After all of the fuzzy warm feelings that I’ve conjured up online for the stories many of you have come to enjoy, you might be surprised at how much of a ‘dark’ individual I can be a times. Hehehe! I can’t help it. I was an 80’s kid, and growing up during the slasher flick era was AWESOME! We’re talking “Halloween”, “Nightmare On Elm St.”, “Friday The 13th”, “Child’s Play”, “The Howling”…my friends and I were the kids who got together in somebody’s basement every weekend, turned out all the lights, and blazed through whatever we could afford from the local video store. I was that kid with the ‘Fangoria’ magazine subscription and the fake vampire teeth. As much as I absolutely LOVE writing romance and erotic fiction, my foundation has always been one part Horror, one part Science Fiction, and one part Comic Books. I was practically a character from “Stranger Things”! Hehehe! (If you haven’t seen that on Netflix…you need to remedy that as soon as possible!)
So, I figured…why not just go for it? Why not try writing something that’s deliberately meant to be ‘Horror’ for the ebook section and see if all these years of writing practice has paid off? I haven’t really done that before. I’ve flirtedwith many horror elements in stories like “Gone From Daylight” and “Savage Moon”, but they’re not really horror. They can be dark at times, but the overall story is about much more than that in both cases. The closest I’ve come to actual horror would be stories like “Dream Lover”, “Boys Of Widow Lake”, and the ever creepy “Empty Corners”. But still…hehehe, I can get MUCH more twisted than that!
Enter the newest novel, “Darkness Waits”.
This is my very first attempt at trying to create something unique within the horror genre…which took some time. I had to first think of everything that I’ve seen before, and then try to think of everything I haven’t. As you can imagine…that adds up to a lot of thinking. But, as you guys know, I don’t really tackle a certain idea or a familiar subject unless I think I can put an original spin on it somehow and make it my own. I’m hoping that I accomplished that. “Darkness Waits” is a four story anthology with different tales that are designed to give readers a chill long after they’ve finished reading. That’s what real horror is supposed to do. It’s supposed to make you check under the bed and in the closet before drifting off to sleep at night. Getting someone to think about your story until they’re forced to sleep with the lights on is the goal.
Now, when I use the term ‘real horror’, I’m not talking about blood and gore. This isn’t just about severed limbs and fang bearing monsters and the random spilling of entrails at your feet. All of that, I think, should only be used as a form of punctuation at the end of a well written sentence. Most of my favorite writers growing up were authors like Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe…people who could raise goosebumps on your skin without spilling a single drop of blood. I even used to pick up the Clive Barker graphic novels from the comic book store, getting visually stunning artwork along with a good story. And how Rod Serling was able to come up with soooooo many good stories for the “Twilight Zone” and “Night Gallery” and beyond is an absolute mystery to me! That man was a genius!
The point is, despite the current fetish for gory torture porn in the movies and on TV these days, I’ve always believed that your audience should already be terrified and biting their nails before you get to the bloody parts. And if they’re already terrified…then the bloody parts are pretty much optional at that point. Maybe you add it to the story, maybe you don’t. You should have a good, solid, narrative either way. You’ve already achieved the desired effect, you simply have to bring it on home.
“Darkness Waits” was written to tap into something much more psychologically disturbing when you read it. Things that make you think about yourselves as well as the characters in the stories. We all have dark sides to our personality that we never tap into. Never explore. I get a rush out of being able to tug on that emotional string without permission. It casts a mercilessly unflinching reflection of ourselves in the mirror. At the end of the day, true horror stories are just darker versions of modern morality tales. No more terrifying than the original stories of old where Red Riding Hood was being preyed upon by a ravenous wolf in the woods, or Goldilocks was being devoured by the three bears. A witch trying to push Hansel and Gretel, a couple of CHILDREN, into an oven to cook them alive, or a menacing troll living under a bridge, waiting to cannibalize anyone who dared to cross. Horror has always been with us, even if we didn’t recognize it for what it was.
So horror is basically a collection of morality tales that don’t pull punches in their delivery. No need to be subtle. The point is to SCARE you into acting right! Hehehe! Go to YouTube and look up a bunch of horror movie trailers at random. Anything you can think of. How do 90% of those trailers start? With a car driving down a lonely road. People going to places where they shouldn’t be going. Taking chances they shouldn’t be taking. Moving into a new house that they know nothing about, perhaps? Why? Because the unfamiliar is scary all by itself. Being in a foreign environment and being cut off from the world is unsettling before your story even begins. People do bad things and have to pay the piper when they’re done. People mess with mystical forces that they don’t understand. People steal items and artifacts that don’t belong to them. These are the sins that we, through the eyes of the main characters, commit…and the horror that follows is the comeuppance that we should learn to expect as a consequence of such actions. No excuses. No mercy. And if you’ve been along for he ride as a reader that whole time…then those sins, along with the horrible retribution they deserve, are there to weigh heavy on your chest as well. That’s real horror! And that’s the feeling I hope to bring back with these four new spooky stories, and the next four to follow. (Yes! “Darkness Waits” volume 2 is already in the planning stages!)
So I hope you get a chance to check it out and let me know what you think! It’s my first time trying this, but it’s good to be a ‘virgin’ again! Hehehe! I like the challenge. I even made a promotional video on the ComicalityShack YouTube account, that was meant to read like one of the many online ‘Creepypastas’ you can find there. It tells the story of how the “Darkness Waits” ebook was written, and how there were dark forces behind its creation. The very end of the video is a visual peek of the book itself, because….marketing! Hehehe!
The four stories, “Peek” (A little known urban legend gets tested. And later regretted.), “The Boy In The Rain” (Sometimes that boy on the side of the road…should be left on the side of the road.), “Babydoll” (Be careful of the hearts you break…they may come looking for a replacement.), and “Todd & Jasper, Jasper & Todd” (A man’s unhealthy obsession with the twin blond boys next door may prove that he’s not the biggest monster on the block)…are waiting for you! Darkness waits for us all!
Remember that the next time you turn out the lights to go to sleep!
This has been ‘Comsie Talks’! And I hope to see you soon!