Microfiction: The Vending Machine That Has A Lot of Cans In It

George picked up a can when he felt the soft static in the air. The key was under one of these; he was certain he’d find it. It had only been an hour since the last time he’d needed it—surely even he wouldn’t misplace it so easily.

But each can would invariably come up short. It wasn’t underneath the soda can. It wasn’t beneath the can of bug spray. It wasn’t here; it wasn’t there.

In frustration, he cast out his hand—scattering the metal everywhere. The sound was deafening, those cheap materials crashing against the wooden table. Continue reading

A Trick for First Person Horror

In my continuing studies of the horror genre, I noticed a method of creating scares for a first-person perspective. And that’s cool because I considered it a harder way of doing horror in certain cases. And, outside of what I’m about to say, that’s for one reason: you can’t kill your narrator. If you do, the story ends.

So, if you’re staying inside the head of a single character, you can only show scary things—you can’t have it get them.

The workaround for this is “The Victim.” Continue reading

“The Sin” In Horror

This is not a universal rule, and I’ve seen exceptions to it—but I’ve been noticing a pattern in a lot of horror media. And it has to do with rules and taboos. Now, there’s the whole thing in classic slashers where a character does something (usually sexual) and then is murdered for it—but I mean something else. I mean something not full of outdated stereotypes and implications. Continue reading

How To Scare Someone In Four Steps

I’ve written a zonking amount of horror short stories on this site. And, though I’m by no means an extreme expert on the subject, I have worked out four steps I find most horror stories fall into and obey. You could call it the “Horror Story Structure.” It’s a rough, overarching template that allows a framework when constructing scares.

Now, this is better applied to short stories. The nature of horror in long-form, the stretched version, must allow an ebb and a flow to the proceedings. If not, you risk simply burning away the reader in a fury of violent imagery. But, if applied sensibly, and dolloped over a more character-focused progression, this can work for anything horror-related you would care to make.

So, here we go. Four steps in sequence. I call it the “EITT” method. Use it and terrify. Continue reading

Microfiction: The Curious Interview

During the job interview, it became apparent that the applicant sitting across from Stephen was melting. Something black and syrupy was leaking from the corner of his eye and was dribbling down his chin.

It took a moment of composure, but Stephen had been interviewing people for the past ten hours and momentum got him to the next inquiry.

“So, do you have anything you’d like to ask me?” Continue reading

Microfiction: The Listening Orb

It did nothing but listen. Sitting there, glowing with a faint level of power, it listened to mankind. Throughout all recorded time, it stood as a stalwart ear for the world’s secrets. It pondered and gleamed what humankind did not know even about itself. Continue reading