Dark and Obscure
I’ve always found those dark and obscure stories interesting.
And they are interesting because they mess with our curiosity and our desire to learn more and the desire to shed light into the unknown. That is why gore never appealed to me. I hate blood, I hate needles, but that doesn’t give me anything other than cold sweat or the sense of nausea and disgust. Shocking is very different from scaring. You can close your eyes when such a scene is playing out and everything will be fine afterwards, but with terror not even with your eyes closed you can escape that restlessness. You wonder if everything is the way it’s supposed to be, you wonder if those things you’ve seen or heard actually exist and hope they don’t. And then you hear and see things like a time machine for instance and wonder if it could actually be done, you think of the implications, you let your imagination run wild.
I’ve read The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers not long ago and was impressed. I wasn’t impressed by the style or the stories, it’s nothing very spectacular, but those little clues, those references to works that do not exist; those things captivate me. Small elements about the play and characters are disclosed; references to the yellow sign and that damned play are featured often, but seldom explained. Explaining them would just ruin the aura of course.
The same goes with the Necronomicon, conceived by H. P. Lovecraft. It is mentioned time and time again, people read from it, you know how the book came to be and you know the effects it produces, you even know what it’s about, but you have very little in terms of actual content.
Yet many people know of the Necronomicon, many people know about the play called The King in Yellow. Some people tried to create them, but I think it just ruins the effect. Such things must linger in the minds of the readers. If you show the contents people are bound to be disappointed.
Obviously these elements are not restricted to the horror or terror genres, they can be featured in thrillers, suspense stories, almost every genre; but they must be used with caution.
I tried writing a story featuring a notebook with a dark past, but now I see that I did it wrong: I wrote down everything that was written in it. It was necessary for my story, but in the process I failed to consider how that one little notebook could have even worse implications.
The key is in not really showing, for the more you show, the less value it will have. Give your readers something to think about. The sky is the limit here and it just gave me a good idea for a flash fiction with the psychological thriller aspect. I’ve mentioned a book and a play, but why not a painting, or something along those lines?
Hope I gave you something to think about. Oh and by the way there will be no Haiku today, maybe a quote if I can find the time.
Have a nice day!