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Why do you write horror?
Lucy Silag
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 3:37 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1357


Halloween's around the corner, and we're reading and thinking A TON about the horror genre around here!

 

It seems like such a funny (and SCARY) genre to write.

 

Horror writers: Why do YOU write horror?

 

What are the challenges? What are the rewards?



TheresaReel
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 2:25 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65


Hi.  I know many authors use horror to comment on society.  Zombies are popular; is that because we are all becoming zombies in a commercial/materialistic world--dead to a life of spirit and meaning, and mindlessly buying what Madison Ave. tells us we want?  Vampires are a way to comment on the danger of sexuality.  Witches--women over 45 aren't to be trusted (just another type of ageism).  Werewolves--all men are dogs?  Anyway, I am working on a horror manuscript as an intellectual exercise.  I decided to take everything in the genre and throw it together to see what happens.  Instead of focusing on one thing, I am tackling a cursed family, a witch, a vampire, a werewolf, a mummy, etc. all in one novel (spread over generations), just to see if it can be done.  Nothing deep and meaningful.  And after this, I'll move on to another genre.  I admire writers like Ann Rice who can write horror book after horror book.
Boro Dishon
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 2:28 PM
Joined: 8/15/2013
Posts: 3


I   enjoy  writing  various  genres  including  Religious,Romance, Horror  and  political  stories  though  in  the  world  of  politics  i  have  written  one  story  titled  Candor  and  successfully  published  it  but  Romance  i  have  taken  time  to  write  several  stories  among  them  is  Blackmail, Trapped  by  Love, Agonizing  twist  among  other  stories.Religious  stories  include  The  Sacred  shrine, Where  is  God?... Horror  stories  i  have  done  quite  a  number  generally  more  than  the  other  genres  listed  above, Indeterminate  Case, Diabolical  by  Peter  Jack, Bountiful  harvest  of  Agony, Midgard( i  always  call  it  the  best), At  the  Grave  among  other  horror  stories. Writing  to  me  is  based  on  inspiration  and  eagerness  to  change  the  world  through  my  literary  work, it  is  as if  was  born  for  this  reason. Most  of  my  work  is  available  in  book  country  bookstore, Amazon  and  Lulu  bookstore.

RobLodge
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 3:28 PM
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2


I think humanity has an inbuilt desire to be frightened. Some people might have buried it deep within themselves but I believe it is down there somewhere. We are beings whose ancestors lived in frightening environments, where they had to be constantly on their alert and ready to act. A part of that primitive instinct remains, as does a yearning to reactivate it, and I believe it is a horror writer's job to do that.

I am primarily a fantasy writer, it is a genre I enjoy reading and escaping into but I also enjoy the classics and recently picked Dracula back up. Stoker was able to create a tense atmosphere and that spine-chilling feeling using the media of letters and diary entries. Mary Shelley had achieved a similar feat with Frankenstein 80 odd years before that. It got me thinking about whether I could write something similar.

H. P. Lovecraft is also a major factor on my decision to give horror a go as much of his work contained fantasy elements with the hideous beasts he created and the arcane religions that worshipped them. Thus the transition from fantasy to horror is an easy one for me to make.

One thing that path I do not intend to follow is the one that has been dragging horror down the path of romance. I have nothing against people who read such stories, everybody is entitled to their own tastes, but it is something I wish to avoid.

On that note I shall end my ramblings.

Rob L


TheresaReel
Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013 7:37 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65


Have you read Mr. X by Peter Straub?  He references Lovecraft in the novel in a very interesting way.
Lucy Silag
Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:37 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1357


Hey, @RobLodge, thanks for posting!

 

I really appreciate your thoughts on Horror, and your awareness of trends in the genre? I am not familiar with the trend of "marrying" Horror to Romance . . . sounds interesting . . . not something that I would expect!

 

What don't you like about it? 

 

Lucy

Book Country Community and Engagement Manager


Ryan Holden Ballinger
Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013 7:38 PM
Joined: 10/21/2013
Posts: 1


One of my reasons for writing horror is that it is still such an untapped genre. There are of course the classics, such as "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, however with such a broad genre to write in with so many different possibilities and styles, I feel that until now, most people had put the horror genre off in some dank back alley and treated it as literature's dirty little brother, the black sheep of the family, where people who were horror fans were being left to hide in dark cold places, ashamed of their guilty pleasure; even though I think deep down almost all of humanity loves horror with it's palatable and the some not so palatable offerings that adorn the table of terror; it is only now that horror is taking it's rightful place as equal in the pantheon of literature achievement.

 

I've always found that one of the best parts of horror, lies not only in the scares that are abundant, rather, it lies also in the sense of unifying purpose that it delivers to both protagonist as well as, antagonist. People who in their otherwise normal lives would have not even bothered to give each other the time of day, suddenly find themselves relying on others whose lifestyle or beliefs contradict their own in order to survive. This kind of mirrors real life, such as during times of disaster, even though there is a loss of life, we also see the true humanity come out of almost all who are involved, putting aside petty differences to help one another.

