“Dark Promptings” is a special series of guest-written creative writing prompts, aimed at sparking the imagination’s gasoline for writers from any genre…but with a dark or devious discoloration, just like the Instigation department at Gorelets.com. The guest contributors are folks who wrote articles appearing in my fat new non-fiction book for fiction writers of all kinds, Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, making a stop here at gorelets.com as part of their Virtual Book Tour across the web. (You can find my own VBT essays elsewhere).
Our next “Dark Promptings” come from Mary SanGiovanni, author of the new novel, Thrall, from Thunderstorm Books. Mary’s lesson in Many Genres, One Craft is called “Dark and Story Nights: Mood and Atmosphere in Horror Fiction” and in that vein she has provided some passages of text to help you get into a truly dark and unsettling mood. Use these passages of text as story starters or just mull over the ideas as inspiration for your own disturbing imaginings, while you sit “ALONE IN THE DARK”….
The media has dubbed us the Slaughterhouse 5. The FBI profile released to the public stated there were at least five of us, and that we hunt in a pack. Like wolves, our alpha once said with a laugh. But we are not animals. We don’t kill for food, or to protect our territory. We kill for fun.
My grandfather once told me that there was no reason to be afraid of the dark. Wasn’t nothin’ there that wasn’t there in the light, he’d said. But he was wrong, at least about this darkness. There are slick and dangerous things that form from shadows and move and kill in silence in this neighborhood. And once you’ve heard the screams of fear and pain from the illimitable and irretrievable black, you know that there is reason to be very much afraid.
Jerry was only four when the clown doll that his mother had stuffed on a back shelf of his closet crawled down and suffocated his infant sister with a baby blanket. He was nine years old when the large stuffed snake he’d won on the boardwalk one year slithered out of his room and into the 4 a.m. darkness of the house and ate his parents. He was eleven when the big stuffed bear that sat in the corner of his room devoured his stale and surly old grandparents. But it wasn’t until he turned thirteen that he realized he’d issued the commands himself, and that the toys around him obeyed. And alone, in the darkness of the orphanage bedroom, years and miles from the fear of closets’ and under-beds’ black mystery, the thought made him smile.
Mary SanGiovanni is the author of the Bram Stoker-nominated novel The Hollower and its sequel Found You, both from Leisure Books, and more recently, Thrall from Thunderstorm Books. Over the last decade, various periodicals and anthologies have published her short fiction, some of which was collected in Under Cover of Night. She co-edited the GSHW anthology Dark Territories. Mary received a Master’s in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She was a member of Horror Writers Association and the Garden State Horror Writers Association, and is currently a member of The Authors Guild and Pennwriters.
Read more “Dark Promptings”…