In life, not everything is as it seems but some people prefer to ignore reality so much that they create a bogus world. I often wonder how many times I've witnessed a scene where people behave as society expects, creating the illusion of normalcy. Yet, if I take for granted what I see, I'd never know there was anything askew.
The same could be said about writing horror. When creating a scene, it's best not only to analyze the action but rather infuse malice to ordinary events. The objective should be to turn an innocent situation into someone's worst nightmare. By placing characters into plausible scenarios that are common to everyday life, a connection can be made with the reader, igniting the mechanism all horror writers hope to invoke--fear.
Here's an example:
Little Tommy Dunn scoops sand and gingerly places it on top of more grain. Droplets of sweat cascade off his long, curly hair landing on what he considers, his masterpiece. He packs in the sand with great care, biting his tongue, wrinkling his nose. A salty breeze mixes with a familiar lavender scent. He knows his mother is near.
"Tommy, you missed a spot."
The little first grader looks down and sees his classmate's big toe sticking out of the temporary makeshift grave.
"I told you to leave it alone. I drowned the little bully in the water so it'll look like an accident. They're supposed to find him anyway."
Little Tommy nods and smiles knowing that tomorrow school will be a more peaceful place.
While it's fun to make the ordinary horrific, it is even better when you apply the technique to a character. In my flash piece, "Mistaken Identity," I take a reader on a fantastic journey when the main character chases a familiar foe through an everyday urban setting.
Here's an excerpt:
The first time I saw the stranger, a bomb exploded at Times Square. I watched amazed as police officers rushed by unaware of the monster in our midst, but I knew what he was. He looked like them. You know the type. They hide their heads and their faces remain unshaven. I figured if I caught this fool, the FBI would have to let me back in.
I followed him back into the subway. His movements deliberate, his eyes cold and calculating. For a man of average height and portly build, he moved with uncanny stealth. I had to utilize my skills as a hunter not to lose him again because he had a knack for disappearing in a blink of an eye.
So the next time writer's block occurs, go outside, experience life and look at the ordinary with malice. You just may witness a wonderfully terrible case of mistaken identity.