I have become fast friends with Tony after I did a book review and then followed it up with an interview. I thought with Halloween coming up, I would ask him if we would like to write a guest post on making scenes horrific as I found his opening scene of ‘A Demon Lies Within’ truly horrific.
So, without stealing Tony’s thunder, here is his guest post.
This was a question posed to me recently. As a writer of a recently completed horror fiction novel I paused briefly, figuring an answer would quickly. Instead, what followed was the realization that I needed to spend more time contemplating this question.
After much reflection I realized that for me, the way that I try to make a scene truly horrific is to lead a reader down a path they never expected to go. This is what I looked to accomplish from word one of page one in my debut novel, A Demon Lies Within.
The first line of page one reads, “Daaddyy! Please stop! Don’t hit Mommy anymore!” Joshua screamed through his tears.
While it’s a fair guess that there have been tens of thousands of books over the years that have broached the subject of domestic abuse/violence, how many of them introduced it at such an early stage?
As my debut novel this was my introduction to the world as a novelist and my introduction consisted of a nine-year-old boy screaming, pleading with as much emotion and passion as he could muster for his father to stop using his mother as a punching bag.
From the very first word my objective was to gain a stronghold of the readers’ attention and not let up. Doing this would serve a two purposes; it would let the reader know from the onset what they would be in store for the rest of the novel, Then there would an addition element of horror within that particular scene because of the surprise element that would resonate inside of each individual reader as they read a scene so shocking in the violent acts depicted at such an early stage. I would shock the reader using the element of surprise.
The other way that I went about making scenes horrific was to take everyday occurrences and add a horror twist to them.
Mental health issues have been a clinical issue that individuals have struggled with, with diagnosed or left undiagnosed, for hundreds of years.
I took an issue that millions of people that struggle with and put a demonized rationale/spin on it.
Within my novel, there’s the demon god of hate, Sonnelion, who explains to his apprentice, Andrew that the voices that the mentally weak hear within their heads and speak of aren’t grand, imaginary visions of grandeur. Instead they are real demons that have infiltrated their minds to control their every action.
The reader learns the power that demons have over their human subjects through the stunning actions of controlling the minds of those individuals who are mentally weak. Demons controlling the minds and actions of their human subjects in a shocking manner, to commit such unspeakable acts of torture and violence, I find that horrific.
Within my novel there’s the story an unidentified man torturing a woman, beyond recognition, that he’s tied to a cross and, also, the story of a man named Jim, who is so driven by his quest for discovering the secret of life that he carves up a woman as if she’s a holiday turkey to sacrifice her life all in the name of the demon that is control of his every action. The demons are the ones to blame for these heinous crimes, instead of the physical being carrying out these acts.
These are the ways that I’ve made several scenes of A Demon Lies Within horrific. I hope you agree.