1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    What scares you?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Jul 8, 2013.

    Or more accurately, what gives you the creeps?

    I'm writing this short story (I want to write novels for a living, really, but short stories seems like the best way to get my name out there) and it's supposed to be kind of creepy. The main character, Merisol Delaney (tentative), is in her early to mid twenties and married. The story takes place on a street in the middle of a small city, where Christmas shopping is popular. I don't mean toys and clothing and electronics, though. I mean fudge shops, Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and bags, and small knick-knacks. It's Christmas Eve, and Meris decided to do some last minute gift shopping. I haven't hashed out all the details yet. I really just wanted to wing it and let it all come together. But I do know how I want it to end and I hope it'll come off as unexpected, but who knows, right?

    Anyway. The whole story needs to be a little creepy. For example, the clouds are so thick they blot out the moon and the stars. On the strip, it's light and warm and happy. But further out, the city is shrouded in fog so thick, you can't see ten feet in front of you. I planned on having the people on the street be overly friendly and fake -- the kind of smiles that give you chills and eyes that are hollow and void of emotion. Etc., etc...

    So what creeps you out? :) Not ghosts and demons, but situations and whatnot. I hope this makes sense. lol


    Thanks!
    Lea
     
  2. Darkjester79
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    Darkjester79 Member

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    It was the end of the day for parents day at my son's boyscout summer camp. I had never been there before and his cabin was in the center of the camp making for a long trek. My wife and mom caught a ride back with a friend of theirs through the camp via main trails but I had to walk (No room in the car.) I gotta tell you walking through narrow trails at night without a flashlight in an unknown enviroment.......kinda creeped me out. Couple that with it was pretty still in the forest and I could hear but not see other parents walking other paths. All I hear was random bits of conversations and half words helping my imagination alot. Plus for a short time there , I actually thought I might have gotten lost. Yeah.
     
  3. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    The unknown. Alien is the perfect example of how this works. The story starts with a horrid act, and then it literally bursts onto the scene.

    Later on, we realize how big the monster has become, but our imagination fills in the blanks, which is actually GREAT. Leaving out details, having it roam the shadows, and in the darkness, makes us afraid. As the story goes on, we get more and more, and then in the end, we see the whole, horrid thing. That's why it is effective though- By then, we want to know. If they NEVER revealed the whole thing, we might even fear it even more.


    Humans are, fundamentally, terrified of what is in the dark. Our night vision sucks.

    So sounds, darkness, and the lack of knowledge freak people out.
     
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  4. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I second what maskedhero said about the unknown (Alien is awesome, only second to Aliens).

    Another is what my favorite singer, Molly Harvey, wrote in her poem:

    “Sleeping is a familiar kind of torture, the world of my sick dreams and night sweats a known quantity. It is my waking life that has started to take on new and demonic proportions—violence in places one would normally not think of...”

    "Violence in places one would normally not think of" is the key line here. Things like the Münchausen syndrome, a loving mother secretly giving her small child Ipecac, a man suddenly hurting his wife after years of blissful marriage, a surgeon botching the surgery on purpose, hurting a patient who has trusted him/her with his/her life by going under the knife with no idea that the person supposed to heal them actually hurts them while they are helpless, things like that are kinda creepy to me.

    Another is when things go horribly wrong. Like in the aforementioned Aliens: these super-badass soldiers, well trained, experienced, equipped with state of the art weapons, armor, and technology, and still they get their asses kicked by a very low-tech enemy (a metaphor for the Vietnam war where USA fought a high-tech war against a low-tech enemy and, a lot of the time, lost). It creates a sense of panic: "If these unbeatable space marines, who are the toughest, the best, get wiped out by these baddies, what hope is there for the rest of us?" I guess the key is the absence of hope caused by the realization that there is nobody who can help you, nobody who can overcome the evil that is threatening you.
     
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  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Stalkers creep me out. So character feeling they are being watched or followed or even the whole 'the call is coming from inside the house", brrrrr....
     
  6. Mot
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    Mot Member

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    I have experienced sleep paralysis before, and it was the single most terrifying thing I have ever encountered or had to live through. Someone slammed a car door outside my window, and I woke up to see someone watching me from by the door. People also talk about being unable to run or scream in dreams. The helplessness is what scares me.
     
  7. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Clowns. Eurgh. Seriously creepy.

    (On the other hand, walking through dark woods or hanging around in abandoned buildings after dark I actually really like).
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    spiders, scorpions and the like... not much else, though i'm still a bit acrophobic...
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not happy in tunnels, and you'll never get me into a cave. I'm not claustrophobic in any other situations, though. Just being underground ...it creeps me out.
     
  10. Steve Day
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    Steve Day Senior Member

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    Jaws is even better, and we don't see "Brucie" until the end. In the film music takes the place of the monster. I don't know what Peter Benchley does in the book- haven't read it.
    The unseen is scarier than the reality. The original Frankenstein film is scary, King Kong is not.
    Stephen King has made a career of being 'scary', so read some of his work.
     
  11. Annaberru
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    Annaberru Member

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    What scares me to no end is when I see/hear proof that there is cold evil in the world.
    The actions T. Trian was talking about describe it quite well.
    When someone does sometihng so unexplainable, cold and evil that everbody goes silent when they hear the news, I get chills sent down my spine, and I feel lost and afraid. I think it's the thought that this person was once a 'real' human, and that whatever it is now started out like the rest of us, that I can never know who it might be next, because it could be anyone I see.

    Those thoughts lead to paranoia, which can make a scary situation even worse for the person in question.
     
  12. Anonymoose
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    Anonymoose New Member

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    This. This. This. Helplessness is a big one! And I feel your pain dude, sleep paralysis is horrifying!

