HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Junior Member Celesse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3

    Question Explaining the Monster

    So I'm throwing around a few ideas on a horror/mystery novel at the moment, and I need some help with the creature. I know what I want it to be, but I don't know how to present it exactly. The general premise is four kids in high school realise children are going missing so they decide to investigate it. Horror is pretty subjective of course, but I personally think the less that's known about the monster, the scarier it is.

    My biggest concern at the moment is deciding how much info to reveal about the creature while still keeping it scary. Should I explain a) what it is b) where it comes from and c) why it's spiriting children away? And if I should, to what extent do I explain? The kids are gonna figure out some things along the way, but I want to keep it as mysterious and unknowable as possible pretty much the entire way through and to avoid an anti-climatic ending that makes people go "eh, well that was vague".



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    To be vague, you need enough so the average reader will understand while not just dumping it all out at once like an episode of Scooby-Doo. Just try to parcel it out a little at a time. And it's probably OK if it's just a bogeyman if you don't give its entire life story. I mean some stories you want the monster to be sympathetic (Frankenstein) while others you just want it to be scary.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    1,142
    When you start "explaining" things, you must have an explainer. You get into exposition and back story. That's death.

    Explaining the what/where/why lets all the tension out.

    Think of Bigfoot (you might not know of him in the UK, so Google him). Stories of Bigfoot abound. He's this big, he's that strong, he's so scary, but the reality is, no one has ever laid eyes on him. In your story, let your creature be defined by rumor, conflicting hearsay, and the bloody remains of the victims.

    There's a famous sic-fi horror movie from way, way back called "The Thing". An Arctic weather station, the crew locked in for the winter, and some "thing" starts picking them off one by one. In the movie, you never see it, maybe a shadow or two. That's the way the whole movie went, scary as hell, right up until the last scene... and then it SHOWED the creature! BIG LET DOWN. (They'd have been better off letting it escape into the freezing darkness and I'd still be worrying what The Thing looks like.)

    Sounds like a fun project. Go for it!

    ---------
    (Sorry, RM. Stepped on your line again.)
    Last edited by jayce; 09-14-2016 at 11:38 AM.

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    That's the way the whole movie went, scary as hell, right up until the last scene... and then it SHOWED the creature!… BIG LET DOWN.
    That happens in a lot of horror type movies. Like when I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane recently. It was fine until she decides to leave the house and then they show these stupid-looking aliens and she gets in a fight with them. Brought the whole movie crashing down. Though Jaws is pretty much everyone's go-to example for not showing the monster; ironically they only didn't show the shark much because the stupid mechanical shark wouldn't work.

    BTW, The Thing was based on the novella Who Goes There? I read that a couple years ago though I don't remember it real well. Still, it's short so maybe check it out for some advice.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    1,142
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Mutt View Post
    BTW, The Thing was based on the novella Who Goes There?
    Interesting stuff. Thanks for the link.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Celesse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3
    I completely agree, those sorts of endings always leave me feeling disappointed, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Thing are good examples of that (even though they're very good indeed). And yes I have heard of Big Foot, mostly from social osmosis. I think it's a good idea to reflect the sort of rumour-fuelled nature of it with my monster. Thank you for the replies, I really appreciate it!

  7. #7
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Celesse View Post
    I completely agree, those sorts of endings always leave me feeling disappointed, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Thing are good examples of that (even though they're very good indeed). And yes I have heard of Big Foot, mostly from social osmosis. I think it's a good idea to reflect the sort of rumour-fuelled nature of it with my monster. Thank you for the replies, I really appreciate it!
    In Britain you also have the Loch Ness Monster, sort of a waterborne Bigfoot.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    684
    Quote Originally Posted by jayce View Post
    (They'd have been better off letting it escape into the freezing darkness and I'd still be worrying what The Thing looks like.)
    Creepy thought, but I agree with you. I recently read Who Goes There?, inspiration for The Thing. It wasn't as good as the 2 movie versions I've seen (I like the Kurt Russell one best).

    **Sorry Mutt, I hadn't made it to your post when I replied here.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    684
    I agree with everything said here. Only explain what you need to, and, as Mutt said, parcel it out a little.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts