Re-read the title, I’ll give you a second. Okay, raise your hands if you’ve ever heard those words of advice. One, two… so a few of you have. Do you believe it? Deep down when you write anything from a letter to a story, do you truly write what you know?
Whoa, don’t everybody answer at once.
Those words are advice I think we’ve all heard. I think they are true from a certain point of view. I read a lot of books in the horror genre and if authors are writing what they know, this place is seriously messed up. Demons, werewolves, and vampires are a few of the troupes used in horror, but do we know them? Can we go out and ask a thousand year old vampire how they feel about something as research for a book? No, so how can we write what we know?
Well, we can write about our fears.
When the dark descends and the storm blows in from the west, we feel something inside of us. See the man in the long black coat standing out in the street over there? I see him and he scares me. The world today is a scary place and this fear we internalize is what we can write about.
I know there’s a good chance I’ll never have to run from a zombie. But, the same death a zombie may bring can be brought from many other sources. Death is death and it is the biggest fear of all. Loss is another one of these feelings we feel when we read horror and it’s tied closely with death. Combined, they are a one-two punch to the gut when they catch you off-guard. There are some experiences in my life that greatly influence many of the events and situations I write about.
This is where writing what you know can be cathartic. When I sit behind the keyboard, I can be a doctor and heal myself. I can rip the scab off my feelings and then let the raw emotion bleed out onto the page. I’m writing what I know. I’m writing about the pain and the loss. I’m letting what I know mix with fiction to create a work of art.
In, The Calling, I write about a different kind of loss, but a loss we fear all the same. The book is a water-shed moment for the town of White Creek where it sees its innocence stripped away and its soul lay bare. The events act like a bandage being torn away and just like my own scabs over my emotions, the town of White Creek will bleed out.
I don’t personally know a werewolf or a demon, but I do personally know loss, pain, and regret. Sometimes, we don’t write what we know, but blend it with what we do know for a powerful combination. I give a voice to my pain and it fuels the horror I write. Won’t you come and share it with me? I know you want to…
The Calling – Brent Abell
Carl Volker has a problem. After waking one morning with a hangover to find his wife gone, he notices a crow stalking around his yard. As days go by with no word from his wife, more and more crows gather.
Frank Hill is sheriff in the seemingly pleasant town of White Creek. Up until recently, his job has been fairly mundane but after a recent spree of murders, bodies are beginning to pile up and Frank has no clue as to who the killer may be.
White Creek has kept its secrets hidden well over the years but the sins of its past are coming to light; the town harbors an evil and the bindings that keep it in check are beginning to unravel.
As Frank and Carl’s friendship is tested and their destinies are revealed, the dead accumulate while the crows watch and The Calling begins!
Brent Abell lives in Southern Indiana with his wife, sons, and a pug who sits around eating the souls of wayward people. His stories have been featured in over 30 publications from multiple presses. His work includes his novella In Memoriam, collection Wicked Tales for Wicked People, and novel Southern Devils; which are available now. He also co-authored the horror-comedy Hellmouth series. Currently, he is working on the second book in the Southern Devils series and the next book with Frank Hill in the White Creek Saga.
You can follow Brent’s work on his homepage.
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