    That and isolation. If alone and isolated it will enhance any kind of fear.
     
  13. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    One of my fears is actually the opposite of isolation. I get creeped out quite severely by being somewhere crowded. I'm fine if I have a friend around but if I'm alone then I just want away as fast as humanly possible.

    Another one is when bad things happen in daylight. It's not quite as much a shock to hear of something happening in the night as it is during the day. During the day is supposed to be safe whereas night is supposed to be more dangerous.
     
  14. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is something I'm afraid of:
    Getting lost in the woods at night. I mean, you didn't mean to spend the night there, but you get so hopelessly lost. What makes it even scarier to me is that I actually have an okay sense of direction, but in the dark things look so different, it's hard to remember landmarks and stuff, many things look the same. Then your cell phone's battery dies. No GPS, no chance to call anyone anymore. Should you stay put or find your way out? Should you backtrack? You're thirsty, tired, it's cold, your feet are wet, there's still some snow on the ground, but some paths have flooded because of the melting snow. It's hard to find tracks.
    My home country has huge woods to get lost in. You might not be found before it's too late.
     
  15. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    For some reason that sounds like fun to me. I surprisingly enjoy getting lost, especially in the woods though I'll admit I have the security of decent survival skills to fall back on so maybe that safety net makes things a little easier.
     
  16. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sleep paralysis sucks, big time. I've experienced it... well, over a dozen times and it's always the same: I'm sleeping in my bed with my wife and I wake up when something goes 'bump' in the living room. Someone is there, someone who wishes to harm us, and I'm awake but unable to move a muscle or even utter a single word. And every time I wake up with a grunt, a few times reaching for my gun before I realize it was just a (waking) dream. But they feel so real that sometimes I can't really relax until I've swept through the house with a flashlight and the 9mm even though I know there's nobody there, but the ritual helps my brain calm down and accept the fact I already know, that it was just yet another case of sleep paralysis.
     
  17. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not entirely hopeless myself, but that situation scares me nonetheless. I haven't gotten lost like that, it's been close, but situation has never been that bad. Still, to me the scenario is nightmarish, and I never ever go to woods unprepared anymore.

    To be honest, getting lost in general unnerves me. Maybe it's tied to the fear of helplessness that others have mentioned here.
     
  18. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    I have rarely felt helpless, mostly because I believe that our time do die is set and that we shall not perish before it so I usually accept whatever comes and do my best to get through it.
     
  19. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Being locked in the bathroom - no idea why I obsess over it, but the moment I lock the door, I wanna unlock it immediately just to check it isn't stuck. I don't have this if I can see the lock, like the toilets in England where you turn a lever and you see a bolt go through. I hate it in the Czech Republic cus all the locks are proper locks with keys, and the door spans floor to ceiling, unlike normal toilet cubicles.

    Just being trapped anywhere in general freaks me out. You'd never ever catch me in a cave, mine, or submarine. Too scared I'd get stuck. Once I decided to use the stairs in the London underground (subway/metro for the non-Brits) - I didn't know then it was the deepest freaking tunnel in all of London - it was about 20 floors deep, through a spiral staircase with no breaks, no other exit - it's either up or down, dimly lit in this wan yellow light. And beside me my husband was saying, "Gosh can you imagine when they were digging this hole, how deep it must be, and what if they got stuck?"

    Seriously, it was the first and only time I came close to having a panic attack. My heart was pounding faster by the second even when I'd stopped walking - it just wouldn't slow down and in fact it was picking up speed - and I knew I had to slow my heart rate or I'd never make it out of there. By this point I was half way up. And I was like, my husband would never be able to carry me up, which means he'll need to leave me here in order to get help, which would be the absolute worst, to be left alone and unable to get out. So I forced myself to go very, very slowly, told my husband to shut the hell up about being stuck down here, and talked to myself in my head repeating, "One step at a time, one step at a time. These are stairs. You know, as long as you keep going, you WILL get out. One step at a time."

    When I finally got out, I sat on the curb for 30min shaking and crying my eyes out. It took me some 3-4 months before I was willing to return to that tube stop! (and I took the lift next time lol)
     
  20. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    I forgot a slight fear I have. Being stuck in a lift. A scene from Dark Floors always comes to mind where the lift is stuck between floors then when it descends the hospital is deserted and the characters are attacked by members of Lordi. Also the thought of being stuck in a small room for a good length of time bothers me.
     
  21. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    I was backpacking in Kenya and this group of teens and pre-teens began following me. I was in the middle of nowhere and there was nobody that would help me. These guys were just following me at about 20 paces back. They talked and acted like normal guys, but they turned everywhere i turned. And I was completely alone. Turned out they were just curious about me and wanted to ask about where I came from and why i was there. But being followed, when i felt completely alone, is one of the creepiest sensations I've ever experienced.
     
  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think that's actually a very primeval fear. How often does this sort of thing happen in old folk tales, eh? And then you come across a little house, all by itself, and it's made of gingerbread? Or it's empty, with 7 little stools and 7 little beds...
     
  23. Malo Beto
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    Malo Beto Member

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    Being in an unknown environment and being unable to see. Like if you fell into a cave and didn't have a flashlight. Also the Uncanny Valley and Nothing is Scarier
     
  24. NeonFraction
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    NeonFraction Member

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    Things being slightly out of place and not knowing why. A monster is a monster, but it's the little things that make thing creepy. When someone doesn't blink enough. When they keep glancing at you. When someone is a little TOO nice. When something isn't where you put it and no one else is in the house. When a hot glass suddenly goes cold. A door that is open when all the others are closed.
    Oh, and anything involving eyeballs. Just NO!
     
  25. Lisztomania
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    Lisztomania Member

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    heights, even on youtube skydiving and stuff creeps me out.
     

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