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Scary Stories

Why is it that whenever I read a book written by one of my friends that is classified as frightening (the book, not the friend), does my power always go off, leaving me in total blackness and terror? Seriously, I am determined to hate both Jeffrey Savage with his Dark Memories, and now Dan Wells with his I am Not a Serial Killer, for providing me with moments of total and complete, mind numbing, scream-your-throat-to-raw-hamburger terror.

I hate being afraid. Seriously. Hate. It.  I don’t watch scary movies. I don’t read scary books. And I determined a long time ago that I would never WRITE anything scary.

Which is why yesterday is so baffling to me.

My brother called me with an idea for a book, one that I’d already considered and cast away because it wandered into the realm of scary, and I don’t write scary. I told him I don’t write scary and confirmed it with him several times throughout our conversation because I wanted to make sure he understood I meant it. Then we hung up.

And the idea banged around in my grey matter while I did dishes, while I vacuumed, while I got dressed, and while I sorted laundry. You see I told him that IF I were to write the story, it would have to be different from all the things that have been done before. It would have to be a YA book because I just don’t understand adults, and it would have to start out well enough to snatch the reader immediately. I gave him a long list of rules for such a book and all the things that would have to go into it.

And my mind couldn’t let go of how I could write the story and make it fit into all those rules. I called my brother back an hour later and gave him a brief synopsis of a storyline that would work.

He laughed that it only took me an hour to hammer out the storyline.

I hung up.

And wrote the first chapter.

It’s a great first chapter. It’s a great story.

Curses. I guess I do write scary stories after all.

The bad thing? The REALLY bad thing? Mr. Wright was out of town last night. I put the Wright brothers to bed and reached my hand out to turn out my bedroom light. My hand froze over the switch, hovering and shaking as though I were battling some unseen force (this force I like to call my personal irrational fear).

The personal irrational fear won over common sense. I slept with my stupid light on. I guess I write scary stories pretty well, because my first chapter scared the snot out of me.

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8 Responses
  1. Debbie says:

    I don’t think I can write anything scary. I don’t think I could READ anything scary, either, even if what written by a friend. I just don’t like it. And I freak myself out enough at night thinking about people breaking into our tiny apartment. I don’t know what I’ll do when I have a whole house full of creaking things that can scare me.

  2. Kristina P. says:

    I’m sure you will be awesome!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I like a little scary once in awhile. Can’t wait to see what you come up with! When I was a single mom, I’d watch The X-files and then not be able to sleep most of the time. I can’t count the number of times I had the Mormon Tab sing me to sleep when I was sure something was going to get me.

  4. L.T. Elliot says:

    What do you mean you don’t write scary? That excerpt you read at LTUE had all kinds of scary in it. Well, if you refuse to call it scary, I’ll call it some da*n fine suspense then! And now you’ve got me all curious about what the new project is. =]

  5. Kathi Oram Peterson says:

    Great post! I’m so happy I came acrossed your blog. I love a certain amount of scary. Not horror, but you know, mild scary. Mary Higgins Clark type scary. I’m intrigued about your new book. Keep working on it.

  6. Kimberly says:

    I am Not a Serial Killer was a seriously disturbing (but fascinating and compelling) read. It must be weird to cross over like you just did but how amazing to tap into some unexpected versatility. I want to say enjoy but that doesn’t seem like quite the right word…

  7. julia wright says:

    two things:
    first, i confess an irrational envy that you have two sons, because with only one of my own, my darling son will never be one of the wright brothers. that kind of stinks. his dad and his grandpa and his great grandpa (etc) all got to be wright brothers. it’s his dad’s fault, really. i’m sure if he’d been game for more kids, we’d have our own wright brothers.

    interestingly, my sister married a brothers. so now she’s sister brothers, and her hubby is (always has been ) brother brothers. i call him B2 (squared).

    and when she and i are together, as we will be for a few fleeting hours tonight while she’s on a layover between flights back to her island home on oahu, we shall be the famous wright brothers. yes, we sisters shall manage what my darling son never shall.

    back to your post, EXCELLENT! i’m not into scary. but YA scary i could (probably) handle. especially if you sent it to me chapter-by-chapter 😉 hint hint. i’m game if you are! or i could just be one of the faceless masses who has to wait till the pubs come through with it. don’t be mean though!

    hugs 2u! ♥

  8. I’m with you… I don’t do scary. But I think it’s wonderful you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and writing something really different. That’s awesome and such wonderful things happen when you stretch yourself as a writer, even when it’s painful and scary.

    Still, I’d be sleeping with a light on, too. 🙂

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