Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Writing a new genre

The latest post in the series of authors talking about writing a new genre is from Marion Webb-De Sisto talking about writing horror….

In 2012 a Canadian publisher asked me to write a short horror story for a proposed anthology. Although I’ve always enjoyed reading horror stories, the thought of writing one had never occurred to me. I write paranormal/ romance stories, some erotic, some not, as well as non-fiction books. The previous year I’d written an erotic paranormal/romance novella for the same publisher. It was included in an Adult Only anthology. So I decided to try my hand at writing a horror story.

I had no idea where or how to begin, but suddenly a scary situation was creeping around in my head. What if a man was travelling home from work by train and he was speeding into a strange green fog? Would something happen to him and the other train passengers, or would they all arrive home safely? With this situation in mind I began a new writing experience – creating a tale for the Horror genre.

The story took shape quickly and easily, it was no more of a task than writing about love developing between paranormal beings. I’m a sucker for romance. J Non-fiction needs plenty of research, but painting a picture of a man travelling on a train wasn’t a problem. In childhood I made my way to holiday destinations by train. As an adult I’ve journeyed to and from work and visited places of interest in the same manner. I can certainly describe the setting in which someone is sitting in a moving train. In addition, I enjoyed breaking away from the various difficulties, anxieties, or pleasures that plague and thrill the characters I write about who fall in love.

The publisher accepted my story and it can be read in the anthology ‘The Speed of Dark’, which offers a number of scary tales. Mine is entitled Into the Fog and I trust it gives a person a few chills, especially if s/he happens to be reading it while travelling on a train. The tag line is – Drive home, don’t take the train. This anthology has received several glowing reviews that suggest it’s “not for the faint of heart” and “keeps you up all night reading… and trembling.”

Since creating the short horror story I haven’t felt inclined, or been asked, to write another one, yet I’m sure I would feel happy to do so if the occasion arises. Publishers and readers want a happily-ever-after ending to books about romance, but horror situations often conclude in creepiness and a sense of uncertainty, or even fear. Those aspects appeal to me.

Here is an excerpt:

Eric looked at the window and watched the swirling density change from off white to dirty grey, and then a sickly green. What could make the fog become such an unnatural color? Perhaps some toxic chemical had been inadvertently released into the air? He was grateful to be on the train and not outside, having to breathe in that possibly harmful fog.
As he continued to stare at the window, the fog thickened so much that it seemed to be pressing against the glass. He could almost swear he saw the window buckle slightly under the pressure. That was ridiculous. Eric wanted to look away, but felt compelled to watch the fog. Now, it changed back to thick, twisting strands of greenness that bizarrely looked like elongated hands. Then, a ghoulish face suddenly peered in the window and grimaced at Eric. This startling act completely unnerved him. What was wrong with his eyesight? He must be hallucinating. Fog was just fog and nothing more.
Eric looked around the carriage to see if anyone else was noticing what was happening outside. The two young women were no longer giving it their attention. Some passengers were engrossed in newspapers or books, while others were busy with their laptops or iPads. No one appeared to be interested in the weird green fog.

Thank you very much for your interesting post, Marion. Next month it's the turn of J R Gray talking about writing fantasy. 

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