I need some monsters…

Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”

Hello friends! Since my WWII historical fiction novel Why Aren’t You Sweet Like Me?? is doing so well, I’m taking some time to focus on the last two chapters of my WIP, EMPIRE (YA Fantasy). My problem is that I need some help with monsters.

So here are my questions: What scares you? Specifically, what gives you nightmares? What horrible creatures inhabit them?What makes something scary?

It’s really arbitrary for me because I can watch “Dexter” and “The Walking Dead” without any problems, but then I see a couple minutes of “Paranormal Activity” and I’m too uncomfortable to continue.

When I was little, I was terrified by a movie called “The Last Unicorn” and there was another called “Assassins” that was really not meant for children, but my parents just saw that it was a cartoon so they assumed that it was all right. These movies implanted themselves in my brain and I had nightmares about creepy faeries for months.

In my the climax scene of EMPIRE, there are demons that come out of the sea. I have been imagining that these demons take on the forms that humans find most fearsome (from all different eras and cultures) so I’m thinking manticores, harpies, skeletons, and ghosts (though I’m trying to steer clear of supernatural beings that are super popular right now like werewolves, vampires, and zombies). Also, I’m kind of afraid to research demons because I don’t want to invite that kind of negativity into my life (but I will if I have to). And better yet, what do you imagine demons to look like? So please, help a girl out and tell me what terrifies you!

Image credit: http://www.deafhooddiscourses.com/?p=155

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21 thoughts on “I need some monsters…

  1. For me, it’s the fear of the unknown. The stage is set so that you know something disturbing or frightening is about to happen, and that’s the part that fills me with the most anxiety. Of course, the monsters themselves have to be disturbing, too! My favorite “monster” stories are Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” and H. G. Wells’ “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

  2. I’m with Michelle here, in that it tends to be human-but-not-quite creatures that scare me the most – worth looking at the wiki page for The Uncanny Valley to get an idea! Also the abrupt distortion of things I *thought* were human. Examples from films: the strange quivering heads in Jacob’s Ladder; the woman’s face in the changing rooms in The Devil’s Advocate; and the scene where the monster appears in the helicopter in the 2011 The Thing.

    If demons are the way you’re going I’d recommend Sara Gran’s novella Come Closer if you haven’t read it already (although more for the theme than any info on appearance).

    Enjoying your blog – congratulations on the success of Why Aren’t…!

  3. Well, when I was little, I was terrified of human skeletons (especially the ones that could walk around and kill me). Oh, and plucked out eyeballs.
    Nowadays, there’s very little that really scares me. There’s stuff that disgusts me, but little that scares me. Real life scares the crap out of me (i.e. having to be a responsible adult with a day job). I don’t think the employment monster would be very scary to a fourteen year old.
    I think you should find kids the age group you’re gearing this to and ask them what scares them. You’ll get much better answers that will be more pertinant to your story by doing so.

  4. Oh, forgot one. Talking decapitated heads. Those still give me the heebie-jeebies.

    As for what I think would make a scary demon, something close to human, but not quite. Having something major being off, like the heads turn around slightly too far for a human, the mouths open slightly too wide, the joints bend backwards, that sort of thing.

    Also, describe ’em right and scary, and it doesn’t matter if they’re demons, ghosts, manticores, vampire, werewolves, skeletons, or zombies. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean you can’t use it. Utilize them in whatever way you want and don’t concern yourself with what’s popular. Who knows, in ten years, the new fad may be ghosts again or demons again. Then your book will be in the in-crowd. Best not worry about it (these things are like women’s fashion: they move in cycles. You’ll be out of fashion for a few years, and then you’ll in fashion for a few, then back out. Don’t sweat it).

    And if you’re going to write fantasy/urban fantasy stories based on real world mythology, you’re going to have to learn to google search them. It’s essential. If you don’t want to do research on them, don’t include them in your story.

  5. TWD and Dexter aren’t really horror shows. They’re more like dramas with horror undertones. I can understand why The Last Unicorn would scare you. The Red Bull, Mama Fortuna and the Harpy were pretty terrifying.

    If you’re into Internet culture check out Smile.jpeg, Slenderman, the Rake, Zalgo, and Lavender Town Pokemon Creepy Pastas (Know your meme is a good site to look these up).

    I’m warning you though. I went on a six-year streak of watching anything without a tingle of fear to sleeping with the light on after finding this stuff (not so much Lavender Town, but it freaks some people out). There’s something about facelessness, corrupted childhood, and jacked up pictures of animals that makes me feel like my skin is being eaten.

  6. Anything that has to do with the spiritually unseen… Hello… the Exorcist. Scariest movie ever… or movies that scar my soul like Event Horizon. YUCK! Something we humans really can’t kill or destroy, only keep at bay is the scariest thing ever!
    Where is my crucifix?!

    • Monsters that can only be kept at bay are perfect. My protagonists can’t be killed but they can feel pain, so there is this ever-present risk for torture that does not end.

  7. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. That is mine for sure. I hate being afraid because everyone in my life looks up to me so I have to be brave. Thanks for visiting and come back soon! Happy Reading!

  8. For me it’s more the features of a thing that I find frightening, rather than whether or not it’s a bear or a cat (or whatever). Things like glassy eyes and making strange noises. Raspy breath and mindlessness. Most of my nightmares, however, seem to be more about the mere idea of something – as in, I never actually hear or see the thing itself; it’s always just some lurking, ominous presence. That seems to frighten me the most. 🙂

  9. The absolutely two scariest movies I ever saw were Nightmare on Elm Street and Final Destination. Especially Nighmare on Elm Street, because you can’t even go to sleep. Similarly, Final Destruction because you have no control over your fate. These elements are scarier than gruesome looking monsters, it seems to me. Everybody, even kids, know that “monsters” aren’t real. It’s the stuff you can’t get out of your head that follows you.

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