1. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Books that Scared You

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Killer300, Aug 29, 2011.

    Okay, yes, we're running through the emotions, and there is probably a thread about this, however this is a VERY important topic to me. Mainly because, I've written something that terrified someone before(might've actually just been shock though, was just a gory scene, not really enough preparation for fear), but have never been scared myself by writing. Now, video games, of all things, have scared me, but rarely movies, and never writing so far.
    So... have you ever been scared by writing? Keep in mind that shock and scare I consider two different things(hence jump scares I don't really count as legit), so yeah, curious about this.
    More importantly, why did it scare you?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    The ending was corny, but up until that part, the book "The Return" by Bentley Little scared me. The images in it were very disturbing to me and I kept getting that feeling of something unknown, but evil and more powerful than human capability, lurking behind all the protags. Also, in most "horror novels" there's only a few parts where something disturbing/scary happens, but in "The Return" it's practically the whole book.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Joe Hill's "Heart Shaped Box" actually scared me, because it's so well described. It's more or less a classic ghost story, but the way it's written is so perfectly executed that it felt like it was painted directly into my mind.

    But really, I find that the creepiest thing fiction can do is to have an unnerving, immersive atmosphere. That seems to be where the best of modern horror fiction is coming from- it's something that is difficult to get right, but can be so effective when the reader finds themselves scared without really knowing why.

    Another thing that is effective is disturbing ideas. Dark sci-fi seems to do this more than pure horror. It's about suggesting unnerving answers to "what if..." questions, and effective examples can stick with the reader in the back of their mind for days, or even weeks.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    This is why I love dystopia so much. "1984" and "The Time Machine" are the creepiest I can think of at the moment.
     
  5. Shaezy
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    Shaezy Member

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    Salem's Lot - I read it when I was a teenager and have never read it again so I am not sure what my reaction would be now. But it absolutely terrified me. The whole premise, the descriptions, each and every scare.

    I used to put it upside down under my bed with both volumes of my Oxford Dictionary on top. I couldn't even look at the cover!

    Maybe I should try reading it again and see how it affects me as a 35yo?
     
  6. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It could be interesting. What exactly scared you about it? (I haven't read Salem's Lot, but King's work in general I don't find particularly...scary, as such)
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think immersion is key. You'll never be as scared on behalf of a character, as you'd be if you are the character. For that to work, I think you'll need a very rich setting in terms of atmosphere, and protags have to be fairly universal, somewhat impersonal characters -- like a place-yourself-here indicator inside the rich environment. That may be why computer games have scared you more -- the avatar in such games has no specific personality except what you bring to it, inviting you to become immersed in the game world and its horrors on a personal level. But this is just a theory off the top of my head.
     
  8. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    'Salems' Lot wasn't quite terrifying for me. It was pretty scary, but... yeah, not quite terrifying.

    King's Duma Key... THAT was terrifying. Really.
     
  9. aimlessramblings
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    aimlessramblings Member

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    Stephen King's " IT " scared the crap out of me, and the movie made it worse... as it was at the time of reading i didnt like clowns to begin with, but the book and movie just kinda pushed it over... up until High School, i hated being around or doing anything that had clowns involved...
     
  10. Acidz
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    Acidz Member

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    Okay, now first off I'm Christian and I love God and belief in Him and everything He done!.

    The Bible. - The book of life.

    Now sometimes I find it scary, for the fact that It always feels whenever you read It, it feels alive! Not to sound weird or bring up religious things... Just strait forward the way its written is the best by far for me and the most brutal ever and not only that, also for the things said to happen in the future, random things... I think its the way its written that scares me because you never know what to expect from the things you read, meaning its way beyond the human mind. "Now I don't want this to go the wrong way so stay on the topic."
     
  11. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    The Shining freaked me out a bit.
     
