Urban legend has it that Ernest Hemingway once bet a group of other writers that he could create a spooky short story in under 10 words, and won with “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” The accuracy of this tale has been challenged over time, but the “less is more” credo still rings true, particularly in the horror genre. It’s easy to create a bad scary story – anyone who’s seen the glut of Saw
movies or half-hearted Halloween offshoots can attest to that – and simpler approaches often resonate more deeply with audiences who are used to horror attempts that overwhelm with gore and underwhelm with actual fear. We won’t pretend we weren’t shaking at the end of the original low-budget Blair Witch Project
or after reading The Long Walk
, a short story by Richard Bachman (Stephen King’s early pseudonym).
This week local reading series There Will Be Words seeks to capitalize on simplicity in horror with their sixth annual Flash Fiction Spooktacular, where eight writers will use 500 words or less to leave you sleeping with the lights on that night. Some stories may leave you in a cold sweat, others may just leave you cold. But you’ve got nothing to lose by checking it out: maybe someone will even have some baby shoes for sale.
7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11 | Gallery at Avalon Island, 39 S. Magnolia Ave.| 407-317-8367 | therewillbewords.com