Crazy Ralph

 

Today, I would like to talk about how certain elements in writing can contribute to enabling a reader to show emotion in reaction to what the author has put on the page.  Sometimes the author has the ability to make the reader laugh out loud due to a rather character’s sarcastic tone or simply a bit of slapstick .  Other times the reader can be trapped in a scene based on what’s happening to a particular character in the book. A reader will sense a feeling of fear as to what is happening in between pages, notably in the horror genre. That is the aspect I want to focus on today.

Fear can be displayed many ways, and affects the reader, the viewer, and can influence your muse when drawing inspiration from either a movie or a book.  Currently I am working on a second draft for our writing club of a type of horror-related drama involving a summer camp.  Putting the pieces together at first was pretty easy, but it was the second draft that really had an impact on my psyche.  The feedback I received regarding the first draft included the fact that there needed to be more of a fear element to make it look more daunting and ominous.

Originally, I had a really good scene involving a groundskeeper at the campsite warning the counselors, before the start of actual camp, that something was not right. He told them to beware of a certain something on campus. Does it sound somewhat familiar? If you are a horror movie buff then it should.  This circumstance is a template of a scene from the first two Friday the 13th movies.  Crazy Ralph is the old man who warns the counselors of Camp Crystal Lake not to work at the summer camp due to a murder spree that happened previously on or near the original camp site.

Romance blossoming at Camp Crystal Lake

My story falls into the genre of what my writing group likes to call “Corporate Gothic”, which is defined as a story that intertwines the concept of a workspace and an element of horror. The workspace in my story is the camp setting and the element of horror is the condition of the water on the campus. If someone doesn’t drink from the right source, they could die. That lets the reader know that the protagonist could be in trouble and leads to a sense of fear for both the characters in the story and quite possibly the readers themselves. 

Although the basis of my story might not sound too “horrific”, it can still teach us a lesson in basic fear and how to overcome the tragedy within the story.  Fear can also teach us a lesson in morality and how we handle relationships going forward. Usually, the end all to a story or a movie wraps up with some positive advice for both the reader or the viewer.  So, next time you’re out and about on a camping trip or want to explore that cabin in the woods, beware that silly old man telling tales and stay safe out there!