So, recently I wrote a short horror story. Originally, my plan was to have a supernatural element to it, which, generally speaking; I love the supernatural. Speculative fiction and fantasy are consistent players in my authorial poker game.
They are also heavy drinkers and fun to be around.
But, in the seventh inning or so I decided that I wanted to change it up. I remember being a kid, and my father, a hard-core Stephen King fan, getting pissed about the heavy use of the supernatural in King’s later works. See, my dad preferred the creepy that could actually happen–the evil that resides in the heart of man, and all that.
With that gripe in mind, I changed my story to straight-up horror, with only a couple of dream sequences to add a light brushing of supernatural flavor…but in the end, dreams are a fact of life, whether realistic imaginings or not, so I skated a fine line there, too.
Now, my friend/muse/sounding board/editor was a bit resistant when I laid my plan down on her. She has yet to read the finished product and let me know if it worked, but she liked the fantasy element of my original outline.
Now, we had a draw…hence my blog topic. I wanted to get some feedback from readers as to their preference when it comes to horror. Maybe you like both equally? Maybe, if one or the other is done right, it doesn’t matter?
I also got to thinking about an upcoming story I have in a Civil War horror anthology from Knightwatch Press (called “The Blue, The Grey, and The Scarlet–An Anthology of Monsters, Mayhem, and a Country at War”). My tale involves zombies, but it also highlights the horrors of the war in general–the complete annihilation of bone by ball bearings resulting in an unprecedented number of amputations of limbs; the archaic medical science of the time that resulted in disease spreading like a brush fire from person to person.
I asked myself, what was the scariest part of that story? The flesh-eating mutants? Or the nightmares people lived (and died) through during the war between the states?
Anyway, take a second to vote. Leave a comment if you have something to add. I’d love to hear what keeps you awake at night.