft!) probably don’t get where we get our ideas, or what makes us tick. I’m going to tell you.
Okay, say you’re talking to a horror writer about an upcoming or previous medical procedure. We may ask for really specific details on everything – even the nasty, bloody stuff. Why? We probably care about you and are curious (yes, we’re kind people too, under it all), and you’re probably freaking us out and we want to do that to the people who read our stories/books. So, we’re actually plotting a story from your explicit misery. Sorry… LOL
We’ll also look at standard objects differently. Say you ask your horror writer friend over to help you with a mundane task, such as helping put up drywall or something else construction like. If you’re horror writing friend suddenly stops working and stares at the running drill or nail gun with a weird light in his eyes and a smile on his face…he has thought up a new form of torture for said implement! (Note: This would be a really bad time to tell him you slept with his girlfriend or piss him off in any other way!)
Personally, I often find myself playing the ‘what if‘ game while I’m doing things. Examples: 1) Say I go for a walk… I’ll start looking at the trees and wonder what someone would do if some psycho chopped off one of their hands and left them in the woods to survive and/or make it back to wherever to rescue their family; 2) If I’m making cookies, I might wonder if the electric mixer could actually rip someone’s fingers off if they just stuck them in. (Keep in mind that I don’t actually want to do these things to anyone or myself…just use them as ‘Oh, my God!‘ or shudder moments in a story.)
The simple objects and everyday things around us make us think freaky stuff. Why? Again, because we want to scare and freak people out. The best ways to do that is to use everyday objects and situations because people are more scared of what they can find ‘real‘.
That’s right, horror writers aren’t plotting your death, unless you’ve pissed them off.
Which brings up something else!
Horror writers will pattern characters after people they don’t like, have pissed them off, or were just down right rude to them. So…you might want to be nice to horror writers. Not that writers of other genres wouldn’t write you into their stuff if they don’t like you, and then off you… Horror writers are just more violent about it overall.
You may think this is twisted or that writers are sick, but that’s really not the case. We need tinder to build the flame of our stories, and we get it from life. If someone offs a character that’s shockingly similar to you in a story, it doesn’t mean they really want to do it in real life. It all boils down to therapy! The writer is simply dealing with the wrong you’ve done them, by righting (writing hehe) it on paper. Don’t you think evil thoughts about people who’ve wronged you? The only difference is, a writer (especially horror writers) will put these thoughts into a plot and write it out. They’re purging their anger/hurt, so to speak.
Oh, here’s a fun one!
People actually volunteer to be offed in stories – or tortured! There are countless contests, etc, where horror writers offer to ‘write you in’ as a character and do nasty things to you. Fans of horror writers love this. They already like the writer’s work and buy their books, and it’s a huge thrill to see their name on the pages and find out what gruesome stuff gets done to them.
So, if you ever feel offended because someone wrote you into a story and tortured you… 1) Think of being a better person, because you’re there for a reason; and 2) Feel honored because other people would love to be in a story.
Personally, I don’t write people into my stories when they make me mad/hurt me. The reason that I don’t is because I don’t think they deserve to be immortalized that way. Why should I honor someone by putting them in my ‘artistic work’ when they weren’t even nice to me? I see not including you as my revenge! Hahaha!
Overall, horror writers (all writers actually) take little things from everyday life and twist them or imagine them into their purpose. We get ideas from everywhere, everyone, and everything, and store them in our idea banks to get our point across later.
Just keep in mind – if you don’t want to be killed in print – that you need to be nice to horror writers, lest you want to be one of those ideas!
©Rebecca Besser, 2012. All rights reserved.