Well, c'mon, it is the month for Halloween after all!
So if you're writing horror stories, how much detail should you go into? When is too much gore a bad thing? Well, I'll give you my humble opinion, do with it what you will...
I was a big fan of Dean Koontz for a while, a long time ago. Then I read one of his books, I can't even remember the name of it, and I almost got sick by page 10. There was a scene in an abandoned Tunnel of Love (if this sounds familiar to anyone let me know), and it was so graphic and gory that I couldn't finish it.
To me, the best effective scare in any genre or medium, is one where the IMAGINATION of the reader is where the horror lies.
In movies, for example, Alfred Hitchcock never once shows the knife going into Janet Leigh. Not once.
In Stephen King's IT, easily one of the scariest books I've ever read, the details of the first victim's death includes very little detail. He uses other senses to let your imagination piece together what happened, and how horrible it is.
"...and suddenly there was a ripping noise and a flaring sheet of agony, and George Denbrough knew no more."
"The left side of George's slicker was now bright red. Blood flowed into the stormdrain from the tattered hole where the left arm had been. A knob of bone, horribly bright, peeked through the torn cloth."
Simple. Just descriptive enough to let you know what was going on, but not gushing with blood, guts or dismemberment. In fact, the focus of that entire scene isn't the horror of a young boy dying, it's the horror of the THING that's killing him: it's in a FRIGGING SEWER!
So I say minimize the descriptive details of the gore. We don't need a lesson in how a bleeding artery sprays blood over the face of the victim while the rubbery intestines seep out of the cut spreading across the abdomen. That's a little gross.
You could say that the hero felt his world going black and a horrible burning as his body ripped open. The rest you just leave up to the reader.
In my opinion...
I'm starting a new book today with that as the title. "The Strength To Stand Up. Memoirs of an Unemployed Man." People have...
Great time had at the SCBWI conference on Saturday! And a big hello to my friends from that conference who've hopefully joined us here....