Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scare Me. Please.

Author Joshilyn Jackson mentions in one of her posts how this was the "Year of Abduction Fiction" for her.  She lists her top three reads that all concerned long term abductions.  I'd have to say the same goes for me.  I enjoyed Laura Lippman's I'd Know You Anywhere.  I raved here about Chevy Steven's Still Missing.  And I was recently blown away by Emma Donoghue's amazing novel, Room

Great writers and writing aside, why do I enjoy these kinds of stories?  Why do I enjoy those end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it novels and movies?  Why do I enjoy creepy horror books and films?

Do I think they'll give me tips if I'm ever (God forbid!) in those situations?  Let's get real.  If a meteor crashes into earth or a band of zombies is eating its way through the United States, you'll find me curled up in a ball in some corner either weeping or wondering how I'd taste to the undead. 

Maybe it's because reading those books and watching those movies from my bed or the living room couch makes me feel safe.  It's easy to yell "Don't go in the woods!" at some stupid teenagers while I cower behind my husband's arm.   And I can always shut the book or turn off the TV.  Right?  Right?

Wrong.  Images from the books I mentioned above are going to stay with me for quite awhile.  That's the power that all well-done stories - scary and otherwise - have over us.  I don't know about you, but I, for one, am happy to let them.


  1. I'm a rosy reader, I want a rosey picture with love and happy endings. I still have the images of the Stephen King novels I read as a teenager to chill my spine. I do admire a well told tale, scary or otherwise.

  2. Sally, after reading some "darker" works, I usually turn to something a bit more "rosy" myself. Maeve Binchy is one of my favorites - it isn't that bad things don't happen to her characters(because they do!) but by the end, I come away with feelings of hope and happiness and a sense those who should've received a comeuppance got what they deserved in the end. :)

  3. That's a great nod to writers who are trying to scare the pants off of you. :) Now you need to go back and figure out how they did it! And share, so that if I ever need a scary scene, I'll have your words of wisdom to guide me? I tried to ready the Chevy Stevens book but had to put it down because it was soooo least in my imagination. Run away! Ack! :)

  4. There were times, Stacy, when I had to put the book down, too, because I was so freaked out - but I couldn't help myself, I always picked it back up again. :)

    I don't know how much scary scene wisdom I could give - I might be better at reading them than writing them!

  5. Madeline, my laptop's been out of commission, but now I'm back to say...

    --The older I get, the less inclined I am to read the REALLY scary stuff. If it's funny scary, I'll read it. But sometimes, that stuff gets stuck in my head and won't come out!

    --I have a bookcase in EVERY room in the house. Um, not the bathrooms, but all the others. And apparently, I have a need to fill them up. And buy more. I may have a teensy problem. :-)

    --I'm a little bummed about not winning the Hint Fiction. But I AM glad you've raised your tortoises right. At least they're honest ('cause they're not gonna win any prizes for their directional skills. :-)

  6. Hey, Cathy, sorry to hear about your laptop woes.

    I plan to go through my bookshelves in the new year. Hmm, probably another resolution that won't be accomplished. :)

    As for the tortoises sense of direction? They get that from me.