Blogs by Joel Arnold
More Writing What You Know
9/19/2011 6:15:27 AM
As a feller who enjoys writing horror, Iím always trying to think of interesting situations in which to put people in jeopardy. At the same time Iím trying to think of how to frame it in a frightening, or at least tension-filled, way. So I spend a good amount of time trying to come up with things that Iím afraid of.
Well, sort of.
Because some of the things Iím afraid of donít really translate in a literal way to horror. For example, I donít think H.P. Lovecraft ever wrote about the fear of trying to mingle at a party, or the prospect of being a cubicle-dwelling office drone for the rest of his life (shiver!). But Ė those experiences/feelings can still be used to create horror.
Take the fear of mingling with a group of strangers. While in and of itself, not very horrific for a lot of folks. But when Iím in that situation, I experience anxiety, self-consciousness, a fear of drawing attention to myself. What should I say? What if I try to talk to that person and they think Iím a bore, or annoying? Would I be bothering them? Everyone else seems to know each other. Maybe if I stand here quietly, no one will notice me (but maybe this will make me stand out even more.) Maybe I should just leave Ė can I leave without them noticing? And if I do leave, can I live with that? Another social opportunity down the drain? Unwarranted feelings in the above situation, sure, but I can transpose those feelings into a fictional narrative.
Say a character finds himself alone in a park late at night and he stumbles across a murder being committed. The character suddenly feels anxiety, doesnít want to draw the killerís attention, feels very self-conscious. Am I breathing too loud? Can the killer see me in this darkness? Do I dare try to run for it? Or should I attempt to help the victim, opening up the possibility of also becoming a victim? And if I donít try to help, can I live with that? An opportunity to help a fellow human being missed?
Thatís just another way of writing what you know. Iíve never stumbled across a murder being committed in a lonely park in the dark of night, but itís fairly easy to transpose feelings from other situations Iíve experienced that have struck fear in me.
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More Blogs by Joel Arnold
The Sucking Suckathon of Suckiness - Monday, May 21, 2012
Mississippi Pearls and a Car Biding Its Time on the Ice 'til Spring - Thursday, December 29, 2011
One Decade, One Story - or how One Thing Leads to Another - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Racing Minnesota-style! - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
This Here Minnesota Horror Author was a Big Old Scaredy-Cat - Thursday, December 22, 2011
Jack the Blob Killer - Monday, December 19, 2011
Death Rhythm - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
More Writing What You Know - Monday, September 19, 2011
How I Interpret 'Write What You Know' - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Blessings - or - What I write after having one too many... - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
120 Miles in a Canoe - Monday, June 27, 2011
On Stephen King - Thursday, June 23, 2011
Why Horror? - Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Zen & the Art of Swearing - Friday, June 10, 2011
If Coffee Shops were Run by Airlines - Thursday, May 12, 2011
Trying to Figure Out What Scares Me - Monday, March 21, 2011
My Confession - Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Going Indie with my novel Northwoods Deep - Friday, March 04, 2011
How I Envision Conflict When Writing - Thursday, March 03, 2011
Wall Drug - why it's one of my favorite places - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Jonesing for a Road Trip - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Snowmapocalyptopalooza - Tuesday, February 01, 2011
How Do You Remember? - Thursday, January 20, 2011
When your parents are librarians... - Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The genesis of a novel - the first 6 days - Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Searching for Truth - Characterization - Thursday, December 16, 2010
Control - and a little more about Northwoods Deep - Monday, December 13, 2010
Bukowski - Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Flies, Flies, Spam, and Flies - Friday, December 03, 2010
Naivete and the Young Writer - Thursday, December 02, 2010
For Writers looking for some Adventure - Wednesday, December 01, 2010
My usual rider for family/friend appearances - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Writing and Me - a dramatization - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Writing Tip o' the Day (now with vitamin C!) - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
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To All the Bookstores I've Loved Before - Monday, November 15, 2010
The Care and Feeding of Writers - Sunday, November 14, 2010
Rudiments - Thursday, November 11, 2010
Writing Tip o' the Day - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
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Perspective - Monday, November 08, 2010
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