Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Setting

I've been wanting to set a story in an indoor pool for a long time. To me, indoor pools are very sinisters places. They look strange: the wavering water casts shadows on the tiled walls. They smell strange: all that chlorine can't escape like it does outside. They feel strange: slimey and rough at the same time. They sound strange: sounds seems to bounce off every surface. They taste strange: the chemicals and humidity choke me.

But maybe indoors pools wouldn't freak you out in a story at all. Maybe you grew up on them and it's fruit cellars or animals dressed like humans that scares you.
What motiff or setting do you want to use because it's scary or sinister to you?

10 comments:

Mystery Dawg said...

When I grew up back east on Long Island and we moved into our first house I always had dreams about the basement (cellar). I have always thought that this would make a great setting. Of course, my parents finished the basement in a few years and it became the favorite place in the house to hang out with friends.

Sophie said...

two freaky pools:
the one in the original movie sabrina...

and the ones at Hearst Castle (that would be a bit of a hike for you, Patti, since it's on the california coast :)

hmmm. Well, i just finished a horror story set in the tahitian isles. When I was there, I found it REALLY unsettling to be on a tiny piece of land in the middle of a vast ocean. It felt like being on a floatie far from the shore. Which, I guess, just goes to show that *anything* can be creepy.

And of course, cellars!

How about abandoned houses? I find them irresistible...that compelling combination of poignancy in the details left behind (the wallpaper someone once chose and applied with care, the bits of letters and papers on the floor) and the frightening pace of the decay, how quickly the windows get broken and the dust settles and mold grows.....lovely!

Megan Powell said...

One way to get an effectively creepy setting is to use a place that is--or should be--normal and nonthreatening. So it doesn't matter whether or not the reader finds indoor pools inherently freaky. You only need to make them find yours freaky.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Cellars really freak me out. I locked myself in one as a child and cellars then were pretty dismal places. Isn't there a freaky pool in an Altman movie or something with Margot Kidder?
I find most everything freaky some days. Today on the bus, the woman across from me kept running her eyes along the ceiling. I looked ten times to be sure if was her and not some poltergeist up there.

socalledauthor said...

Sophie-- I'm with you on abandoned houses! They're so alluring. I'm more concerned about finding some lurker in one (when out with my camera) then I am of ghosts.

I think the tone sets the spookiness. It's how it's written about, how it's described. Something can be warm and cozy or hot and smothering, depending on your point of view.

pattinase (abbott) said...

No one can make an indoor pool seem cozy to me, but I'll grant you that most things can be pushed and prodded into coziness.

paisley said...

i cannot remember where or when... but i read a scene in a book i believe,, a serial killer who invited some guy to go swimming with him,, in an indoor pool,, and then forced some hind of sex acts,, and eventually murdered him... i do however remember the scene played out very eerily,, and i have to say a lot of that was due to my own experience in a friend of the families indoor pool,, and the impressions it left me with... i think you ought to explore it... if i can get any more specific, i will share the source with you,, i just cannot remember right this moment....

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Paisley. Love that name. I vaguely remember that too. How about the guy was a paraplegic but had incredibly strong arms and strangles the guy. This immediately flew into my head.

Josephine Damian said...

Basements.

That's the one good thing about Florida. No basements here.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Where do you put your junk in Florida?