It’s not exactly a secret that new and aspiring writers don’t make much in the way of money, so sometimes I have to “sellout” and write something I never would otherwise for a submission on the off chance I get some lunch money.
Well the past couple days have been one of those times.
I found an upcoming anthology aimed at being one of those “gateway to the horror genre” for a younger audience. Essentially, an off-brand Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, except as a magazine with stories from different people, not just one dude.
My first issue is I’ve never done anything like this. It truly wasn’t difficult, I just toned down the gore and swearing prevalent in most of my horror and made sure no one died. The second issue was the monster. I wanted to create a positive fear to have a lesson within the story. The lesson wound up being not to open the door to strangers, but as suggested by kiddie-horror maestro RL Stine I didn’t want to make it too realistic. Thus, after a brief conversation the man at the door turns into a monster.
However, I couldn’t use a genuinely terrifying monster in the likes of Stephen King’s IT or any cosmic horror from Lovecraft. I also decided I shouldn’t use my go-to wendigo, as seen in The Back Roads and other assorted things I’ve written. So I found strange inspiration.
Imagine Dr. Zoidberg here is trying to eat you, and you have the basis of a kiddie horror story.