This week I have been suffering from a horrible virus and the original post for today is garbage, written under the influence of a fever. So I will save you from that pain. Instead, here is a delightful little video of Neil Gaiman explaining why he writes horror for children. I am starting my own venture into horror literature for children. Many tell me that I am insane and that it is morbid to corrupt children like that.
Those people could not be further from the truth. Scary stories for children have been around from the dawn of humanity. Oral traditions used tales of terror as a teaching experience. If you have ever seen the movie The Croods, the stories that the father tells his children are a perfect example of this. His stories taught about the macabre dangers of life. However, scary stories do something else in addition to teaching, something that most people don’t expect: they give a reader hope and strength.
Gaiman’s words and drive to write horror stories for children echo my own desires. We want to give young readers a story to get them through the hard times in life. To have these young readers say “This character is going through something so dismally horrible, but you know what – the character survived it. My situation is not as bad. I can get through this too.”
Yes, some will think that is twisted, but stop for a moment and think about the context. Think of the horror stories that you read in the adult genre. Do you not relate your life and situations to characters in those books? Even if it is for the briefest moment, you do think to yourself, “wow, this main character has it so much worse than I do, and he/she is getting through it. Maybe things are not so bad for me.”