I’m hosting a guest post today for the book tour for “The One You Feed”. The topic is: what makes a scary story? That sounds like a great topic, so I’ll just shut up, and leave the word to James Drummond, author of YA horror story “The One You Feed”.
What makes a scary story
I have always been a fan of horror stories and scary movies. So when I decided to write my own horror series, I thought a lot about what I could do to make my stories scary. For me, it all starts by settling into a relatively un-scary environment. I do begin my books with traditional horror/action scenes to hook the reader, but then slow things down a bit. Introduce the main characters, tell the reader a little bit about them, and make their lives seem mostly normal before the scary stuff starts. I think if the reader can picture the world the story is taking place in, and relate to it, it makes it all the more frightening when the supernatural stuff starts happening. It also makes the supernatural stuff a little easier to believe and accept.
Then, of course, you need to build some suspense. Even when you know a character is in trouble, the anxiety of waiting for that trouble to strike can be really powerful. It’s even more powerful if you care about the characters who are in trouble. It also helps to build tension between characters, which I try to do in my story—unraveling the relationship between Toby and Nate while the town is under attack.
Finally, I think raising the stakes is very important. There’s always going to be the life or death thing, but it’s good when the main characters have other things at stake. In my story, I focus mainly on Toby. While he is as scared as anyone of the creatures attacking the town, he’s also tortured by the fear of failing. He’s afraid of failing his best friend Nate, his father, and his hometown.
About The Book
Author: James Drummond
Genre: YA Horror
Like most kids who grew up in the small Oregon town of Silver Falls, Toby Hoffman had heard all the scary stories about the monsters living in the neighboring woods of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Now a teenager, he knows the stories are made up to keep the town’s children from wandering where they aren’t wanted.
Then his best friend, Nate, wakes up covered in blood in the reservation woods, with no recollection of whose blood it is or where it came from. When even more brutal attacks follow, Toby can’t help but wonder if one of the fables he was told as a child might be true. With the help of Rachel, a determined Native American girl who has moved off the reservation and into the house next door, he begins searching for an explanation for the recent carnage. He also develops feelings for his new neighbor, which are put to the test when he and Rachel discover that her uncle may be responsible for the emergence of a legendary monster that does in fact exist.
To make matters worse, there’s evidence that Nate was turned by the beast, and that he has every intention of holding onto his extraordinary new creature capabilities no matter the cost. In order to save Silver Falls from a true scary story, Toby will have to face off against forces he doesn’t fully understand – and his closest friend.
James is the author of The One You Feed and Something Wiccan – the first two books of the Out of the Dark series. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his girlfriend Angela and two cats named Tim and Ruby. During the day James is a Senior Instructional Designer for an e-learning development company, where he writes activities and scenarios to educate learners on a wide array of topics—from fast food to PTSD therapies. A Graphics Designer at the company, Wojtek Batko, designs the covers for James’ books.