Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Doomed



I had a very strange moment last night. After I had fallen asleep, it must have been maybe about 30 minutes or so after, I awoke suddenly with a powerful feeling of dread. It was from a dream I had been having and yet I could not recall what the dream entailed. The feeling that I was left with, was extremely tangible and left me with a curious thought:

"Could I write in such a way as to bring that kind of a feeling of dread to my readers?"

I am not a horror writer, but that doesn't mean that I don't have situations in my novels where impending doom is present. If that is the case, do I have what it takes to scribe the perfect set of words to bring about such a feeling for my readers? Do you?

I'd like to know, have you ever written something so powerful, that you or your reader has felt that overwhelming sense of dread or fear? If so, what elements do you feel helped you accomplish that task?

18 comments:

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I don't know about the imparting dread feeling, but last night I had a dream that I was being chased by a dog...and I woke up screaming "nooooo!"

Voidwalker said...

LOL... But dogs are so cute!

Bane of Anubis said...

I have some pretty wicked dreams, normally from 3rd person POV though, so I'm never too scared (I actually tend to enjoy the more horrific ones). As for imparting dread, I haven't tried too much... I'm more gore horror, or the occasional humor horror :)

WV: noids -- makes me fondly remember the Dominoes character from the early 90s?

Catherine Denton said...

I HATE that feeling. But I love it in stories because most of the time it's going to end well. As far as writing and sharing that much feeling...don't know that I've done it yet.

Ann Elle Altman said...

I think it's possible. I have written pretty scary stuff in my mystery novels. I think though, you need experiences like the one you experienced to fully understand the emotions you want to write about.

ann

Stephanie Thornton said...

I don't do horror dread, but I like to set the stage so the reader knows something bad is going to happen. They just don't know what. ;)

Diana Paz said...

Ooh, that's a good one. Capture dread in your writing, I think you'd do it well.

arlee bird said...

I don't think I ever have, at least not that I remember. I've tried, and I'd like to be able to do it, but I think the feeling often is rooted in the subconcious in such a subjective manner that it's difficult to recreate the same feeling for every reader.
Lee

Candice said...

I don't know if I've ever emoted that kind of dread in a reader, but I do have a couple of tense scenes and I find the key is word choice and keeping the structure of your sentences in line with the mode of the scene. For example, if I'm writing a fast paced action packed scene I never write long sentences or use modifiers. I don't say quickly, I write quickly and use a lot of action words. Does that make sense?

P.S. Congratulations on your forthcoming marriage!

Voidwalker said...

Bane: Maybe you should see a doctor for those horror dreams lol. just kidding of course.

Catherine: I've yet to do it in my own writing. I guess we both have a new goal for our writing :)

Ann: I'd love to read some of it, if you ever feel like posting!

Stephanie: Ancient Egyptian writing... you gotta work in some of that terrifying'ness. :)

Diana: Thanks, but I've yet to do it. I've given myself goosebumps though...a close second.

Arlee: You make a good point. Fear/Dread is so subjective, that it would be difficult to translate that across a large demographic of individual readers. I guess I can settle on 'suspenseful' which I think is more easily agreeable by the masses.

Candace: Thank for the congrats! And yes, I definitely know what you mean about action-izing your writing for the moment. (I just made a new word...hoorah!)

catwoods said...

I haven't done dread yet. I usually stick to the humorous slant. It's an audience thing, as I write for the younger set.

Although I did have a shark eat the leg of a dog once...does that count?

Voidwalker said...

Shark eating a dog... HOW COULD YOU!? lol

David J. West said...

It's all about finding what will resonate with the reader-what can you think of that your demographic readership will find dreadful. Kind of depends on what genre you're writing too.

For example if its kid's-forcing responsibility on them of some kind where they have to take charge of some problem or conflict and for adults it would be total loss of control of a conflict.

Hope that was clear.

Girl with One Eye said...

I think your best bet to achieve that is to get up and write immediately. Just write whatever comes to mind even if you can't remember what the dream was about specifically. I think you'll be surprised at how well you capitalize on those feelings.

The book I'm writing now stemmed from a dream that incited a little fear.

Voidwalker said...

David: Yes, it did make sense. I think you summed up a similar point that arlee brought to my attention, which is: Fear is subjective. You guys are so great for feeback :)

GWOE: I'd probably get some good writing if I did that, but when I wake up, I'm tired and probably cranky, so the last thing I want to do is get a pen and paper and scribble my thoughts... I guess a lot of creativity is lost with me, but I NEED my beauty rest LOL :P

Lydia Sharp said...

This has happened to me more than once: Two different readers read the same exact scene. One says it was so powerful it got a physical reaction out of them. The other says it was myeh.

I always want the first reaction. Unfortunately, you can't cater to every reader.

Natalie said...

I don't think I'm very good at dread or fear. I can do laughter and possibly tears but that's about my whole range (it's a good thing I write MG).

Charles Gramlich said...

I don't know if I've done it to others but I've done it to myself. The most powerful scenes in horror are those where you scare yourself, I think.