Today I have the pleasure of featuring an interview with the very lovely and friendly Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman.
Bestselling author Dr Elmi Zulkarnain from Singapore has sold over 10,000 copies of his supernatural, horror and ghostly anthology titled Stillborn – The Legend of Pontianak and Other Supernatural Ghost Stories.
So, without further ado, I present to you, Dr Elmi.
When you think of horror, what comes to mind?
If you are a horror reader, you know exactly what fear means to you. Horror readers are afraid of one thing. They are terrified that horror writers like Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman will show them that their greatest fear has become reality.
According to Dr Elmi, “Fear is the weapon of the horror writer. However, contemporary horror writers have a supernatural challenge on their hands when dabbling in the paranormal. Many modern sceptics don’t believe in ghosts, so writing ghost literature for a modern readership presents particular challenges. Often than not, sceptics and believers often collide on the paranormal.”
Dr Elmi Zulkarnain is one of the few horror writers who will go into any dark dwelling, any crawl space, anywhere the readers dare not venture. He will take a good, hard look at your fear; then he’ll come back and tell you all about it.
He will break the rules and kill off anyone. It doesn’t matter if you have grown to love the character. It doesn’t matter if the character is young or old. Horror authors like him are rule breakers. That’s how they scare you.
Dr Elmi is never concerned with happy endings, warm blankies, and fuzzy slippers. Happiness is not in his job description. His job is to scare you. And he loves his job.
“I will take your sense of wellbeing, and feed it to that hungry part of you that wants to be scared. I will ensure that you don’t look at common household pets the same way. You’ll become suspicious of everyone and everything you once thought safe and secure. And we’ll do it long after you put our stories down,” explained Dr Elmi.
You’ll reassure yourself by thinking it’s only a story, and stories aren’t real. And you’d be right. The story is fiction, a work of someone’s imagination.
The underlying theme, however, is very real. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes we are out of our environment and feel very uncomfortable. Sometimes, circumstances are beyond our control. Sometimes, some body or something wants to take over. And that is very mortifying.
Why do some readers prefer, even LOVE to read horror?
Many readers like to be scared. So why not do it safely? Let these readers consume their fear in small doses, one chapter at a time. If the going gets tough, they just need their bookmarks to give them an intermission. They can always go back and face our fear once we have taken a little breather.
Why do horror writers prefer this genre?
Misery loves company. Supernatural horror writers never face any fear alone. They are not stupid. They know what’s out there, and it’s too scary to face alone. Besides, these writers might need the readers as bait.
Dr Elmi’s Tips for Emerging Horror Writers
When writing horror stories, make them plausible. Make your readers believe in your tale with vivid scenarios, strong characters, realistic dialogues, and terror so real they won’t question it. They know the story is fiction, but they’ll accept that it could happen. That’s what storytelling is all about. Make them beg for more.
We’ve discussed common fears that haunt us in the world today. If you want to write horror, think about the things that really scare you. Think about all the stuff that makes your mouth go dry and your insides shake uncontrollably. Go deep inside, so deep it scares you. Go to that place you refuse to bring to light because it makes you ill to think about such things. When you get there, grab onto those unspeakable fears and talk about them. Those are the stories horror writers need to tell.
Why? Horror is changing because horror readers are changing. They’ve grown weary of reading the same stuff with different names and different towns. They want to be scared to the point of no return. The only sure way to do that is to show them their real fears.
If you want to show the reader what scares him, then show him what scares you. Go deep and face your fear!