On Writing Horrible Things…

I wrote a story.

The title is ‘Mondays’ (get your copy now on the site!).

It is a rather horrible story, based on a dark premise, and one which begins with a casual portrayal of a brutal act.

So far, so horrible.

So why did I write it, if it was so horrible? Why invest so much time, effort and emotion in painting such a dark picture of suffering and terror? Why darken my own soul by allowing it to set up camp within me, to take up residence in my tired, half-broken consciousness? I wrote it because – as they say – ‘it was there’. It was always there, in my mind’s eye’s mind, poking the inside of my eyeball with a nasty, pointy stick. Over and over. Pointy pointy. Stabby stabby. Over and over, until I began to type the words onto the screen, where they screamed back at me in all their undiluted, backlit horror.

And then, when I was done, and this darkness finally released me from my writer’s bondage, I was still not really free. I couldn’t shout about this wonderful new creation – primarily because my mum would find out, and as much as she likes the fact that I’m a writer, I’m sure she’d be taken aback somewhat at the ease with which the story narrates how a man, living with his mother, “kills her, smashing a hammer into the side of her head without warning, and there is joy in his relief as she silently slumps to the floor.

And that’s by the end of the second paragraph.

I don’t think she’d enjoy that in the slightest.

So, I took a look at what I did, and I pondered ‘the list’ – a long and varied list of stories-to-be-written. I thought I’d try to see what’s there in terms of horribleness.

As it turns out, there’s quite a bit of nastiness there on the list. I have outlines for a range of ‘End of the World’ short stories (turns out there are many ways to destroy the Human race!); outlined episodes for something written as a tv series, which is like a cross between the Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected – if they both got together to have a three-way baby with the League of Gentlemen!; a tale of enormous suffering and genocide in a fairie-like realm which is supposed to be all sunshine & fluffy bunnies; there’s a few screenplays which draw on the 70s/80s slasher horror genre, which are funny & sexy, but filled to the brim with blood and gore…

I could go on, but you get the picture. So many dark tales to tell, each one of them poking at the back of my eyeball with a pointy stick.

Of course, one way to stop the pointy stick attack is to write the stories, but then I have to really immerse myself in the darkness, and that’s not that good for the soul if it’s all there is, 24/7. So, I decided to actively seek nice, good stories – there must be some of those inside this cavern of terror, right?

Well, there’s not nearly as many nice stories as there are horrible ones, but there are some – most of them being children’s books (they shouldn’t read the dark stuff, so instead they have stories and poems about giants, fairies, dragons, and one which asks the question “Have you ever seen a monkey wear a chicken for a hat?”). Fingers crossed these can be illustrated soon, and be put up on the site during the summer.

After that, it’ll be back to the darkness, to unearth more of the horror of the inhuman condition.

Which leaves me with just one question : how does your darkness manifest through your writing? Let me know. I’ll be here, waiting in the shadows…


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