Ideas 3

So, more about the genesis of some of my stories. I typically write horror, as you probably can infer from the covers there on the right. Where does a writer like me get ideas for horrific stories?

In general they come from real life. They come from stories and events that I find horrifying. They also come from other stories. For example, I wrote a novella called The Inn, which is about a group of high school band students and their teacher being terrorized in a non-chain roadside inn as they travel to a music festival.

The genesis of this story came from a book I read by William Malmborg, called Text Message. That book is set in a suburban shopping mall during a big snowstorm. Horrifying things happen to a pair of sisters who are not exactly doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

When I read it, I thought that I’d like to try writing something like it. So I came up with the idea of writing about an inn, discarding a few other public locations like a high school or college, and a museum. Something about those inns always sort of unnerved me. I imagined that there were cameras hidden in the rooms that were spying on the unaware occupants. What if that was taken further? So that’s where I took it.

While the idea for The Inn came out of Malmborg’s story, the terrifying parts all came out of my own twisted imagination.

I also wrote another novella about four eighth grade boys who discover a cave in a forest preserve near their home. I set it in a fictionalized version of the neighborhood I grew up in, and in fact, I used fictionalized versions of some of the kids I grew up with. They’re NOT those kids, mind you, they’re just sort of based on them, loosely.

I read a book by Richard Laymon called The Traveling Vampire Show, which featured a trio of kids who are uber-curious about this traveling vampire show carnival thing that’s come to town. And they make strange discoveries of horrifying things. I wanted to write something like that; it’s one of my favorites by Laymon. So again, I thought about what I might want to write about — some adventure that these kids could have that could end in something horrific. And I came up with discovering a cave.

I love caves; we often visit them if we come across them on our travels. I’ve gone out of my way to go through caves over the years, and while I can’t say I ‘study’ them, I’m very interested in them. As a young boy, I was also very interested in them. We did a lot of exploring, and we actively looked for caves. We never found one. But I imagined this story from the idea of, what if we had found a cave? And what if that cave wasn’t exactly simply a geological feature?

It was easy to come up with something horrific from there. Today, I could probably write sixty or seventy thousand words on it, making it a proper novel. When I wrote it, however, most of my experience was with writing short stories. It was shorter than I hoped, but longer than I feared it would be. And it told a complete story.

You can see both The Inn and The Cave on the right, and if you click on the covers, it will bring you to Amazon where you can purchase The Cave for $0.99 and The Inn for $2.99.

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If you read the post called Ideas, you see that I do have some finished stories that just aren’t ready for publication yet. If you’d like to hear about them when they’re released, please sign up for my mailing list. The link is over there at the right, near the top of the page. Or click here: Mail List. Thanks.

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