Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: In honor of yesterday’s Halloween holiday, today’s Friday Fun is a scary two-parter: 1) What’s the scariest story or book you’ve ever read? 2) What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done as a writer?
Jamie Wallace: I am not, as a rule, a fan of scary stories. I did, however, try to read Stephen King. Once. My aunt loaned me a copy of his massive novel, It. I couldn’t have been more than fourteen or fifteen. What she was thinking giving me that book, I’ll never know. I only got about a quarter of the way through before I had to give up because of the nightmares. I don’t remember much about the story except there was something about a paper boat in the gutter, a water tower, and an evil clown that squished and squelched its way through my nighttime wanderings. That was the end of my horror reading.
As for scary things I’ve done as a writer, I’m going to say that I haven’t done anything nearly scary enough. I have taken a few writing classes, joined a few writing groups, and even did NaNoWriMo once. But, I’m definitely not pushing myself to face the scary stuff – submitting, sharing, failing. It may be a little early for New Year’s intentions, but I’m already thinking that 2014 is going to be the year of my writing dares.
Diane MacKinnon: Like Jamie, I’m not a big fan of scary stories, but my siblings, cousins, and I used to tell ghost stories at night in my cousins’ barn–a very spooky place. Once we were adults, I found a great recording of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and sent it to my brother, who always told the best ghost stories.
I have done many scary things as a writer! I was scared to start my own blog (you can find it at http://www.dianemackinnon.com/blog), I was scared to pitch my novel to an agent, I was scared to submit my work for publication, I was scared to publish articles in a free newspaper. Basically, every step I’ve taken as a writer has scared me, but it’s always that scary-exciting kind of feeling, so I know it’s really a good thing. And once I have taken the step, I’ve always felt glad and relieved–whew! Passed that hurdle. What’s next? I plan to continue doing scary things as a writer, as long as they are scary-exciting.
Lisa J. Jackson: Scariest book was “The Fog” back in the early 80s. There are many books out there with the title, and I searched for it once before a couple years ago, but can’t point confidently at the particular version. I was so scared I couldn’t put it down! It was less scary to keep reading and get to the end, then to stop in the middle and try to sleep!
As an aside – I have never and won’t ever watch the original Jaws movie. I’ve read the book. I’ve seen every other Jaws movie, but the original scares me too much. Just seeing that lady swimmer in the preview get tugged under the water and knowing she just had her leg chomped is more than enough to keep me from watching it. I can read scary books, but seldom watch scary movies.
The scariest thing I’ve done as a writer? Hhm. Pitching to an agent a couple years ago. I tend to “um” too much when I’m nervous, and I get embarrassed. Second scariest was actually saying out loud to someone who asked what I do, “I’m a writer.” Don’t know why it scared me so much! <grin>
Julie Hennrikus: OK, I am a wimp. I don’t read scary books. I just don’t. Suspense, yes. Scary, no. As a writer, I have done a lot of “scary” things. Pitched novels. Sent out queries. And, like Lisa, identified myself as a writer. All very scary. But none of them killed me. A friend told me that fear is excitement without oxygen. So I have learned how to breathe through my nerves. Doubt that will work for a Stephen King novel though…