ow that it is officially autumn, things are falling into place. Pun intended. I have a snickerdoodle scented candle burning in the kitchen, my drink of choice toady is tea, and I am taking time to plan my week, including writing, and that important thing called reading. While I do this, I am listening to my background sound of choice recently – recaps of horror movies, and since I am starting to run out of the backlist of the YouTubers I follow in that genre, I have now added recaps of the storylines of horror video games.
This might seem like a strange choice, seeing as how my genes that I write are historical and contemporary romance, and my favorite genres to read are historical romance and contemporary YA fiction. There is a small tie in on that last one, though, because I do like a good YA thriller. I usually want to change the ending, though, and I do believe that there are romances (largely including mine) that could benefit from a tinge or two of horror. You know I like it gritty. Even so, I don’t watch horror movies. I don’t play horror games. Well, for the most part.
When I played games on the Choices app, I did play It Lives in the Woods, and got all characters to the end alive, (but for the one that…um, it’s complicated) so yay me. If you like spooky atmosphere that lands an emotional punch, and like phone games, I would recommend giving it a try. There was a sequel, and I did play it, but it didn’t stick with me the same way, and I don’t recall if I even finished it. I don’t play any phone games at moment. I have Stardew Valley and West of Loathing (honestly, I never thought stick figures would be this much fun) as well as Sims 2 and 3, both of which are held captive on my dead desktop.
The only game I am playing right now is Sims 4, but heavily modded, default-replaced, custom content filled, and as of this weekend, all premades nuked and replaced by Sims I have either made or downloaded from the galleries of Simmers I follow on social media. No, there cannot be violence in The Sims, but there are vampires and ghosts, and Sims can and do die, sooo…not really an issue though as I mainly play regular people type games. Families living their lives, chasing their goals, forming relationships.
This sounds an awful lot like writing. I freely acknowledge this. Case in point, though the creator of Deception Pass has not continued the story in Sims 4, they are giving it a graphic novel treatment, and I can tell you now, I will be All Over That. Such is the power of storytelling in Sims. I am convinced that it is helping me get back into my own writing mojo, though my Sims games would make for extremely boring fiction, and the stories I write would be difficult to play in Sims of any incarnation (there are four so far) but it still works well enough.
So why the horror? In part, it’s the voices of the presenters. The sound of a voice means a lot; if the voice isn’t working for me, I don’t care what they’re talking about, I’m out. The other part is that I find it fascinating how intricate some of these plots can be, how emotionally deep they go, and in the end, it’s al about facing our fears. Do my romance characters have to deal with fears that threaten their chance at HEA? Oh yes.
In case there is any confusion, psychological horror yes, splatter, heck no. If there is any sort of historical aspect, my ears prick, especially if they have an effect on whatever the present day of the story might be. That is very much something that can carry over into romance, only the endings are hopeful instead of horrific. Though there may well be horrors along the way, they aren’t the end all and be all, as my mother would say. The love relationship is, and I am more than okay with that. (Also, I don’t kill off companion animal characters.)
What’s your take on horror?