Saturday, September 3, 2011

SUPER AWESOME BIG TIME REWRITE: Do You Ever Get Freaked Out By What You're Writing?

I don't write horror. I barely read horror and probably only watch a horror movie every five years. I'm not a wimp. It's just that certain images, usually the unwanted ones, seem to stay in my head for. ev .er.

After watching The Ring (Yes, I know it's not as scary as the original Japanese version. That's why I haven't watched the original Japanese version) I didn't want to sleep in my own dorm room because my TV always glowed in the dark. (Seriously! It glowed!) So I spent the night at a friend's.

I don't think the scenes that I was working on at the end of last week are particularly scary. Mostly likely its a combination of the fact that A) when I write I often stay up into the wee small hours when the house and neighborhood are at its darkest and quietest and B) I recently read this creepy-ass Korean webcomic. (Crap! I just refreshed my memory of it when I looked up the link. I hope to appreciate the things I do for you! Also, read it at your own risk. Seriously.)

The first two nights after reading it, I stayed up until sunrise writing. I was really hungry but didn't go into the dark kitchen for food. I claim its because I was so very into those pages, but I know the truth. I didn't want the scary lady from the creepy-ass Korean webcomic sneaking up on me in the dark.

Kamsamnida, creepy-ass Korean webcomic creators. Kam-freaking-samnida.

But on the plus side, I wrote a combined 6,000 words those nights so maybe I really should thank whoever made that webcomic happen, and read/watch scary things more often whilst I'm at it.

Anyway, back to the scene was working on the other night. In it, my character deals with something really scary happening to her. As I writing, it's approaching 2 in the AM and I'm trying to get across how much the incident affected her (i.e. I'm writing about being scared) and I start remembering all the (few) creepy stuff I've read/seen in the last few years including the manga series featuring this subtle yet creepy tale. (Click on pic to read whole tale. P.S. Read it right to left, top to bottom.)

And pretty soon I'm too freaked to even read the words I'm writing. And let me tell you something, it's hard to type a scene with your eyes closed.

I was even freaked out by the cover of the Robert Johnson CD cover laying on my desk.

(Robert Johnson was an iconic blues man who, according to legend,
sold his soul to the devil in order to become an excellent musician.
This manga is a pretty excellent fictionalized account of his life.)

I decided to quit for the night and watch a slapstick 90s sitcom before I going to bed. Better to continue writing when the sun and people were up.

Maybe it's a sign of the writer doing something right when she's freaked out by her own words...or maybe I'm just a big wimp.

Probably the latter.


  1. Hi Cacy. I think it's good to get freaked out by what you're writing occasionally -- it shows you are fully engaged and immersed within the material and also that you are still capable of surprising yourself. If you're disturbed by the content of your material, chances are readers will be to -- and this is, after all, what we want, isn't it? We want readers to feel something when they read our words.

    I do almost all my writing in the dead of night -- I find the calm of the house really helps me focus. The only issue I have is trying to combat the tiredness! Late night caffeine helps.

    Honestly, I get genuinely more disturbed and freaked out by stories I read or hear in the news than any horror film I've ever seen.

  2. When I was a kid I was convinced I could summon up Satan by accidentally saying gibberish - I think I'd been reading too many horror stories. But I find the opposite is true of writing -- the scarier I write a thing, the less power it has over me. So I'll write a thing as awful and bloody and horrible as I can. I think it's a form of exorcism, or therapy, or something!

  3. Neil - Thanks for the encouragement! For me, tiredness is the problem with my dead of night writing schedule. Its the hunger. By around 2am, I'm starving. But it's not supposed to be good eat in the middle of the night...

    Jen - When I was a kid I thought I made quicksand in the backyard because I mixed dirt and water together in a hole in the ground. Fearful of what I created, I ran inside and hoped no one would step in it. Ah, to be a child... Our responses to our scary writings is probably psychological.

  4. There's a Supernatural episode regarding Robert Johnson.

    I think part of the issue with you being so scared after watching a scary movie may have to do with an overactive imagination. This is a blessing for a writer. So count that as a good thing and deal with it in the best ways that you know how.