Perspectives on Fantasy and Horror

Happy 2018, one and all! For those who are curious, we celebrated the new year by putting the kids to bed and then playing a couple board games. We like to party pretty hard, obviously.

The other night we had an incident in our home, which made me consider what the differences are between horror and fantasy.

Becky and I had just tucked the kids into bed. While she stayed behind and sang them a lullaby, I stepped outside to get some firewood. When I opened the door, I was greeted by the crinkly frown of a cold, dead, frozen frog.

I’m still curious how it got there. Frogs don’t belong on porches in December, not in my neck of the woods. It’s much too cold.

Without thinking twice (and perhaps only barely thinking once), I bent and picked up the little amphibian carcass, then brought it back inside, put some lukewarm water in a dish on the counter, and set the frog floating in the middle of it.

Then I got in the shower. I doubt a minute had passed before I’d forgotten all about the frog.

Now, I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I have a fear of something happening while I’m in the shower–the house catching on fire, someone having a medical emergency, an earthquake, etc. Some situation that would force me to decide whether or not getting clothed again was worth the time. And that night, I thought that was exactly what happened.

My wife screamed. Not a normal scream, but a full-blown scream, a shriek of unadulterated terror.

I just about stumbled out of the shower, assuming that something completely terrible has happened. I stopped when I heard my wife (rather angrily, and still kind of screaming), “Why is there a dead frog on the counter?”

It honestly took me a second to process what she was talking about, I’d so thoroughly forgotten about the desiccated little thing. When I remembered the dead frog, I felt more than a little bit silly.

Still, she deserved an answer. So I gave it to her.

“I wanted to see if it would come back to life.”

My wonder and curiosity–elements of fantasy writing–turned into my wife’s surprise and horror–elements of horror writing. Of course, stories should have a blend of many different things, but it was interesting to me to consider the way that people’s introduction to things can flavor their emotional response. Not groundbreaking, I know, but it gave me something to think about.

Also, for those who are concerned, I’m not totally insane. Frogs can and do recover from death by being frozen, and from drying out. This particular one, however, did not.

In Other News….

  • I finished reading Unraveled, and have posted my review to GoodReads. It’s a light fantasy that proved quite predictable but was nonetheless enjoyable.
  • I finally coaxed my wife into letting me get pet rats (one for me, one for our daughter). I’ll put some pictures up at some point, because I’m positive that the one thing that the world-wide web needs are some photographs of my fancy rats floating around in it.
  • I’m quite close to finishing Happily (which I may have referred to earlier under the project title of The Glass Heist). I’ll soon be on the lookout for willing ARC readers. To any and all who read this, if you’re wanting/willing to be an ARC reader, don’t be shy! Just ask (either in a message or in comments).   🙂

20 thoughts on “Perspectives on Fantasy and Horror”

    1. Thanks Stacey! I’ve actually been presumptuous enough to keep you on my list of people to be sure gets an advanced copy! I’ve really appreciated your support with my first two novels, and hope that you’ll find this next one to be just as good, if a bit different.

  1. Oh, is this the Cinderella retelling w/ a twist? I’m excited for this project! Pretty sure I haven’t read a Cinderella story like you’re writing & looking forward to seeing how it goes!

    Also, the frog story is HILARIOUS. Yes, dead frog showing up randomly does border on horror. My sympathies to your wife.

    1. Yes, it is that same story! Just wrapping it up and then cleaning it up.
      My poor wife does put up with a lot. Usually things turn out okay though, otherwise she’d probably put a halt to the shenanigans.

  2. You know I’d be reading the heck out of your new stuff!!! Also, I laughed out loud to Becky screaming about the frog!!! I had to read it out loud to my husband! 😂

    1. Thank you, Cara! I know how crazy busy (and just plain crazy) life with little kids at home is, so that really means a lot to me! Reading a book is a bit of a time commitment, after all.
      Ah, I wish so badly that the frog had come back to life…. Still wondering how it ended up right there on the porch. 🙂

  3. Oh how funny, I actually just learned that some frogs can hibernate or whatever by freezing and then coming back to life when they thaw out in the first book I finished this year! (The Goblins of Bellwater) Also funny is that I have thought about this too, in a slightly different way. I have a discussion post coming up eventually and it talks about how I think in some cases the difference between urban fantasy and horror is simply the perspective, who’s POV we’re getting. It is interesting to think about these sorts of things! And awww, pet rats. Pet rodents are so cute! You should definitely share pictures 🙂 And ooh I’m curious, what is this book about that you’re almost finished with?

    1. I’ll definitely be watching for your post, as this is a topic that interests me. My favorite movie, Jurassic Park, I have a hard time even considering as scary. I just think it’s wonderful, beautiful, awe-inspiring, and at times thrilling. Other people had nightmares over it for years!
      The rats definitely are cute. They’re probably the most underrated pets, and certainly the best of the rodent pets. We’ve all loved having them around so far.
      The book is sort of a retelling of Cinderella. It follows a thief and her somewhat unwilling accomplice in their plans to fool the prince into believing that she was the girl from the ball who lost her glass slipper. Obviously, my pitch/blurb for it isn’t quite ironed out yet, but I’m wrapping up the rough draft today. Then onto the edits…. 😛 Probably be about a week of that (I write very clean first drafts), then onto my alpha reader team, then a second round of editing, and then the ARC copies can probably go out. It’s exciting stuff! This will be my third published novel, and I think I get better at the process each time I do it. 🙂

  4. I would have been scared to death as well! Your poor wife xD
    It’s unfortunate that the poor frog didn’t come back to life, though… Strange how it got to your porch, too!
    I guess this post ended up making me ponder about the mysteries of life and horror as well. Strange things to happen…
    Good luck with your pet rats! Your wife sure is lovely to let them inside the house. My mother never did, no matter how much I asked as a child :'( (a hamster)

    1. Thank you! She is pretty good about things like that. And it’s good for the rats she lets them live inside. Otherwise, with how this winter is going, they’d just be two little ratcicles.

    1. Rest assured, I would not send out ARCs without including you. 🙂 Should be coming along by early February, depending on what the alpha readers have to say.

    1. I know. The story would’ve have been almost infinitely better if the frog had returned to life–either as a normal frog, or as a zombie frog. Either way would’ve been fine with me.

    1. Yes, a real shame that it didn’t work–for both my sake and the frog’s, I suppose.
      It is interesting how an individual’s perspective affects genre. I might have said this somewhere before, but I take Jurassic Park as an example. The film, for me, is a beautiful movie with some thrilling parts. Mostly, though, it’s beautiful. I grew up watching it, and have no memories of ever being frightened by it. I’ve always just found it enchanting. But I have friends who only saw it once and never again except in their nightmares. I have always had a keen interest in dinosaurs, though, and they haven’t, which probably changes our perspectives on the film.
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

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