Things That Go Bump in the Night

Tobin @ Oakwell: 2010
Tobin @ Oakwell: 2010 (Photo credit: mySAPL)

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Traci Kenworth


I prefer the word Scary book to Horror. Most likely because most people think of horror as an abomination and although some of the things I write about, no doubt, are, I still prefer to leave the reader with something to think about on a day-to-day level and not just shovel out blood and guts. Not that all horror books do. I just prefer scary because it confides a reaction our reader will hopefully have while reading. I know people can be horrified by scenes in books too or what the theme implies but what I want to do is dig down into the ether of our souls and show what lies there. That, to me, is scary. Horror denotes a bucket of repulsion. Scary can be defeated. Horror lives on.

I don’t know about you, but I want to believe some of the characters will survive, triumph even, in the end. When there’s a mass slaughtering, I come away with a what’s the point question. I like chills as much as the next person but when it’s over and done, wouldn’t you sleep easier knowing that the boogeyman has been blasted back into the dark grave he crawled from? Or the police found the killer in question and he’s now behind bars rather than jet-setting to Europe to begin a new onslaught there? The horror that surrounds Jack the Ripper never ends. He’s real and even the best detectives couldn’t uncover his identity. I imagine his terror haunts many an alleyway, dark street, and parking lot at night still. Copycats abound.

When I suffer through my characters with some monstrosity, I want to believe they have a chance, a method to defeat the Big Bad in the end. To kill them all off would actually be easier than letting them win. It takes pain, it takes work, everything you’re got to go up against something that means to destroy you. Whether this be in real life or fiction, readers can take away a sliver of hope, perhaps, that they too can overcome. In The Stand, Stephen King re-built a future home for people in Colorado. Within The Watchers, Dean Koontz showed us that even the common man can defeat evil.  Even the worst of monsters, Dracula, met his fate at the end of a simple stake. So what are your opinions on scary versus horror? Do you prefer survivors or an all-out zombie buffet? Which would make you sleep better at night?

4 thoughts on “Things That Go Bump in the Night

  1. I prefer scary. There is no point in blood and guts if there isn’t a hero. Every story needs a sacrifice but every story needs someone to take us to the end. We need a guide to make it to the Dark Tower, the end of the yellow brick road, or the zombie free boat about to launch.


  2. I’ve never thought of it this way. I prefer survivors. And I prefer if the book is a combination of horror and scary. Is that possible? Or is that just a cop out to the question? 😀


  3. I don’t think there is a cop out, Stina!! Everyone’s opinion matters!! I knew going into this post, some might think I was trying to tone down what I write by calling it “scary” instead of “horror,” I just wanted to explain why I prefer the one over the other. I think it’s all in how you look at things. Like I said, to me, horror implies a “no turning back/no one’s coming out of this alive” mentality while “scary” suggests to me, that the world can and will be rebuilt should those pesky zombies ever stumble into our streets (God forbid). Lol. 🙂


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