Is Poe Too Scary?

telltale heart 3

When I first decided to twist the titles of Edgar Allan Poe for my sexy, dark, and gritty mystery series, I began to research this talented writer. The first book in my series is The Purloined Skull, twisted from Poe’s The Purloined Letter, a non-horror story. The books do not steal from Poe’s stories themselves, just his titles, but do have some dark moments as I hope to frighten my readers as well as intrigue them with the sensual relationship between my hero and heroine. Often I pull no punches with the story line as well.

Poe wrote some of the most frightening stories I’ve ever read. My favorite of these is The Tell-Tale Heart, which is creepy and scared me properly. His scary stories weren’t accepted by readers in his day because people thought them too scary. In telltale heart 2this day and age, there’s no such thing as too scary. Movies and books do their best to scare the socks right off their audience. Poe also wrote out of the box stories, as do some writers today. As time goes by and writers and movie producers vie to offer the most terrorizing tales, Poe’s could become tame. But I doubt it. I believe he will always hold the top notch award in scaring his readers.

For information on Poe, his work and his history,

Since my next book, The Tell-Tale Stone will be released May 5, I thought it might be fun to find a summary of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart for those who haven’t read it, or read it so long ago they’ve forgotten it.telltale heart 1

An unnamed narrator opens the story by addressing the reader and claiming that he is nervous but not mad. He says that he is going to tell a story in which he will defend his sanity yet confess to having killed an old man. This is the lead in to a summary and analysis of this, one of Poe’s shortest short story. Go here to read the rest. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Can you name some authors who scare you? Would you rather not read stories that frighten you? Why not?

Here’s a really brief excerpt from The Tell-Tale Stone:

At the cabin, she ran through the dew-sprinkled grass, unlocked the door, and slipped inside. The yard light blinked once and went out, plunging the room into an intense darkness. Into the utter silence, something that sounded like a heartbeat fluttered to life. Slow at first, it sped up to match her own pulse.

Good God, what was that?

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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
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4 Responses to Is Poe Too Scary?

  1. I love Poe’s work, and many scary, suspenseful stories. Psychological thrillers are my fave, and I often find them inspiring – someone overcoming the worst darkness to find the light.

  2. Sorchia D says:

    Poe us a dandy, for sure. The Fall of the House of Usher is the one that got me.. being buried alive is as scary as it gets for me. The Black Cat and The Casque of Amontillado are right up there. Poe’s unreliable narrator is so much fun to read…and to try to emulate. I wonder what he would be writing if he were around today. Best of luck with your series.

  3. Thanks August and Sorchia for reading and commenting on my blog. I appreciate your comments about Poe and how he affected you.

  4. cjfosdick says:

    Good info Velda! Poe’s life, like so many creative “artists” was short and tragic-filled. Think of what he might have done if he lived beyond his early 40s! Think of what he might have accomplished with social media!

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