 

My favourite part of horror writing, specifically zombie literature, is the uneasy calm that pervades when the characters find a minor reprieve from the horrors around them, only to let the realization of impending doom creep in, filling them with dread as they realize that "safety" is a relative term.

 

Furthermore, I believe that to grasp, enjoy and completely understand horror on all of it's physical and psychological levels, we must learn to truly grasp and understand not only ourselves, but also humanity as a whole. This brings us closer not only to being true horror fans, but also brings us closer to being true members of the human race in all of our unwashed, sin filled glory, while at the same time, uniting us in our journey and battle through this malevolent storm that we call life and avoiding the pitfalls of complete and utter damnation, whether from some other realm of existence or the existence that lives within our own minds. Or maybe, I just wasn't hugged enough as a child.


Lucy Silag
Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:42 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1357


Ryan Holden Ballinger wrote:

 

My favourite part of horror writing, specifically zombie literature, is the uneasy calm that pervades when the characters find a minor reprieve from the horrors around them, only to let the realization of impending doom creep in, filling them with dread as they realize that "safety" is a relative term.

 


    

Yes! Love this. Such a fantastic thing to experience as a reader!

Lucy Silag
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013 1:02 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1357


Hi horror writers!

 

Just wanted to make sure that you all saw Nikki Hopeman in the Member Spotlight on the Book Country blog today.

 

Her book, HABEAS CORPSE, has long been a popular one on BC, and it's just come out from Blood Bound Books.

 

Don't hesitate to connect with her, and one another! I think we can all learn a lot from one another. Nikki had some especially good tips in her member spotlight for how she grew her audience, and how she professionalized her writing via industry events and resources. Check it out!

 

Lucy

Book Country Community and Engagement Manager


Roger Terry
Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014 12:03 AM
Joined: 3/11/2014
Posts: 2


I write horror for the reaction. But, not only the reaction, but for the genre itself. I want to write horror because all of the great writers of the genre are passing on. And when all of the greats pass, there are going to be great new writers coming in, and many more mediocre that will follow. I want to be a great writer of horror, and I want to leave a legacy behind that 100 years after I'm gone, people will still be reading my work no matter the size. That's why I write horror.
Yellowcake
Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014 10:08 PM
Joined: 1/23/2014
Posts: 44


Hi Everyone... In another thread I started to digress as to why I'm doing what I do, so I thought id better bring it in here ...

 

I had a dream one night ... it was pretty freaky so I thought I should write it down, the end result was a horror story ... It played on my mind for months and wouldn't leave me alone until I started writing it. (I've never had the inclination to write horror before, or for anyone under the age of ten really). The first 3 chapters of the story are pretty much as it happened in the dream. (now I'm fighting the internal debate of whether I have the skill needed to deliver the story and do it justice). the rest of the story is just playing with the consequences of the actions that took place in the dream.

 

I've only ever written little fun stories to amuse my kids. However I have seen a lot of really f'd up shit - some that I can explain very easily and scientifically, some that I cant. (Such as being visited by an apparition of a guy that I used to work with at 3am only to see that half of his head was missing while he was thumping my chest telling me that he has just been run over by a truck. just to ad i was awake when this happened as i had just settled our baby daughter moments before.)

 

I think deep down everyone loves a good scary story. Maybe we like to be scared as it remind us that we're alive.

 

In the other thread I said: "Maybe I'm doing this as a way to explore the darker sides of my own personality, a mental outlet to deal with the crap life has thrown my way (lets see, suicide, depression, mental health issues, cancer - sometimes it's hard being a rock in the sea of faeces)."

 

To quote the artist formally know as: whatever he is known as these days "I was dreamin' when I wrote this Forgive me if it goes astray But when I woke up this mornin' Coulda sworn it was judgment day"

 

Anyway... back to the original point... I think I'm doing this to deal with shit in my head, and because I like telling stories, I have no idea what stories are going to come out, they just come out when they are ready.

 

 So with that, and now that you all think im a total nutbag...

 

 Cheers

 Al

 

 


Craig Peterson
Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 3:59 PM
Joined: 3/4/2014
Posts: 3


I know this is an older topic, but I'm new here so I figured I'd add my two cents.  "horror" is the only thing that I have ever really read.  While reading my mind would sometimes wander and take the story in another direction, or look at a chapter I just read and think what I would do different.  Then when I really started thinking about writing and looking for ideas, strange things and supernatural ideas were the only things that popped into my head.  I like the idea of really having no boundaries.
ChuckB
Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014 11:22 PM
Joined: 7/18/2014
Posts: 121


I write crime but usually with a paranormal/supernatural/horror twist. My primary reason is that I'm lazy and I don't have to research. Who can say that how I portray the beings or how they act is wrong?

