Thursday, May 17, 2018

Writing Those Scary Parts

by Linda Thorne

When I wrote my first book, I came across big segments where I found myself drawn so heavily into the story, I forgot who was writing and editing it. There were moments when I’d sit up and bat my lashes, returning to reality. Other authors have told me they do the same thing. I think it comes naturally since it’s our work, our love and our passion. Unfortunately, none of this means the reader will have the same experience.

With my second book this happened, still does, but with one big difference. In the second book, my work-in-progress, I find myself truly frightened by the inciting incident. Why?

The scene was created from something that happened to me when I was 22 years-old. My boyfriend had talked me into following him to a college town in Kansas where I found a job and a place to live with two roommates in an upstairs room of an old rickety house. The landlady and her daughter lived downstairs in a section beside the stairwell. On the day before Thanksgiving with a major blizzard imminent, the landlady and her daughter left to stay with relatives, my roommates took off for their family homes in other parts of Kansas, and the neighborhood became a ghost town. Many things happened to me that Thanksgiving weekend while I was the sole occupant of the old, frame house.

I wrote my experiences of that weekend into backstory, where the inciting incident occurs. In this flashback, my lead character is 20 years-old and she goes through everything I went through, culminating in a dangerous incident followed the next day by terrifying news.

So, starts the story of my second book, A Promotion to Die For.

What about you? Have you written scary scenes from real-life experiences or totally made-up fiction that frighten you when you’re reading or revising your own work?


Zari Reede said...

Ok, you got me. Now I’m dying to hear the rest of your story! Our third book, Sins of the Sister, spawned from a real incident that happened to me in my thirties. I was in a bar with my friends, and someone drugged my drink. I felt immediately sick, and I ran to the front of the bar and outside the front door. My husband at that time thought I had just had too much to drink. I barely had three. The next time we visited the same bar, the same thing happened, but this time a girlfriend interrupted me and drank my champagne before I even had a sip. She was immediately sick and ran to the bathroom. The staff insisted they had to close and wouldn’t let us stay. They wanted us to leave her there in their bathroom! Luckily we were a large group and the guys we were with went in and carried her out. We never went back and it was a few yrs later that the bar was closed due to abducting girls for sex trafficking. They were targeting girls with long blonde hair. It was scary, and I try not to think about what if I had ran to the bathroom instead of grabbing my husband and running out the front of the bar.

Linda Thorne said...

My goodness, Zari, that is a really scary true event. That's a book - a movie!!! Sex traffickers! Wow.
Actually, what happened to me when I was 22 was something I got out of because of an absolute fluke. A one-in-a-million little thing that happened at just the right moment. It was like some force was watching over me. It makes for a good inciting incident.