As you all know, I don’t read or represent horror. I’m just not one of those people who enjoys that anxious, scared feeling, knowing something terrible is going to happen when you turn the page. I mean, the only Stephen King book I’ve ever read is On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, which you should all go out and buy right this second. But scary? Not for me… Well, except for anything written by my client Damien Walters Grintalis! Damien is such a master of all things dark yet literary that I can’t help but read her work. I get through the scariness because I just love what she does with words. Look for Damien’s debut novel, INK, in December of 2012. But for now, listen to what Damien has to say about writing scary stories…
I never set out to write about all things dark and scary. In truth, I would say I’m a writer first, a writer of horror second. Horror is not the only thing I write, but most of my writing is kissed with a touch of darkness.
But what is scary? In the real world, it’s a sound in the night where there should be silence. Pacing a hole in the rug when your child is late and your phone calls go unanswered. The lump in your throat when you find out your company is downsizing and half the employees will be out of a job by week’s end.
My horror is usually of the supernatural variety. Cursed tattoos, haunted photo albums, hands that can heal, but at a great cost. I don’t write what I know. I write what I can imagine.
Except fear. Fear is universal. Although my characters might have to face something otherworldly, I try to ground their fear in reality – a small sound in the quiet, an absence where someone should be (or a presence where solitude should reign), that unsettling feeling that something isn’t quite right.
Loss of control, a shattered sense of self, a fear of the sickness inside. My characters experience these things in ways that are impossible in the real world, but they are all common fears from the human experience that anyone can relate to, even if they’ve never encountered a monster or a ghost.
Sometimes fear is easier to face when it’s fictional.
What emotions do you try to invoke in or evoke from your work?