There is A Monster in the Closet - A Piece Of My Mind
“FEAR is an acronym in the English language for "False Evidence Appearing Real” ---- Neale Donald Walsch
Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win" --- Stephen King
When I was child in a darkened bed room late at night, I would scream to my mother, who was in her bedroom. “Mom, there is A MONSTER in the closet...or under the bed...or in the bathroom sink.” My mother would come running into my bedroom and comfort me. We all have fears of one thing or another. Looking back, maybe that is why I enjoy reading the fantasy and horror genre.
In a way, the monsters still do scare me. I cannot yell for my mother (but I can call her!). I still slightly jump when the air rattles the patio blinds or the wind howls against the glass on a cold dark morning. Don't even get me started on the sounds of mice in the kitchen late at night!
I know it is a childish fear. However, great writers of the horror genre can milk that fear out of me and everyone else with the right text.
The question begs to be asked, how does that monster look like to you as writer? Stephen King, one of the modern day master of the genre made Pennywise a clown who was really a spider-like creature. Frankenstein the monster looked like a man and also looked like a beast, Edgar Allan Poe in his novella Fall of The House of Usher discussed the ideals of a person buried alive, was Roderick’s sister a monster, that is for the reader to decide.
What does the monster look like? Why does it hide in the closet or under the bed? Why is it there? Great horror writers have explored this is many many short stories and novels.
There also has to be a motive to why the creative creature lurks in that dark place. As a writer, we to ask what is it? Why is it there? A good writer can develop this idea.
When I discussed this scenario with some writing students, it sparked their creative juices and their imaginations. What came about from this exercise was many different ideas on a theme. There were stories from the simple idea (a mouse who was caught in a trap with a twist at the end of the tale...or should I say Tail) to the intriguing (the closet as an alien base camp), From a Dr. Who parody (can you say Mini Dale ks hatching under the bed) to the unique horror that fans of Lovecraft could come up with.
Horror does not have to be a ghost under the bed. Not every monster is Frankenstein, Jason (Friday the 13th series) or Freddy Kruger (Nightmare on Elm Street). It could be like the 1938 radio landing of the Martians from Orion Welles's classic radio show War of the Worlds. Another idea, Ashley Fontainne's The Number Seventy-five is a modern day spin on the computer dating scene with an ironic twist. I don't want to start talking about Barbara Watkins Hollowed Screams or this column will be 10,000 words.
Fear of the unknown is also a monster. Think of Clive Barker's take on never growing old In the Thief of Always, in Neil Gaiman's Coraline we find a girl who finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home. The inhuman condition can be as simple as childhood fears placed on a page.
Many may ask why I devoted a column to monsters and horror. One of the biggest markets now is Paranormal and Horror. Authors like Joya Fields, Laura Kaye, Dakota Cassidy, KB Miller, Willow Cross, JH Glaze, Candy O'Donnell, Dean Koontz and many many others beat the literary drum in this marketplace. This column in my way of leading you down the garden path to show you new avenues you may want to explore as a writer. Look these and many other authors in this genre up, read their work. Maybe you can create your niche in this market.
In wrapping up, I quote Nietzsche “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
Until next time, keep reaching for the stars
Columnist: Bennet Pomerantz has covered the Audio medium for the last 20 years. He has syndicated newspaper columns, AUDIOWORLD and "Movies of Your Mind", in Affaire De Coeur Magazine. In which he showcase his vast and diverse knowledge of the spoken word medium.
He is also known as a media review critic (books, music, graphic novels, DVDs, CDs) in his weekly syndicated newspaper column "A Piece of the Page". He also is a ranked media reviewer for Amazon.com. http://www.facebook.com/bennet.pomerantz1 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org