1st —Grandma’s Breath by Gary Kuyper
2nd —Phobias by Gary Kuyper
3rd —The Antique Urn by Jay Balwanth
CHARMAINE SLATER: ASSISTANT EDITOR, EDENVALE NEWS
A bat gets into the house. The husband panics, thinking it may be rabid, and ends up shutting the bat in a room with his wife while he calls an exterminator from downstairs. Take it from there…
At a garage sale, your story’s protagonist buys an antique urn which would go nicely on her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone’s ashes in the urn…
The stories submitted for the horror category in the August Competition were outstanding. I experienced goose bumps and chills with so many of the entries, and I’m really impressed with the calibre of the stories in this category. Well done to all those who entered stories for the competition.
For my overall report, I would like to offer a few suggestions on completely nailing/harnessing the power of fear in the reader. Creating a fear-factor in your reader is what horror stories are all about. Like many avid horror fans, the appeal for me for a great story is not about being easily entertained. It’s about being left completely terrorised. And, there are a few ways to create this fear in your audience.
I like the use of instinctive fears. Darkness, spiders, bats and heights are some examples of instinctive fears. The reader will be left instinctively scared, because we’re taught to fear these things from a young age. Harnessing instinctive fears is an effective way to scare your reader. Another way to easily scare your reader is through the use of the supernatural—and monsters, of course. Use these little writing gems to make your reader question what actually goes bump in the night.
Many of the entrants for the August competition made great use of these two easy ways to spark fear in the reader, so well done. Deciding on a winner was no easy feat.
Congratulations on an amazing story and a very worthy winner. You absolutely nailed the horror genre. I loved the way you were able to build up the story from Alice’s’ perspective, even as a child. You built your story on smell and a colour and you were able to follow through with this theme throughout. You were perfectly able to harness the intense fear that you created and you brought that through perfectly, right to the end. Well done on an amazing horror story; this is a shining example of everything that a short horror story can and should be.