Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Horror of it all

I love Stephen King.

During about a six month stretch in late '01, early '02, I read IT, MISERY, THE SHINING, THE DARK HALF, THE GREEN MILE, ON WRITING, BAG OF BONES and probably a few others. And all of them were great. Each had moments that really struck me, whether it's his comments on writing in MISERY and THE DARK HALF or his utmost creepy moments in IT and THE SHINING.

Very rarely am I freaked out reading a book. King has been able to do that to me several times.

In the last month, I tried to read THE STAND.

And I couldn't finish it.

And it made me think about what freaks me out in a book. And for the most part, it's the little things. Whether it's Pennywise in the sewer in IT or a father turned bad in THE SHINING, the small horrors scare me the most.

I think it's because the little things seem plausible. I can imagine someone snapping at a moments notice and trying to kill a family. I can actually imagine someone grabbing a person's leg through a sewer grate. Those details stick with me.

In fact, I was compelled by the first 300 pages of the THE STAND. I believed in the Captain Trips' superflu. But beyond that the book started to get too big for me. I couldn't find a way to ground myself in the book. There weren't many characters I could believe in.

If characters are scared of real things, if the characters believe in these things, so can I. But in THE STAND it was all beyond me. I'm not much into fantasy.

I want to feel the fear of the characters. I want to feel my own fear. When it's something completely made up, I lose interest.

So, what about you? What scares you in books?

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Anything with kids. I find it hard to finish a book where a child is in too much jeopardy.