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As I’d mentioned in my previous post, I’d been working on a short story that I intended to have published soon as an eBook. To my surprise, the whole process flowed a lot more quickly than I initially expected, and now it’s ready for purchase on Amazon! Being my very first publication, I’m pretty excited about it.

Though “The Monontuk Dot” may not be a lengthy read (as the story itself is about 23 pages in its Kindle edition), I’ve been told that what it may lack in quantity is made up for many times over in its unnerving quality. A psychological horror story, the reader finds themselves in the driver’s seat and on their way to an old drive-in movie theater nestled in the deep woods of the eerily remote town of Monontuk. Despite being warned by one of the locals to stay away from the theater, the mysterious, alluring call of the Monontuk Drive-In wins out. Not only does the narrator end up getting more than they bargained for, but the consequences are detrimental and irreversible. “You can’t unsee what you have seen” is the tagline of the story – and even after you finish reading it, “Monontuk” just sticks with you…    

Though I enjoy the genre on occasion, I never would have thought that my first book would be a horror story. The inspiration came to me unexpectedly, and when I was in most need of it. There was an evening a few weeks ago where I was literally in tears because I felt utterly stuck and in desperate need of something to rekindle my creativity. I was tired, overwhelmed by a lot of changes that have been going on in my life, and stressed out over the fact that I wanted to write, but the ideas and words just weren’t there. I’m sure everyone who is a writer, an aspiring writer, or just everyone in general, knows exactly what this is like, and it just drives you crazy. Maybe it was my distressed mindset that night which led me to contemplate bizarre story ideas… creepy things… And somehow I came up with the concept of a scary story which centered around a drive-in movie theater….

And so “The Monontuk Dot” was born.

The concept struck me as unique, as I’ve never come across a story like this one before (though feel free to let me know if this idea has, in fact, already been taken). When I finally got past the first introductory paragraphs and into the shoes of the curiosity-driven narrator, I felt as if I was the one who was leaving the comfort of my home and making the long, solitary trip out to Monontuk – and it creeped me out. The idea of venturing out all alone at night into an unknown, remote location can be pretty intimidating – but add to that the disquieting atmosphere of a place where all you can see and feel is darkness… You just know that something isn’t right, but you try to ignore it by keeping your eyes focused on the destination.

The day I started writing “The Monontuk Dot”, I actually vowed to myself that I’d put it aside a few hours before going to bed. In the end, this didn’t do me as much good as I’d hoped – I ended up needing to keep the light on all night, and I slept fitfully. It was the atmosphere of the story, and many of the concepts I started writing about, that left me feeling so fearful. Sometimes, despite telling yourself ‘it’s just a fictitious story’, you can’t shift your focus so easily. It makes me wonder how writers like Stephen King can create what they create, and still be able to sleep at night.

Needless to say, I worked hard (and quickly) to take the story from beginning to end – thankful that it was a short story and not a novel. I fought through anxiety attacks and paranoid thoughts… but the ultimate reward that I found in writing this story was that if it was having this kind of impact on me, then I’d truly created something that was twistedly, terrifyingly entertaining. A dear friend of mine, who offered to be my editor and to assist with marketing the book, had a similar experience of not being able to let it go so easily after reading it… That the feelings of darkness and dread had a way of sticking around much longer than one might want them to. In a kind of perverse way, that’s quite an honor for anyone who’s written a horror story – to have their readers immersed to the point where they honestly find themselves questioning whether it’s just a fictitious story, or perhaps something deeper… like an ominous allegory that might contain a few things that they’d find themselves wide awake at night contemplating…

So that’s the backstory behind “The Monontuk Dot”, and I hope that it might draw in more curious, thrill-seeking readers who love a good scare. 🙂

woods at night image courtesy ofBryan Alexander
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