Confessions of a Dark Fantasy Writer

Confessions of a Dark Fantasy Writer

In 1994, I had a horrific car accident almost ending my life, since that fifteen-day stint in the hospital I have vowed to live my life fully which includes facing my fears. My first confession, I am afraid of things that don’t go bump in the night.

Seriously, I can handle the occasional “bump.” Like when you hear a click in the night that wakes you up only to hear the next sound being the heater starting up. Or the loud thud that scared me so bad I caught my breathe and wanted to wake my sleeping husband. No, he was not in bed beside me and yes, he was the originator of the thud as he moved around the house in the dark.

These things have explanations and I can handle them. What I can’t handle are the noiseless things that move in the night or the unseen things that a part of you senses, but you cannot physically see or hear them. These are the things that totally freak me out. Sure, they may be part of my overactive imagination, but what if they’re not?

My husband has spoken a few times about going to California for a week on business. I would be left home alone to write to my heart’s content. My second confession, I really don’t want to be alone at night in this big house. Because of the design of this room I call my office; I must sit with my back to the doorway. Last night when I couldn’t sleep and sat here diligently working at my desk, every once and while I would look up at the open door leading to the rest of the house. Just in case. You never know what lurks silently in old houses.

My third confession is that when I was a child and yes sometimes still, I would fear cars and trucks Car Grillescoming up the road by my home.  Don’t ask me the origin of this phobia; it really makes no sense. All I can think is that the grill on the cars from the 1950s and 60s left a deep, tortured impression upon my psyche. Anyway, to this day I sometimes fear a vehicle “sneaking up” on me.

So why do I love scary stories enough to write them, am I in some subconscious way a masochist desiring to scare myself into insanity? No, probably not.

I think it’s for the same reason that as a child I use to love reading ghost stories or as a teenager babysitting my niece I read the THE AMITYVILLE HORROR in one setting. Reading horror does for me what other books don’t. It entertains me and at the same time forces me to face my fears.

And so I continue writing my own dark fiction, The Gathering, based on a place I once lived. My last confession, I am so glad we moved because in a certain point in the story my heroine, who is roughly based on me, has a near fatal fall… Yes, my own writing really does scare me!

4 Replies to “Confessions of a Dark Fantasy Writer”

  1. I absolutely get what you mean. It’s the almost something you see out of the corner of your eye, or the feel of someone’s breath against your cheek that brings on a paralyzing fear that steals your breath and holds you prisoner, even if only for a few seconds.

    Great confessional, Ingrid!

  2. I was one of those kids who had night terrors. This was more than 60 years ago and no one (especially my father) was concerned about my little psyche. In fact the general idea was to “beat it” out of her. However, I learned to love the macabre, starting with Poe and moving on, at an early age, including Gothic romance and dark mysteries.
    Stephen King once said that he writes “horror” because it’s like “drawing a circle” around him and his family…so it will never happen to them. I write dark fantasy, paranormal anything, and horror because that’s where my mind goes…back to that little girl afraid of the monsters crawling up her wall.
    I’m drawing my own magic circle.

    1. Hi Mitzi! Thank you so much for sharing. Though I was never beaten for my fears, I can relate to being afraid. As a child growing up on our family farm in rural Pennsylvania, it seems I was always afraid, especially at night. As a told a friend recently, isn’t being an adult so much better than being a kid?!

      My first experience with “scary” stories was as a child, I found a book of short stories in the school library. I especially remember the story of a witch and it was so real to me that as I looked up at the clouds that night and saw an opening around the moon, I expected to see the witch fly through. Isn’t it funny? I don’t remember being scared, rather curious about what would happen next.

      I love Stephen King’s idea of drawing a circle and I’m with you, I think that’s what I do with my stories. I face my fears, writing them down, and then sharing them with my friends so they’re not so scary any more.

      Thanks again for sharing, Mitzi, and I love your stories!

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