by: Theresa Jacobs, zombie slayer
Horror writers shine the brightest during the dark days of October as everyone gets in the mood for ghouls, witches, and ghosts. The best part about horror is the myriad of scares to choose from. Writers from every walk of life long to create the next monster that will haunt humanity for years; such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 1818, Bram Stoker’s Dracula 1897, or Leitch Ritchie’s short story The Man-Wolf 1831.
How does one create a memorable monster for a creature feature? Figure out your monster first. Where did it come from? Is it man made like a Golem? Or a freak of nature, like Jaws? How about an alien like The Thing? Give your creature strengths and let it take off on a killing spree. Give it weakness’s that your protagonist will exploit to save the day. I have Brimoire, the demon of technology in my book Sudden Death.
The current biggest fad is zombie fiction. There is a debate about when the zombie was first mentioned in history. The first known fiction writing was in the 1819 poem History of Brazil by Robert Southey. All records lead to Haitians as the creators of the real zombie. Writers world-wide spread the zombie’s love for dining on brains and make it their own. We’ve seen the undead come alive with a spell, a virus, the release of government-made gases, and the living turned into the walking dead from a zombie bite. Even though they are done to death (pun intended) any writer can take this dead topic and breathe new life into it.
The most sought-after horror troupe is the thrill of a great haunting. There is nothing better than the spine-tingling nuance of the hidden scare. The most agreed number one ghost story belongs to Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House 1959. From there the lists, polls, and top tens vary.
As a writer, one must instill the ultimate creep vibe through wisps of touch, a sense of impending doom, or the unexpected sounds from an empty room. If your words can bring a reader to the edge of their seat, cause goosebumps to crawl across their skin, and make them jump when no one is around, then you’ve done your job.