Tammy, This is Your Fault!
“Imagination . . . its limits are only those of the mind itself.”—Rod Serling
My blog pal, Tammy, over at Message in a Bloggle, posted recently about scary stories. She got my brain working overtime about those that have terrified me, and I just have to say, “Thanks a lot, Tammy.” I’m holding her personally responsible for my inability to fall asleep this week. Clearly, she owes me a bag of Peanut Butter M&Ms and maybe a Peppermint Patty.
Possibly even a bottle of Sutter Home Sweet Red wine.
And a Starbuck’s gift card.
See, Tammy’s post reminded me of a story by the iconic Rod Serling called “House on the Square” about a pair of ghostbusters who encounter the un-bustable. There is no blood, gore or detailed descriptions of a monster. All those creepy little cracks and crevices sit in wait for the reader’s imagination to ooze in around them.
I think of tension in stories—especially horror—as a rubber band that should be stretched to the limits but not broken. Many writers zoom past the sweet spot, and when the tension band snaps I’m left annoyed and sometimes disappointed. This is subjective, of course, but for me the best stories are those where the author, while providing all the pertinent information, leaves plenty of room for my imagination to soar. When done well, it is a beautiful partnership, that dance of written words and personal imagery.
What is your opinion? Do you prefer to read stories where the author offers full descriptions of every nook and cranny, or do you favor wriggle room for your imagination? And do you maintain the same preference across all genres or just horror, and if not horror, which?
Since it is Tammy’s fault that I’m heading straight to Amazon to order the anthology in which “House on the Square” appeared (RodSerling’s Twilight Zone), and her fault that I’ve been gripped by the memory of how this tale succeeded in terrifying my 10-year-old self on every level, AND her fault that I will probably lie awake in fright after reading this story again (my adult imagination conjuring those things my childhood brain had not the maturity to muster) . . . since all of this is Tammy’s fault I say once again, “Thanks a lot, Tammy.” I’ll lose sleep imagining vivid monsters and creepy-crawlers . . . and reading well-crafted stories, dancing that dance with words and imagery, and recalling how that style of writing impacted and enthralled the 10-year-old me.
Thanks a lot, Tammy.
No, really. Thanks!
And Happy Halloween, y’all!
|Graphic art compliments of Webweaver.nu|
See you next time –
P.S. I’m giving Tammy a pass on the goodies. I think she’s done enough. 🙂