The Adrenaline Rush of Writing Horror by Heather Marie
There’s a sense of urgency that comes with horror. That feeling of your blood icing in your veins, sending your heart beating violently in your chest. Your breath hitches in your throat, anticipating what will happen next. You don’t know whether to turn away, or continue to witness what torturous thing the character will encounter before they’re out of reach. It’s that moment where you know it’s wrong to want to see the pain inflicted on their face, but somehow you can’t help but watch. You’ve invested so much already. There’s no going back now. You’re caught in the moment, watching, hoping, and fearing what anguish awaits. You want to know. You need to know. And when the moment comes, you can see it before they do. You want to scream. You want to tell them to turn back. But they keep running, colliding with their untimely end.
The adrenaline that accompanies this sort of setup is something we all look for. It’s the rush of it that’s intoxicating. There’s something about it that eats you up and you can’t help but let that fear mix with pleasure, because deep down we all need that excitement of the unknown. Whether you’re watching it on T.V. or flipping the pages of a book, horror gets your mind racing, and it’s the adventure of it that makes your chest ache with exhilaration and despair. People can deny it all they want, but they like being scared. And what’s better than being scared? Being the person who creates it. I find that even I get scared as I’m writing––fighting the urge to look over my shoulder, or avoiding the glare from the T.V., in fear that someone lurks behind me. That’s when I know I’m doing it right. Creating those images in someone’s head and getting the right reaction is difficult to pinpoint at times, but its the intensity, the buildup in which it’s described is what drives the fear. The excitement that comes with writing horror is what keeps me going. It took me a long time to discover that supernatural/horror was what I’m meant to write. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid, and fear is one of those things I can’t deny. It’s such a strong emotion, and dabbling in that and getting a reaction from readers is what I live for.
So the next time you find yourself alone, give your old friend, Horror, a call.
Go on . . . try it. Don’t be scared.
Heather Marie is a YA writer represented by Michelle Witte at Mansion Street Literary. She lives in Northern California with her husband and baby box turtle. When she’s not writing or plotting her next idea, she spends an unhealthy amount of time watching Netflix and picking apart plot holes in movies.