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Do You Open the Door

April 2, 2009

We’ve all seen it before. A guy/girl running for their lives barricades themselves in a room. Then comes the dreaded silence or pounding. Sometimes they back away from the door and look for another way out. Other times they open it which usually means coming face-to-face with the bad guy. Horror writers are often faced with this dilemma. Do we open the door or leave it closed?

Each choice has their perks and downfalls. By opening the door, the character and the reader are forced to take the evil head on. The problem is making the big reveal at the perfect time. Do you wait and build the suspense first or go through its cycle of madness?

Keeping the door closed keeps the suspense alive. Allows the reader to determine what the true evil is. However, if you don’t provide a good balance of suspense with a plot, you may leave your reader frustrated or confused.

In any case, it depends on the story you write in which method you choose. I prefer the closed door policy but can’t resist opening the door once in a while. Would you open the door?

Andrea reluctantly opened the door. She now is mindlessly searching for the zombie who stole her brain. In case she never finds it, you can view her life’s work here.
  1. April 2, 2009 8:01 am

    and I am the type screaming at the TV screen or into the pages of the book “don’t go in there!”… does anyone ever listen…..noooooooo.

    great thought provoking piece Andrea – you can’t just peak in.. you have to step through – or leave it the hell alone.

  2. April 2, 2009 2:13 pm

    I, it seems, am a peeker. I like windows with curtains and peep holes in the door. In fact, I am not be above have the characters look under the door. But opening the door…I don’t think so. I figure, that monster is going to come in of his own free will if that is the way the story unfolds. Why hurry toward a terrible moment when slobber pools on the floor and my heroine is frozen in her tracks. Suspense is better than the alternative. After all, as I am writing the story, the monster may change it’s mind and go the next door. That works for me just fine, both in my stories and in real life.


  3. April 2, 2009 5:37 pm

    I guess it depends, for me, how far into the story you are. You don’t want to open the door too early, but it’s kind of boring if you don’t open it eventually.

    I prefer it when the character has no choice and the door gets smashed open, so they have to face the thing on the other side, on way or the other.

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