Wow, I kind of disappeared there. Sorry about that.
With Halloween right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about something I call, the Scare Scale. Going from Teletubby (though some would assert that these belong in the “horror” zone) all the way up to Self-Wetting.
I fall somewhere in the middle.
My stories tend to have an element of creepy. At least a cup of it in the overall recipe. But anyone who knows me knows I frighten REALLY easily. As in, I shy away from scary movies, and if I watch them, I have to watch cartoons after, so I can sleep.
Nonetheless, I can’t seem to write a book without reaching “creepy” on the scale. I don’t write fluff, or cheer, or anything approximating. My first project involved Death (note the capital), NW involves disappearing children, and my new project involves Histories, which come pretty close to zombie + ghost + murderous intent.
I think there’s a fine line, or several lines, between creepy and horror, between back-of-neck-hair-raising, and oh-god-I-can’t-sleep-because-X-will-get-me-even-if-X-is-entirely-fictional.
I try really, really hard to stay on the creepy end of it. And I do have the benefit of being the author. Which does NOT mean my own creations don’t creep me out. But it DOES mean that they can’t worm their way off the page and into my head, since they started out there. Some people love to get the crap scared out of them, but as the kind of person who doesn’t, my enjoyment begins to ebb as things climb the scare scale.
I like to write things that make you wriggle in your seat a bit, or wonder about how empty the shadows across the room are, but I *try* not to cross into “Boo!” or nightmare-inducing.
Anyway, random thought as Halloween draws near.
Which do you prefer? The kind of stories that make you wonder, that crack a window in your mind to the more impossible things, even if they go bump, or the kind that make you want to leave all the lights on?