One of the best lessons I've learned about writing is to put two unlikely things together. For my novella CINDERS I turned a normally innocent and happy Cinderella into an unhappy, ungrateful woman. For my novel MONARCH I mixed together guns and butterflies. In my novel THE BREAKAWAY my main protagonist is kidnapped, but for her it ends up being something she wants.
Not only do I do this with the main idea of a story, but I also carry it down to different levels in the story, sometimes even down to the sentence level. Conflicting emotions in characters creates delicious tension. Two ideas which seem opposite at first, but are slowly revealed to have ties, creates enormous surprises.
Christmas is no different. Think of A Christmas Carol, one of the most spooky, but also most popular Christmas stories ever told. Something about the combination works. In that same vein, Loren Eaton is holding his annual Advent Ghosts Shared Storytelling Event. Loren hosts the I Saw Lightning Fall blog. He says:
Every year, this blog hosts a round of Advent-themed storytelling, a time for us to gather around the dying fire and share tales as the cold wind moans outside. These aren't long stories, just 100 words each, and it's open to anyone and everyone who'd like participate. Why not read some of last year's selections?
Smashing horror with Christmas is a spooky, spectacularly fun event! You should join in. It's only 100 words. All stories will be posted tomorrow and linked from Loren's blog. Have fun!
And while we're at it, I'd like to know what opposites you smash together in your stories! Do share.