Today I am writing to discuss one of my all-time favourite King novels, it also happens to be one of his favourites as well. I am, of course, talking about Salem’s Lot.
King’s take on vampires was published in October 1975 by Doubleday and has since been made into an illustrated book, an audio book, a radio drama, and a film/ two-part television miniseries. There was a sequel film, Return to Salem’s Lot, the town was mentioned in the Castle Rock series and lastly, after the success of IT, the two-part miniseries has also been earmarked for a remake, though no release date has been announced, it only got its director in April 2020.
All that aside, this review will focus on the book, released in 1975. Spoilers ahead!
Today I wanted to write to you about Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill.
Heart-Shaped Box was published in 2007 and was Joe Hill’s first novel. It won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel.
Being a huge Stephen King fan, I was naturally drawn to this book by his son and I was not disappointed. Joe certainly shares his father’s skill for storytelling with well-crafted plots, believable characters and a firm grasp of what makes the horror genre great.
Today I am writing to you about one of my favourite settings for a horror story.
The forest is one of my favourite settings for a proper spooky story. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember, but when I tried to think about it I couldn’t for the life of me think why. I mean I love the forest, I love spending crisp autumn weekends wandering around the forests, watching the trees changing colour, picking up knickknacks (a habit I started as a kid and have never broken) watching out for wildlife and being chuffed to all hell when every year there seems to be more and more.
But why then, if I love the woods so much is it my go-to, best location for setting a scary story?
While it is possible to turn any location into a scary place with the right amount of subversion, I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. A forest is a place we learn to fear from a young age. Fairy tales, like the Brothers Grimm, teach us that the forest is where dangerous things, like monsters, witches and wolves live. But more than that, they teach us that the forest itself is scary, it’s easy to get lost and never be found, it is a place where the natural makeup of the land is dangerous.
I imagine in the days of Brothers Grimm there was a lot of danger to be had in the forest and these stories were, in part, created so people would be careful, children would not wander off and thus people would be safer. With far less woodland now than there was then this threat is no longer so great. Yet we hold onto the old stories and the fear they gave us.
I think that the best way to learn new and interesting writing skills is to read and write a variety of genres.
The more you expose yourself to the wider and more varied your range of knowledge will be. Think about it those who read or write thrillers will learn different lessons to those who read or write romance. Each genre has it’s own specific strengths and weaknesses and if you limit yourself to a single genre (either reading or writing) then you’ll build a certain set of strengths but never overcome the weaknesses. But by reading different genres and styles you may find tips and tricks to overcome the weaknesses inherent in the genre your writing at that time.
Horror is my own main focus (although I dabble all over the place to widen my own skillset), this means the bulk of my strengths lie in horror. Today I am going to share with you some of the potential skills you could develop by giving horror writing a try.