1. ancientdragon48
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    ancientdragon48 New Member

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    Horrific settings

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by ancientdragon48, Dec 27, 2015.

    I'm working on a piece and by golly I'm clique-ing it. (Yes I can admit to my own flaws)

    What, in your opinion my fellow writers, is a perfect place for a horror setting?....that doesn't involve fog on a lake. Let the creative juices flow!
     
  2. Aster
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    Aster Member

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    What makes a setting horrifying is what happens there.

    A house is just a house until night falls, silence pervades every room, and all you feel is the cold and your own heartbeat.
     
  3. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    A setting that is too picture-perfect to be true. You just know it harbors some dark secret, and there are subtle clues as to what it might be. Your imagination runs wild.

    An effective introduction to a horror setting is like a miniskirt. It is revealing enough to be interesting, but it leaves something to the imagination.
     
  4. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Horror works well anywhere where it doesn't belong. Anywhere where it is not expected.

    It can work literally anywhere.
    Imagine a familiar place. Your house, for example. It's located in a safe neighborhood, and you've never been in any real danger.

    "You're watching the television in your living room like you always do at night. It's getting late, and you're about to fall asleep on the sofa. There's a knock on the door, and you check to see who it is. Realizing that it's your friend, you immediately open the door for them. However, now that they've stepped into the light, you feel as though there is something wrong with them. You can't quite tell what it is, but a feeling of dread has entered with the cold air as you opened that door."

    "You're watching the television in your living room like you always do at night. It's getting late, and you're about to fall asleep on the sofa. There's a knock on the door, and you check to see who it is. There is nobody there. Before you can close the door, you hear the knock again. At that moment, you realize that the knocks are coming from within your own house. You live alone."

    "You're watching the television with your family one afternoon. Your favorite program is interrupted by the threat of global nuclear war."

    So, disguise your horror as any other genre to surprise the reader once they're immersed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
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  5. GrandJury
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    GrandJury Member

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    Question. How could one make a public place scary? (Think: mall, supermarket, etc.)
     
  6. Haze-world
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    Haze-world Senior Member Supporter

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    I am new to writing but i wrote a truly horrific scene in my fantasy as someone's flash back and it was an attack by a small army unit on a wizard's school. It was graphic and grim, yet set in the most beautiful setting within the grounds. I emphasised the beauty as a harsh contrast to the horror. It worked well for me and when my writing improves it should be more powerful.
     
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  7. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Anything that is more powerful than the public should work. Disease, terrorists, police, supernatural creatures that are invisible to everyone else, etc.

    Horror works by making the reader feel powerless.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
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  8. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Good definition!
     
  9. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Any place can be scary.

    I'll second that. Destroy the image of security a public place projects. Eliminate the idea of a safety in familiarity, so that the reader treats everything they thought they knew as foreign- and dangerous.

    One way to do this is to manipulate the things we are most familiar with (in a familiar setting, like a house). Think: An old portrait on the wall, a closed bathroom curtain- the gentle, numbing hum of silence.

    Execute it well,

    • ...and a portrait seems to morph into something akin to a peculiar stranger, smiling at you, from across the room...
    • ...and the harmless curtain suddenly gains the potential to hide a crouched killer behind its bright colors...
    • ...and the silence unveils strange noises, coming downstairs living room...

    ^ Key idea? Paranoia. Infiltrate and manipulate certainty, so the reader cannot trust anything. It's takes skill to make a reader feel creeped out, but it's an art to make them turn and jump at every small sound. Any place can be scary, as long as you isolate the things that don't make it scary, and make those things scary.

    Hope I helped! :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
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  10. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    you could make a public place scary by making it empty. Imagine walking into a supermarket and nobody is there, you would instantly know something is wrong. Or on the other hand you could just have the feeling as you are suffling through the crowd someone is following you but is impossible to tell whom.
     
  11. GrandJury
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    GrandJury Member

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    I see. Ochalis had a pretty good explanation, too.

    An empty supermarket attacks the idea of a supermarket buzzing with people (a familiar and normal site). The absolute absence of people in a place that we understand is usually very lively puts us in a situation that is foreign and strange to us, and therefore, alerting. And scary.
     
  12. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    I have always found damp, dark places scary. Maybe something like a basement just after a flood and it sounds like something is down there.
    Or even, somewhere like an giant empty room like a gymnasium with just the sound of the fans blowing and clicking above you
     
  13. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    I don't think it's the setting that makes the horror, it's what happens. The setting FOR such an event, though, needs to be something that will emphasize the action that is happening.

    For example, if a person is going to be tortured, it will seem scarier in a cold room and in the dark than, say, in the middle of the day in your kitchen at home. I think you need to provoke certain senses and feelings from the setting alone (being cold, not being able to see who is touching you, yet feeling pain and you don't even know where to expect it). The setting shouldn't be the main focus, it should be the supporting role, so it must lube you up for the horrific things you want your readers to really experience.

    Put every sense in discomfort: the smells are foul (or deeply unpleasant somehow), sight is obstructed (blindness, darkness, bright light), pain is the obvious one for touch, and maybe a very, very low drone that vibrates painfully in your ears and makes your want to bash your head in. Oy. This is why I don't write horror.

    *Shudders*
     

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