Shameless plug: Buy The Reformatory by Tananarive Due. You’re welcome.
If you have been following this space for some time, you know that my first love is horror writing. Now, do I consider myself solely a horror writer? No. I don’t. However, you all know that a writer girlfriend of mine is Tonia Ransom, and never fail to remind you all to follow her podcast.
Which you should. Right now. Click here.
With that said, I got the chance to interview the incredible woman for the third season of The Writers’ Block (which you can find on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Spotify). Look for this logo:
In that interview (date 8/13/2020), Tonia and I spoke at length about the skill and crafting of a good horror story. The thing which I thought was most amazing was she suggested those who want to go into horror writing to take a screenwriting class! She said a good scary story has a knowledge of tension, tone and setting.
I had never thought about that!
Even with the interview she did with Tananarive Due on her podcast (date 9/19), one of the thing Tananarive Due expressed how she had created an entire fictitious city for her books: Graceland, FL. In that city all types of magical, supernatural things happen to children (think about last week’s post about The Base, The Roux and The Legendary). What has dynamic about the interview with Tananarive Due and mine with Tonia is the idea of building a world with all the things you need in it. Having the freedom to give your characters what they need. Even with Tananarive Due’s story she submitted to Nightlight she mentions how the story took place in Graceland–the same place as The Reformatory.
A good horror story uses tension, tone and setting as its basis as its foundation. While we know not everything will scare everyone, there are some thing which are synonymous to the human experience which will and do!
Remember, that what you want to create, you are free to do so! You have all you need to build the story that you want. You do this by using all the tools at your disposal. And I do mean all of them! Don’t be afraid that it’s not perfect! This is the purpose of having and making drafts! The goal is to get what it off your head into a medium by which you can read it!
Fear the words and worlds you don’t create…not the ones you do.
Get to it.