So, about three weeks ago I facilitated a creative writing workshop focusing on settings—dealing with what, why and how. And because it was a small group, I had the opportunity to participate in the writing exercises and prompts I had set.
First hurdle, though, was myself.
I’m a good teacher (if I may say so myself), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m good at everything. In fact, I think my greater gift lies in helping other writers, and less in writing certain genres… like horror.
I’ve always loved the horror genre. Absolutely nothing terrifies me, or holds my attention, the way horror can. But I know my limits—writing horror doesn’t come naturally to me.
(By now I think it’s pretty clear that my greatest hurdle is myself.)
So when one of my writing prompts calls for writing the setting for a horror story, I decided to challenge myself. And the result, it turned out, wasn’t too bad—even got an encouraging gasp from some of the participants, which is pretty rad, really.
So… here it is, raw, unedited writing. Critique it if you’d like—always open to ways to improve!
Everything was silent and absolutely, deathly still—inside the house, that is. Outside was a different story. The weather forecast warned of high winds at a peak of 150 kilometres per hour. What the forecast failed to mention, however, was the crackling of tree branches, thrown about by the merciless wind. Merciless, with an anger that grabbed trees and plucked them out of the ground like they were mere saplings. And what the forecast also failed to mention were the brilliant flashes of lightning, followed by deafening, echoing claps that seemed to come from inside you. The sky outside was blood red, streaked with flashes of white, cocooned by thunder—the silhouettes of the swaying trees were tinged, stained in red, like the sky had bled onto it. The wind howled through the tightly shut windows, echoing throughout the dark, empty house. There came a sharp crack overhead—a loud rustling of papery leaves, and then—a loud smack against the window, shattering glass, intruding into the house. Then all became still. Emily stayed as still as she could under the covers. The wind had stopped, and the night air was silent. Emily exhaled.
And then the floorboards creaked.