I’m working on a horror story at the moment, and I’m struggling. Oh, the plot is there. And the characters. I know what is happening and going to happen (within some general limits), and I know who those things are going to happen to. What I don’t have is the “feel” of the piece. In short, I’m not making myself uncomfortable yet. I’ve found from experience that I don’t necessarily have to scare myself when I’m writing a horror story, but my gut damn well better be involved. I better remember to tell myself, "it's the emotion, stupid!"
I think the main problem is that I haven’t mentally switched gears from nonfiction to fiction yet in this piece. I’ve been doing so much nonfiction lately, particularly scientific writing, that it’s hard for me to force my intellect into the back seat and put my feelings into the driver’s seat. I’ve often said that I believe nonfiction, especially objective work like that which scientists write, can be created from the intellect alone. Fiction, on the other hand, demands, requires, cannot exist without, emotion.
Part of the problem also lies in the fact that I’m in a very busy period at school and I have not had the time to let the story soak into me in an emotional way. But because of Mardi Gras I’m now set for a four day break after today. I’m going to reintroduce myself to my fears and anxieties and all my other feelings. I may use the basic outline of what I’ve already constructed, but the viscera are going to be torn out and strewn around. One way or another, I’m going to remember what it’s like to look into a dark hole and feel like something is down there waiting for me. Or maybe not…waiting. Maybe it’s coming closer. Coming for me. Coming right now.
Maybe it’s right behind me!