Short Stories · Writing

Daring the dark

I’m always inspired by my favourite author Stephen King. I know for some his fiction is not to their taste, whether that be because of his subject choice or because of his writing style but I am hooked on his words and adore the way he writes. I recently finished reading Stephen King’s short story collection Full Dark, No Stars and it has definitely encouraged my growing love for the short story. I have never particularly been a big fan of the short, always preferring to sink my teeth into a full-length novel, however recently I have started to appreciate short story fiction a little more and have even tried turning my hand to a few of my own.

If you turn to the Afterword in Full Dark, No Stars, King makes an observation that really hits home to me as a writer, and in particular to me as a horror/paranormal fiction writer.

“If you’re going into a very dark place……then you should take a bright light, and shine it on everything. If you don’t want to see, why in God’s name would you dare the dark at all?”

Daring the dark is what every horror writer worth his salt should do. Now, my mum would always say to me that the likes of King and one of my other favourite writers, James Herbert were “sick in the head” for writing about the things they do. But if you get beyond the blood, gore, ghostly goings-on and stuff of nightmares and take a good look at the characters’ themselves, you will find real people and yes, they might be the deepest, darkest creations you will ever meet on the page, but rest assured somewhere in the world there are such people and they don’t all hide in drains dressed up as Pennywise the Clown or come tapping at your window at night, fangs glistening in the moonlight and begging you to invite them into your home so they can open your veins.

King says “For writers who knowingly lie, for those who substitute unbelievable human behaviour for the way people really act, I have nothing but contempt……Bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do – to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.”

And with that thought deeply entrenched in my mind, I give you, dear reader, Lily-Rose…..


3 thoughts on “Daring the dark

  1. An awesome quote by King. I have to admit my writing is withheld; what would my family think of me if I wrote that? However, as I grow older, there is one truth I love and which helps: “you” don’t have to like me, I have to like me. And if you don’t like what I write, don’t read it. Or buy it, read it and then write a bad review – publicity is publicity :).
    I like your Lily-Rose story too. A great way to enjoy my cup o joe this AM.


    1. I guess you always have to remember not everyone is going to like what you write but that doesn’t mean it what you write isn’t good. I grew up with such a passion for horror fiction that I couldn’t understand why anyone else wouldn’t love it too! There are many types of fiction I don’t and won’t read, but I respect everyone’s personal choice and think its best to have an open mind about those choices.
      Thanks for reading Lily-Rose….. Glad she kept you company whilst enjoying your cuppa!


  2. Brilliant quote and very true. Your love of King made me eager to try his books myself and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Not all of them so far have been my cup of tea but I like his writing all the same and am looking forward to reading the others I have stacked up waiting for me.


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