Blake Smith is a student and aspiring author in Australia. Their work is influenced by their political leanings, trauma, and reading nonsense online. Who's isn't though? Did y'all see that orange with the limbs and the face? Terrifying :/
The Shock Factor in writing is best described as a sentence, image, or phrase that’s meant to create immediate tension in an audience. You may have heard multiple things accused of “relying on Shock Factor” like PETA ads, or poorly made YouTube videos. These are usually greusome photos of injured animals from companies like PETA, or horror movies that are more concerned with frightening imagery than making sense in the plot. Most commonly it’s in images, but it can be found in writing as well.
The Problem With True Crime
True crime is a fascinating subject that draws in people from all over the world. There’s a dark curiosity about what murders or robberies happened in an area close by. What famous criminals walked the streets you shop on? Is old Mrs Patterson really the sweet lady she seems, or is she an uncaught mastermind of a thief? What makes a person kill?
My mother loves peaches. She always said they were the sweetest fruit. She thought they were cute, with fuzzy, pink skin. She said that peaches kept her skin looking youthful and dewy. She called my baby sister “Little Peach” so often that she responded to that more than her own name. She had the skin that wouldn’t tan, and the hair that curled into ringlets easily. She was bubbly and bright; a sweetheart of sorts. I was heavier than my sister, I had spots and moles, and there was something about the way I spoke that made people sneer at me. I was always being told to watch my mouth, but I could never see my lips. She called me “Little Pear”.
Under The Ice
David didn’t come home. He got almost all the way. The snowfall was heavy and had made him late. It swirled around the car that shouldn’t have been on the roads. It sat there as if David would never leave it. He didn’t get to see the fireplace that had settled into crackling in the background to warm the house, or smell the soup simmering on the stove. Patrick saw him through the window. His red hair was a bright spot in the frozen winter around him. His black suit stood out in the blanket of snow and he was still clutching his briefcase in his shaking hand. He loosened his tie. Despite the warmth of the room, Patrick felt a cold chill run down his neck. He normally didn’t loosen his tie until he walked into the house. He stopped next to the pond.
War of the Clowns
The sugar-rushed children were running through their parents’ legs, racing to the games and rides to the left of the amusement park. The games were buzzing and ringing to celebrate the people who had lost their money in the middle, and beside them the smell of sugary, salty food wafted through the whole park. On the right, all the bigger rides—the rollercoasters and flipping boats—were pouring their machinal and organic screams. Throughout it all, the clowns were going to war.
Jury of the Beast
The tar weaved like a snake through the brown fields. The sun came off it in waves. On the side was a previously white ute, now covered in dust and locust. The locust were so thick this season they should’ve been a crop themselves. They would part like the sea for the cattle wandering through them. They were looking for any grass that wasn’t already chewed to the root and scorched by the sun.
The upstairs attic was crowded and filthy. Jace took another sip from his beer before getting started. It would be somewhere up here. He put his drink on a dusty box and starting digging through the garbage. There were old bottles, old books, a stamp collection. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. Clouds of it puffed up into his nose, making him sneeze.
A Stranded Shark
The ocean moves independent of the will of the things inside it. It moves like a stomach trying to heave an illness out of it, vomiting it all over the golden sand. All sorts of things find themselves stuck in the wet sand, writhing to get back into the home that threw them out. Some of them – turtles, seals, and the like – can crawl their way back in themselves, but others can’t quite make it. They don’t have the same ability to wiggle and shift themselves through the sand and back into the unlovable embrace of the water. They burn in the sun until they can’t survive it anymore.