Guest Post with Tim Ouellette

46523b8557f00ad8956e08.L._V373284499_Tim Ouellette was born in Salem, Massachusetts on June 16th, 1966. He has 
published poetry in little/literary magazines in the mid to late 80′s. 

Tim and  his wife Dianna were married in 1988 and moved to Maine a year later. They have 
six children and own a 110 year old Federal-style home in Southern Maine.

His children swear the house is haunted; Tim tells them they’re just 
“characters in the making”.

~~~

I was stumbling around the web the other day searching for bits of writing wisdom I could parlay into a blog post that would make me sound, if not intelligent, than at least coherent. Not sure if I will have accomplished that by the end of this post, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Anyway, I found a website where stories about zombies were the primary topic of discussion. My initial response was *yawn* not another zombie post, but then I read a statement by the author (whose name escapes me at the moment) where he essentially said (and this is not a direct quote):

“When it comes to writing about zombies, there’s only one thing you need to remember: it’s not actually about the zombies.”

I sat at my laptop for a moment and mulled this one over; it took me a couple of minutes but the wisdom behind this statement finally began to sink in.

The popularity behind the current run of zombie-apocalypse books and television shows stems not from the existence of the zombies themselves but from the relational response of the various survivors; those individuals or groups who have banded together to fight for the continued existence of the human race. Relationships are a vital component of human nature; they help us to establish our identity in our families, our jobs, and in the world. In the zombie-apocalypse material presented on television and in books these relationships appear to sometimes be the last remaining component identifying human beings as, well, human.

Human at our core

Authentic horror fiction validates the existence of some of our more basic human instincts and emotions; but it does so without necessarily validating the truthfulness of the expression. In other words, it recognizes that, as human beings, we have a pool of raw, basic emotion and instinct at our core that often remains untapped, revealed only when we’re thrust into situations of extreme duress. No-one reading a story that has the protagonist going on a violent rampage would advocate that sort of thing in real life; yet how many of us commiserated with (and sometimes even cheered) the character of William Foster in the 1993 film Falling Down? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falling_down)

Horror fiction allows us to “enjoy” a sometimes aberrant human response without necessarily requiring us to advocate such a response. It allows us the freedom to put ourselves in the protagonist’s shoes and experience the thrill of illicit emotions and responses.

The Challenge

It is the challenge of the writer of dark fiction to take normal, everyday existence and inject it with the surreal; to show the reader normal, everyday people who have been thrust into either supernatural or just plain horrific situations and how they respond to these abnormal, extra-ordinary occurrences.

It’s the challenge of the horror writer to help the reader realize that things are not necessarily as they seem.

Horror writing need not be filled with the stuff of slasher movies in order to be viewed as “horror”; that’s not to say that horror fiction, in order to be classified as such, must be approached solely from an elitist point of view. While there’s certainly nothing intellectually stimulating about a scene depicting a man being skinned alive, for example – and yes, I have a scene like that in one of my works of fiction – sometimes a scene like this is necessary in terms of either plot or character advancement. Sometimes a scene like this just works; but fiction that attempts to convey the true nature of horror by simply splashing blood and gore across the page will ultimately fail.

Authentic horror writing advances the notion that there exist cracks or fissures in reality; it strips away the sometimes all-too-thin veneer of superficiality to reveal our baser human thoughts, emotions and desires. It recognizes the existence of a moral plane and then thrusts the protagonist into a situation that calls into question everything they believe in.

Good horror writing is authentic because it’s honest.

Who could ask for more than that?

~~~

Tim has recently published horror fiction & poetry online; “Fractured” is Untitledhis first book-length work, and he’s currently writing his first novel, tentatively titled “Fallen”.

Connect with Tim on his website and Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

Demonic children. A husband on the brink of insanity. A woman whose obsession brings her back from the dead…
“Fractured” is a collection of horror fiction and poetry that seeks to pierce the darkest regions of the human mind. The stories in this collection touch upon powerful themes such as love and death, with a paranormal twist.night after night.

“Fractured” can be purchased in print or as a download for Kindle here.

 

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4 thoughts on “Guest Post with Tim Ouellette

  1. Interesting post from Mr. Ouellette. It is interesting to hear how other writers relate to the darkness inside of their heads and how they portray it in the written word. Nicely done!

    • This could be a good point of discussion. There’s a perception among some that one must essentially embrace the dark in order to write about the dark. Not so. It’s certainly true that the writer who has experienced, say, depression, addiction, and abuse is in a better position to script the type of gritty, hard-hitting expose’ that helps to bring those things to light; I don’t think anyone could argue with that. I do think that one of the strongest tools in the writer’s toolbox is empathy, the ability to understand another human being on an intellectual and emotional level. Horror writing is nothing more or less than “tuning in” to your character’s inner pool of raw emotion, placing that character in seemingly supernatural or psychologically damaging situations, and then capturing that person’s emotional or intellectual response on the written page and watching how they react. Sorry for the long-winded reply; thanks for your comment!

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