  12. NikkiNoodle
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    NikkiNoodle Active Member

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    Desperation, by King. I don't generally get creeped out by his work but for some reason that sheriff and his random, "Hey, how are you? I'm going to kill you. So what did you do yesterday?" bit did it. I did the whole head tilt, eyebrow raise and, "eh?"
    Also, the villain from the Dean Koontz book In His Eyes was creepy to me.
    But I don't really like scary stuff for the mere purpose of scaring myself. I dont like to be scared. If it's in the service of a greater story and something happens to scare me then so be it but scary movies and books...yeah, no thanks. So people will probably laugh at my sissiness :)

    The book of Revelations. Gives me an honest, stomach sinking, bone deep dread every time I read it.
     
  13. CosmicHallux
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    CosmicHallux Senior Member

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    I don't read scary stuff on purpose because I get scared regularly. I have some anxiety disorder that includes intrusive thoughts. For example, last night I couldn't sleep due to visions of biting off and spitting out my own digits, intermingled with scenes of animal torture--so I really don't need horror to get my adrenaline running.

    But I read a novel about a giant snake once, when I was a kid. The snake ate people. That was scary.

    There are many stories with scary ideas, like Bonzai said. I read this short story on Asimov's website about this woman who rescues a robot/child from a life of sexual exploitation and broken love-bonds by permanently blinding him with a laser. I was upset and scared about that for a couple weeks.
    It was a really disturbing extension of the "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" universe. That movie tore me up.
    I get the most frightened when I start to question the purpose of life.

    I guess I am pretty sissy-specific when it comes to reading. Dean Koontz The Darkest Evening of the Year had some scary bad guys--I think of them when I'm camping sometimes.

    I agree that the Bible is pretty scary too. So was The Fairy Queen and Dante's Inferno. Reading news stories can be quite scary too, if you're sissyfide.

    Edit: I thought of one! The Road
     
  14. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Misery and The Shining, definitely.
     
  15. Cain
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    Cain Member

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    +1 for the shining.

    The way he would pepper the text with italicised parenthesis (GET OUT OF HIS MIND, YOU LITTLE SHIT!) so we're hearing the subconscious pushing by the hotel was amazing imo (I assume it's the hotel)
     
  16. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    There's an awful lot of King in this thread... There are much better horror authors out there.
     
  17. nchahine
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    nchahine Member

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    I've got to agree with Banzai; I don't really find King scary, though the movie version of IT was creepy. I guess the closest I've come to being scared by a book is 1984, because of the slow buildup of dread. You knew it wasn't going to end well, you just didn't know in which way. I got to check out the other stories mentioned on this thread, though. I'm in need of a good scare.
     
  18. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    You should read Pet Semetary or Cujo. The Pet Semetary movie is pretty dull, but the book is really creepy at times. It's not just a creepy story in itself, but there's also the whole thing about missing someone so bad that you'll do anything to get them back, but once they do, it might not be such a good idea in the first place. We have countless of zombie stories over the years, but more or less all of them make the stupid mistake of treating zombies like mindless monsters. What Pet Semetary does is simply asking what you would do if the zombie who tries to kill you were someone you really love.

    Same goes for Cujo, which turned into an excellent movie, by the way. In many ways, it's all about a big dog that attacks a woman and her son. But the really creepy part is that this is their own dog. Up until the rabies thing, they loved the dog like a family member. So although the dog tries to kill them, it's not an evil dog. It's just sick, and therefore a victim. How can they kill it instead of trying to cure it, even when their lives are in danger? I have had plenty of dogs over the years, but there was one who became my best friend. Even it was "just a dog" according to some people, I don't think I would be able to kill her even if she tried to kill me. I would do anything to knock her out and find a cure. Killing would be the last option.
     
  19. synger
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    synger New Member

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    The first book I read that kept haunting me was Sleator's "House of Stairs". The idea of these children being isolated in such a strange location, and then slowly conditioned to hurt each other really affected me. It's like "Lord of the Flies" meets a PG-rated "Cube".

    The adult book I read that I re-read every few years for the sheer tingle-factor is "The Stand".
     

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