By Sharon Lynn
“Give them pleasure. The same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.” -Alfred Hitchcock
I trace my fear of total darkness to growing up in Flagstaff, Arizona, an
International Dark City. When the sun goes down, it is so dark you can see the Milky Way. Beautiful, but also scary when walking home at night.
The ancient Greeks knew that watching tragic drama released tension and stress in the audience. The cathartic reaction is where we experience intense emotions and then cast them off because nothing terrible actually happened to us.
Modern Mystery and Thriller
Mysteries create that same cathartic reaction. Personally, I love to see a
heroine trapped in the dark or snowed in. My jaw clenches in tension, I
pull my knees up to my chest, and I can’t look away from the page. When
the sweet relief of safety finally unfolds, I rejoice, all the while content and happy with a cup of tea by my side.
Death on Tap
In my short story, Death on Tap my heroine runs through the pitch black of night in an ill-advised attempt to catch a murderer. The story was included in the aptly named anthology, SoWest: Killer Nights.
What Scares You?
What makes you so scared you can’t stop reading until the hero is safe? Share your favorite stories!