 

I use a private detective whose cases always end up involving Satanists, a risen serial killer, vampires, etc. Most of those novel length stories are gone now. They weren't good enough for submission but they were fun to write. 

 

My wife says I'm wasting my time, that nobody is interested in this genre thus I'll never get anything published except via Kindle or similar. I disagree ... quietly ... to myself.


napacione
Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 10:06 PM
Joined: 10/31/2015
Posts: 13


Horror, for me, I grew up writing it as I learned at 14 using a real place in settings it is going to cause a stir and sometimes widespread panic.   If Stephen King used the real cities in Maine they would be giving him a weirder look because of the dark ideas that are within those histories;   I can give a few examples of my own work when it re-emerges I have a story where it combines real histories. 

    I use real cities and neighborhoods like Richard Matheson did; but I also do a Lovecraftian darkness in those places. Wandering In Darkness explored a lot of science fiction motifs for a horror story.  One thing to create fictional cities or small towns when writing horror;  but if you can do the horror stories set in real places.   That leaves the masses wondering if you’re making up the shit or is it really there – I can do nonfiction version of Gothic Horror also. Brian Keene called Oak Lawn, Illinois, a fictional city and Thrall, New Jersey a real place as the latter is a rival author.  The Pattern of Diagnosis is a creative nonfiction work that lends a lot from Gothic Horror (dark atmospheres.)  

    Urban Fiction writers also noticed how Gothic Horror and Urban Fiction;  the dark subject matter of both genres lend into each other quite well.  Not a lot of horror authors like to talk about gangs and addiction;  madness and suicide as they come up with zombies and other fictional stock characters.  I have used the ghost element because this is a huge part of Chicago's history as much as mobsters and gangbangers are then combine Lovecraftian elements and natural disasters into the mix.  The darker atmosphere of our histories lend quite well into the territories of urban fiction (street lit) and Gothic Horror fiction.  I didn't realize I contributed to street literature with what I was doing but as a creative nonfiction writer I started toying with urban/suburban sprawl as a Gothic atmosphere.  Ghosts in the Tornado from me -- I was using the framework of the Plainfield Tornado in a city that's relatively the same size to take the brunt where a natural disaster can be the groundwork for supernatural horror stories. The deaths that those things leave behind;  they will sometimes haunt the places. Ghosts are us once as the idea goes; but when you're a Christian doing this style and able to write very dark horror stories.
    It's a taboo because when you approach an area like Wheaton College.  You can easy do a Gothic Horror story around that area as Glendale Heights and Addison, Illinois, both  have the darkness to toy with.  Ramsey Campbell failed to see how my area growing up lends rather well to horror if you use real settings because you have many who have pointed the finger; and this story I wrote for an anthology I am overseeing.  I am addressing it.  Just something about Illinois seems to capture the imagination as much Stephen King does with Maine or H. P. Lovecraft with Greater Boston, Edgar Alan Poe with Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore. I am trying to imagine H. P. Lovecraft in 1996 Glendale Heights, which was three years after the events of my true crime work The Cabbie Homicide.  So Lucy writing horror for me is a chance to reveal what kind of author and writer I am because I have something truly real to say and sometimes horror is the way I can express it.  Horror for me is a bullhorn. There are many who get paranoid of the urban/suburban sprawl and they find comfort in everyone knows everyone; that well writing urban horror it's more you're the man in the crowd more comfortable alone in a crowd full of people.  Walking around among the crowds and studying;  thinking what happened in downtown Chicago when reading Leslie Rule's book I was going,  "Why didn't I think of that one?"  
    It seems that the writers who are celebrated are often the ones who create fictional villages or small towns but when you offer the real areas to work with.  They end up looking at you as a bit evil or taboo; the urban/suburban sprawl is something that is a framework when horror is born out of urban decay. If you can create dystopia as well as able to scare the living shit out of someone; that's an extra bonus.  Dystopia sets up for Gothic Horror to scare even darker when it's near future. Richard Matheson when he wrote I Am Legend -- if you're born in 1973-1979 you're looking at this in a way because he was writing about generations yet to be born. It's tough writing a story set 20 years in the future as I did in 2008 setting a story in 2029. Then a story that's also dystopian in 2008 because it was set in 2009. 

 

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--edited by napacione on 1/30/2016, 10:25 PM--


Allen Curtis Meissner
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2016 6:40 PM
Joined: 9/2/2014
Posts: 22


I started writing a horror and suspense anthology series which I came to call My Night Terrors . Mostly as a means of diversification . The first two eBooks addressed contemporaries such as werewolves and vampires , while the third installment enabled me to draw upon some creature creations of my own ( These might become a series within the series ) . With the exception of Lizards of Murkelon , every other story is set in places where I have visited at one point or another to add more believability to the anthology !
 

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