2 Quick Rules To Writing Horror

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In my research for the Infernous Trilogy, I’ve found two consistent pieces of advice to write the most compelling horror.

  1. Think of a book or a movie that disturbed you the most. I’m not talking about cheap jump scares, but something that unsettled your gut. Maybe it’s just a single picture you found floating around online like the one above, a King novel, or a James Wan film. Either way, likely, it was a relatively vague monster/demon/creature/etc. Here is why over explaining your nemesis can actually be a bad thing.

Detail of the enemy can be your own enemy

All through your writing ventures and your schooling from the age of 6, you’re taught detail detail DETAIL. The more detail the better – so long as it keeps the story line moving. However, this rule has an end in horror writing. Everyone has something that they fear. Whether it’s a memory of their childhood house basement, a scene in a movie, or something that they simply made-up in their head. But – that isn’t someone else’s fear. It’s only yours.

You have a much better chance of scaring the hell out of your readers by painting a vague picture of what your enemy is, but not give away too many details. Maybe your character only sees a silhouette of the beast. Maybe they see it fully, but you just don’t explain it. Why do you do this? Because:

When details end, the reader’s imagination picks up and creates their own worst nightmare.

A side-note as well: When your enemy is unknown, it’s creepier as well. When the reader doesn’t know what the thing in the corner of the room is, it let’s their mind travel to its own darkest depths.

2. Long sentences.Short sentences have their place. But rarely in horror. It’s disjointed. It disrupts the flow. And detail matters. Except when it’s about the nemesis. See?

When you said the scene for each chapter, go crazy with details and long descriptive sentences. Set your rooms, buildings and scenery with such vividness, the reader will see it in their head. Long sentences can suck them into a story.

 

We need more horror writers out there! Comment your thoughts, questions, or details of your latest horror project!

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When Does Life Get In The Way Of Writing?

Does life get in the way of writing more than it helps?

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Lately I’ve been finding life getting too busy and complicated and it’s been messing with my writing time. The worst part is that it’s not just the busyness that ruins my writing times because I still have time to write. My mind is so warped and tired from the events around me, I just sit and stare at a computer screen and accomplish nothing.

However on the adverse, it’s been life that inspired me to do all my writing. Whether it was horror writing, realistic fiction or just songwriting, life has inspired it all. It was occurrences during my childhood and adolescence that inspired the horror. It was a dearly missed friend dying of cancer that inspired my realistic fiction. Lastly, it’s love and love-lost that inspired most of my songwriting.

I’ve found that extraordinarily good and bad things in life inspire writing – at least from me. Death, a breakup, finding love, or keeping a friendship alive, it all spurs embers in the writing mind’s fire. But the humdrum everyday buzz of life combats those more meaningful events. It’s a constant struggle with a push-pull state of warfare. It’s the taxes, the 40 hour work weeks, worrying about bills life that brings down creativity and brings to light apathy, fatigue, and laziness of the mind.

Maybe it’s the best writers that are able to use all aspects of life towards writing and I’m just not there yet. Still, it’s no fun being in a valley and not having the inspiration or heart to write. Writing is a bloodline after all and I’m only complete when I can pursue my career and dream.

Writing Is Not My Hobby

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(picture from http://www.sliverofice.com/blog/)

How many writers are out there who are belittled and dismissed as lost souls with a useless hobby?
I’ve just published my 4th book and I’m taken aback when people so close to me refer to my career as a hobby.

A man slaves over wood for hours, days, weeks and months to make a beautiful table and chairs. He may work somewhere to pay the bills but he does his wood work because he loves it. That isn’t a hobby. It’s art and he’s an artist.

I write novels, short stories and poetry. It is art and I am an artist.
Do you write? Draw? Paint? Slave over something you love?
You’re a goddamn artist.

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

Inspiration From Strange Places

Where do you get your inspiration to write?
It could be a movie with a scene of honesty and truth that strikes you more than the rest. It could be a poem you read that has a certain set of words cast in a specific order that somehow rings with your consciousness.

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Could it be something written decades ago? Or is it something happening in your life?
Do you only write of your sorrows and longings? Or do you also write of happiness and glee?

There’s a quote from a movie that had an impact on me that says a writer is the sum of their experiences. If that’s true and I believe it is, what do your experiences say about you?

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

The Truth Behind Our Eyes

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We live in a land and time where easy answers are the most desired responses
There’s a teenager battling with depression because of his parents divorce
Theres a young man fighting an addiction borderlining on suicide because of his assumed self worth
There’s fifteen more people in every twenty fighting losing battles
But when someone asks them how they’re doing
The response they hear is an easy response
It’s the desired answer
The person asking doesn’t really want to know
They want “good, great, ok, alright.”
Pick your poison
The teenager says good because her separated parents don’t really want to know what’s inside her diary
The man fighting addiction tells them that he’s doing great, he’s still alive after all
But he can’t wait until he gets back home to stick a needle in his arm
She’s good and he’s great
The truth behind our eyes will remain unseen so long as poison continues to be picked over honesty and reason

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

Clocks & Words

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A precious piece of time
Sitting over top a leather bound journal
They are separate but one
A reflection of time spent writing words
Words that are seen by one or two few
But words that can stand the trials of time
Time that this clock will count

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

There’s A Man Standing In Your Closet

So I wanted to write a really creepy poem, here it is

There’s a man standing in your closet
He’s breathing deep
Whispering unknown words
His cheek twitches at his muscle’s spasm

There’s a woman standing behind your window
Her nails tap against the glass
Hoping to gain entry
Black drops from her eyelashes

There’s a child playing hide and seek
He’s lying underneath your bed
He’s not laughing with glee
He’s trembling from the searching beast

There’s a man standing in your closet
His grunt travels through the house
He sniffs at the air when your scent reaches past the door
He reaches for the door when he hears the floorboards press under your feet

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Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

How It Feels – Finish Writing A Book

There was a sense of accomplishment as I finished the last word. Even more so when I opened the box and saw my completed product. As I looked at my binded book, I thought of the events that brought me to it.
It took me 4 years to get there. But even so, I looked at it knowing I can do so much better. I can put more detail in, more dialogue, better characters, better everything.
Just as I have to write to call myself a writer, I have to keep improving my words to be proud of my work.

Keep writing, keep fighting, that’s today’s mantra.

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn