June 6, 2017
There is a pretty common question amongst horror and thriller writers—writers of books built to unnerve or otherwise unsettle a reader. How do you build a workable monster? Of course, workable means different things to different people. You can’t scare everyone all the time, because everyone’s scared of different things. Jack’s afraid of spiders, while Jane gets freaked out by demons. Sharks terrify Hank, but Susie loves them. Enclosed spaces creep Tim out, while ghosts give Lori the willies. Now you may think, “Hey, let’s just combine all those fears into one nebulous ball of horror—say, a demon shark with eight hairy legs that lurks in tight tunnels . . . and is coincidentally a ghost, somehow.” Of course, that won’t work. Not that some artist hasn’t tried it at some desperate point in their career.