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The Horrors of Real Life September 2, 2011

Posted by ambrosestolliker in Musings, Writing.

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post from Netherlands-based horror writer Alex Laybourne, author of the recently self-published novel Highway to Hell. Please welcome him. Yours, A.S.

As a horror writer, I am always conjuring up images and creatures from the darkest depths of my mind. The intention of which is, of course, to scare people. To chill them and make them look over their shoulders as they read. Why? Because deep down everyone likes to be scared.

However, there is always something else out there that trumps even the most skilled of horror writers… real life.

The thing about horror writing is that it is very easy to go too over the top and risk losing your readers, either because there is too much gore, or because the situations and characters totally escape the realms of possibility and become so absurd that the horror is forgotten. In real life, however, there are no limits. The horror never becomes funny.

Take a look back through history, both recent and further back. If you were reading a book about a mad scientist who performed all manner of unspeakable experiments on twins, including sewing them together for the sake of having conjoined twins to experiment on, simply because he was interested by it, many readers would fail to accept this as a credible character or motivation. Yet Dr. Joseph Mengele did just that and so much more.

Or take Mr. Joseph Fritzl, the man who not only abducted his own daughter, but imprisoned her beneath the family home, raped her, fathered her children and then convinced his wife to raise them, claiming that their runaway daughter had sent the babies to them over the years because she was unable to look after them. These are the actions of a man that no writer could ever hope to successfully capture in words.

Throughout the history of literature, we have been introduced to some of the most heinous creations that the human mind can conjure, and yet we are constantly overshadowed by the real monsters that we create; ordinary people, who began their lives the same as all of us. Babes in arms. A mothers pride and joy. One thing you can be certain of is that no mother looks at her child, or any baby, and says, “One day, that child will garner the disgust of an entire planet for his actions.”

As an author, I enjoy writing horror, but I do so knowing that it is fiction. If I feel that I have written something that is too over the top for a particular novel, or for the individual scene, I can delete it, and it becomes nothing more than my little secret. Yet a wicked act committed in real life is permanent. The ramifications of it do not go away.

When a child wakes in the night, we tell them that monsters do not exist, that everything is fine. We do not tell them the truth, that their monsters do not exist, but that the real ones are all around us and that the truly darkest ones will never be seen until it is too late.

Author Bio:

Horror writer Alex Laybourne was born in the United Kingdom, but relocated to The Netherlands to be with his wife. Together, they have three wonderful children who, despite their young age, are showing all the signs of following in their father’s creative footsteps.

Alex’s debut novel, Highway to Hell, is a 96,000-word horror novel and the first in a trilogy that will take readers on a journey not just into Hell, but through it.

Highway to Hell can be found on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de, and for all non-Kindle readers via Smashwords.com for just $2.99. You can also download a free sample of the novel at all of the above sites.

Alex is always interested in making new friends, both readers and writers alike. You can find him at most hours of the waking day on Twitter under the name @vanplank or on his blog www.alexlaybourne.com

Book Blurb:

Heaven and Hell, Angel and Demons, these things were once considered opposites, but now you will see that they are neighbors, allies…friends.

Marcus, Becky, Richard, Helen, Sammy and Graham. All complete strangers, different ages, backgrounds and even countries, but they all have one major thing in common…They all must DIE.

Sentenced to offer their penance in the many chambers of Hell, their lives are nothing but a torturous experience. They are brought face to face with their past, their mistakes and the implications that had for others. Until one by one they are rescued and thrown together. Waking in a dying world, they are introduced to their rescuers who do anything but conform to their angelic stereotype.

Together, bonded by an unknown destiny, the group is set on their quest; to find one individual buried deep within the many Hell worlds. Not only does the fate of their world rest on their shoulders, but that of existence itself.



1. alexlaybourne - September 2, 2011

Thanks for hosting my Jeff. It is most appreciated.

2. Dmytry Karpov (@DmytryKarpov) - September 2, 2011

Nice post. I loved the ending. Its always interesting when I have to tell my children about monsters.

alexlaybourne - September 3, 2011

Thanks a lot Dmytry, glad your enjoyed the post. My eldest is now at the age where is is scared of monsters, and I think writers have an ability to take these things and change them, take area the scary factor and replace it wiith something else. We don’t want to take the monster away from children because then they grow up too fast and see the ‘real’ ones far too soon.
Thanks for commenting

3. alberta ross - September 3, 2011

we learn very early the difference between real horror and the fiction of the wicked witches and stepmothers of myth and fairy tales – too soon we learn of real life. The best horror film in my opinion is ‘Duel’ by Speilberg. Because an out of control person behind the wheel of a truck is possible enough ( think road rage and random homicides) to really freak us out – more than the knife stabbing shower scene of Physco – The day after i first watched Duel I had one of those trucks behind me for an hour!!!!

good post thanks

alexlaybourne - September 3, 2011

Thanks for reading. I am glad you liked the post. I agree that Duel is a great film and about as real as it gets.

4. ROW80: A Lot of Eggs, a Shortage of Baskets | - September 3, 2011

[…] With the exception of yesterday (Saturday) I have exceeded my daily target of 750 words per day on my current novel. I also managed to keep up with my blog posts, and made another quick stop on my blog tour over at Ambrose Stollikers blog talking about the Horrors of Real Life  […]

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