Don’t Need to Petrify; Tell a Great Story
I know writers hate to hear this–because I’m one of them–but I don’t usually get scared by the written word. Yet never fear. I’ve recently found that’s a good thing.
Hear me out. On those rare occasions when the page does scare, it’s not a feel-good moment. Quite the opposite. Case in point, the short story, “Perfection Through Silence” by Shaun Meeks. That tale is so horrific, I won’t even allow myself to think about it. (“Thanks, self; now I’m thinking about it!”) And the end of that horror film, Megan Is Missing? Get out of here!
So what’s the conclusion? Tell a well-crafted story with a lovable protagonist so the reader will care what happens to him or her. You might even inspire a feeling of dread, like in Frankenstein: the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley or The Fireman by Joe Hill. That’s all you need to do–being petrified’s no fun–and you’ll be a successful author (meaning succeeding at telling a great story, not necessarily a Twilight cash-in).
Not that I’m saying I’m faint of heart. I will endure the story that scares the shit out of me, like when I was up half the night on two dark nights of the soul thanks to The Ring and The Innkeepers. But it’s like in real life–being scared isn’t fun. Whoops: you’ve got roaches and mice and you’re evicted! Good day!