So, for nostalgic reasons, I had a look over Rhoald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the other day, and I always forget how dark it actually is! Anyway, it inspired me to give children's horror a whirl (even though it's not strictly Mr. Dahl's genre).
My premise is that Jack, twenty years ago, faced with his parents' divorce and having to leave his childhood home, meets a genie, and wishes for two things: that his parents can never leave him, and that he never has to leave his home (he's saving his third wish for later). The upshot of this means his parents are frozen like statues in his house, and he's frozen as a ten year-old boy, and it's been that way for twenty years. Naturally, he's the antagonist, or threat of sorts - a creepy concept, I think, for anybody, particularly a child. If you then add a sinister unkempt house for him to live in, and then the genie screaming from inside a cupboard or something, it could genuinely be quite scary.
The problem is, the antagonist has to antagonise somebody. I have my protagonist, Alex, mostly sorted, with all the traits he'd need for this kind of story (bravery, curiosity, etc), but I just can't seem to join the dots, and get an actual story out of this - how on earth should Alex meet somebody hiding out in an out-of-the-way cottage? Hopefully, by having shared experiences r/e homelife, Alex and Jack should be able to establish an uneasy friendship of sorts (hopefully the reader should be seduced by a Peter Pan parentless life, amid the horror) - but where is the threat?
Thanks for your help,