When I think about the scariest monsters, I don't think about something from Alien or some other horror flick. I think of Jack from The Shining. What makes him scarier than any other unstoppable alien/mutated horror, is that he is human. Humans have an amazing capacity for committing horrifying acts. Think about people like Hitler, Dahmer, even Hannibal Lector. What is more horrific than those boogymen? Think about the mythos surround people like Vlad the Impaler and Rasputin? Hundreds of years after their death and we are still talking about them. Hell, our whole mythos on Vampires was practically spawned from Vlad. Of course, the scariest of them don't look scary (Jeffrey Dahmer). They look like normal people. People you would never think of being demented or evil.
So, why am I talking all this gloom and doom? Well, these are the monsters I think of. Not the monster hiding under the bed, he's a softy compared to the monsters in my head.
Anyway, all of this build up is to introduce you to my new WIP, Hate Jacket. I approached this one differently than my first WIP, Stone of Unity. Their different stories. SoU is a Fantasy story with Fantasy tropes. The focus is on the world and the struggle. Characters are important, but they are struggling against an archetypal evil enemy. However, HJ is contemporary fiction. It's about real events with real people who have real feelings. The enemy they face is themselves.
So, when I approached the story, I had to create real, feeling, believable characters. Instead of world building, I did character building. Julius (my main character) was the first. I wrote up about a page in my notebook on him. One of the things I did was make sure that every character has a secret. People have secrets, so should they. Some of the secrets are big, some are not so big. Big or small, these secrets affect how the characters act towards each other.
Anyway, the scariest character was Julius' father. I'm not going into details (because I'm still writing the story), but he's definitely a dark person and does some very scary things. However, I do need to find something good to put in him (nobody is 100% evil). One of the people I follow on Twitter said that she puts good things into bad characters and bad things into good characters to make them more realistic. Started doing that with the secrets, but need to do that for all my characters. It'll be interesting and fun, I think.
Another friend asked me if this story was my personal demons or purely fictional. I will go on record right now and say fictional, however, I have a lot of source material from which to draw. The main character is not me, his father is not my father, the characters in the story in no way represent real people that I know. If you ask any author, this is the case. So, if Hate Jacket ever gets out into the world, you heard it here first.
As a teaser, here is an early concept scene that I posted early on in my blog writing. The story was called "Rage" back then and I wasn't ready to tackle it. Now, I am. Characters have different names, but this scene will probably end up in HJ somewhere.
What monsters scare you?
'Till next time.