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The King of All Scares

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Amaxophobia is the fear of cars, spectrophobia is the fear of ghosts, and my personal favorite Coulorophobia is the fear of clowns. One man is the master of them all – Stephen King. There is no better way to celebrate Halloween than to read one of his many terrifying books. Here is a quick recap of my top three favorites that relate to young adult literature.

christineEvery teenage boy dreams of possessing a hot sports car, but what if his dream car possesses him? In Stephen King’s Christine, nerdy boy Arnie finds a wreck. While restoring the old car, he becomes withdrawn. Soon we discover that the car itself is evil. It systematically murders Arnie’s friends and anyone else who gets in its way. How do you kill an unkillable car?

Another one of my favorites is a short story called Sometimes They Come Back. On the way to drop off some library books, two brothers are assaulted by a local gang. They stab one brother to death and the other escapes. Fast forward to the future, and the surviving boy is now a teacher at the local high school. Three mysterious deaths occur, and each time a new kid arrives. The new kids are the old gang and they are the same age they were decades earlier. Terrified, the teacher speaks with an old friend who informs him that shortly after his brother’s death, the gang died in a horrible car crash. Now they’re back.

itLastly, the movie that made me hate clowns – IT. No child should ever read IT after dark while their parents are sleeping. There is nothing scarier than an alien being taking the form of a killer clown. Pennywise the clown haunts and stalks the children in a small town. They manage to survive, but Pennywise comes back when they’re adults and the game begins again.

So what can we as writers take away from Stephen King? If you want to write truly horrifying novels, prey on people’s fear and amp them up. There is no better way to become a better horror writer than to learn from the master.

Happy Halloween!

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