How did THAT happen? by Maggie Innes

To me, ultimate horror is good people being driven to do bad things, and it’s vital that readers relate to characters and care about them.   Stephen King is a master at managing the “How did THAT happen?” moment.

But when I saw the Create 50 “Can you write a horror story in a weekend?” message it was the reference to Pan Books of Horror Stories that first got me by the throat and wouldn’t let go.  I devoured those as a teenager and some of the storylines have haunted me to this day.

Yet I’d never considered writing horror myself, till that moment.

I was supposed to be enjoying a weekend by the sea with my husband.  We were supposed to be getting away from it all.  In some ways we did – by dissecting potential horror scenarios, discussing how to dissolve corpses, and visualizing flesh-eating creatures, evisceration, torture and gruesome agonizing death as we wandered the beach with the dog.

Who says romance is dead.

I chewed over numerous ideas and as an avid reader he responded on a sliding scale from “That’ll never work” through “Cliché alert!” to simply a wordless sigh.  By the time we were driving home on Sunday night, I still had no firm plot in place. I started idly thinking about organ transplants (as you do) and suddenly smugly proposed what I considered a bloody brilliant story, only to have my bubble brutally burst: “Been done!”  In The Twilight Zone, apparently. (Did I mention he is also an avid TV watcher?)

But the transplant theme was eating away at my imagination and by next morning I had a story brewing…

Second Chance is that story. I practically vomited it out in between work assignments, gave it a quick edit and got it in by the deadline.

Overnight it opened up a whole new world via the Create 50 website – of feedback, encouragement, and best of all, hundreds of other stories to read and enjoy.  It was such a thrill to see Second Chance had made it into Twisted 50 Volume 1!

This whole experience is like my own second chance. I’ve been writing mainly scripts lately, and Twisted brought me back to the immediacy and accessibility of short stories – with the benefit of a more visual “show don’t tell” writing style.  It’s got me out of a creative rut, trying new things, seeing myself and my writing in a new way.  I’ve learned horror means different things to different people, there is no “right” or “wrong” way. Dig deep, feel the fear and don’t just do it anyway, do it YOUR way.

Writing is about making a connection and if Second Chance can do that somewhere, with someone, I am made up. Meanwhile the Create 50 community is a wonderfully supportive and inspiring place to be.

Now I can’t seem to stop coming up with horror ideas, so watch this space…

How did THAT happen?  Purely because of Create 50, so sincere thanks to Chris, Cristina, Eleanor and everyone involved.

PS My husband is available for ideas consultations.

Maggie Innes
My Profile HERE.

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