Top ten reasons writers write horror
“Hello, my name is Jack and I’m a horror writer.”
“Never say that on an airplane!”
That’s right, I’ll be here all evening. Tip your wait staff and blah blah blah.
Horror and dark, twisty fiction are my jam. I’ve been a fan since childhood and I do not see that changing before my time of dying. Be it straight up horror, urban fantasy, paranormal romance … I’m there. I write it, I read it, I watch it, I love it.
Unfortunately, the public at large doesn’t always have the same fascination for the genre as do I (and many others). This can lead to those of us who enjoy the genre, to feel as if we’re in need of some 12 step program to help shoo the monkey from our backs.
Or not. Truth be told, that monkey happens to feed our soul a great many metaphorical bananas. But why do we writers opt to take on that back-dwelling primate … especially when there are other, more popular and profitable genres to be had?
I’ll give you ten reasons why.
1. All in the family. Many of us come from broken, dysfunctional families, such that we find it necessary to fly within horror’s orbit. Dealing with such flawed characters is like coming home, only without having to sleep on the couch or deal with creepy uncle Bob.
2. Catharsis. I’ve been of the opinion that horror is one of the single most cathartic genres on the market. Writing something horrific (or even subtle) allows us to purge those demons that would otherwise take us down. We kill (on paper only, of course) those who would cause us pain in real life. Remember, if you were in my novel, you’d be dead by now.
3. It’s sexy. Look at Kate Beckensail in Underworld...or Morticia Addams, the Bride of Frankenstein, Pinhead, Julie Walker (Return of the Living Dead 3), Marybeth Hutchinson (from The Faculty) … Buffy and/or Willow (or both). Come on! The list goes on and on. Horror is dead sexy. See what I did there?
4. No safer fright. Let’s face it, sometimes the daily grind can get really boring. To that end, we might need a bit of a jolt to jump start our lives. That doesn’t mean we should all conjure demons, chase down serial killers, or become vampire slayers (see above). Horror allows us to take on such dangerous under the safety of our covers. Your heart may race, but you know you’re safe (under said covers). Scare those doldrums away with a good fright.
5. Escape, escape, escape! Let’s face it, the world isn’t such a great place at the moment. When political, social, or personal unrest has you down, why not make the escape into a world that might serve to remind you that life isn’t really that bad. After all, you’re not being flensed by a beast with melting eyes, six hundred sixty-six teeth, and lava-red flesh.
6. Testing the boundaries. Some of us just like to see how far we can bend and twist sanity and fear. It’s like creating your own world that will not only bow to your will, but serve as a testing ground for the human (or inhuman) condition. As we play God with these characters, we shout to the heavens, “Mu Ha Ha!” All in good fun … right?
7. Yin with the yang. There are times we just need something to be used for comparison. It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in a life of utter purity and perfection—until you’ve completely lost sight of the purpose. Writing/reading/watching horror gives us the perfect comparison to help remind us how good and evil fit into the world (and that life is not black and white).
8. Mirror mirror on the wall. One of the main reasons why I write horror is to hold the mirror up to humanity and say, “Humanity, not only do you need to pluck your brows, you are the monster!” It’s a great way to remind ourselves how imperfect we are (see above).
9. Your never alone. Many of us who dwell in horror’s shadows have felt alone for a very long time. We were outcasts in high school and never really managed to shed the trenchcoat mafia tag. If there’s one warm and fuzzy that horror offers it’s that fans stick together—like an extended family of freaks that love one another with an unconditional acceptance.
10. Speaking of fans. One thing I have always found with horror fans is that they are, in most cases, some of the most loyal of any genre. When a horror fan finds a writer they like, they stick with them through thick and thin. Even when you’ve donned skis and a leather jack (to jump a shark or two), they’ll be there with you, along for the bumpy ride.
That monkey is now looking pretty sweet. And these reasons really only scratch the surface of nits on that furry monkey’s back. There’s so much more to love about the horror genre.
Jack Wallen is what happens when a Gen Xer mind-melds with present day snark. Jack is a seeker of truth and a writer of words with a quantum mechanical pencil and a disjointed beat of sound and soul. Although he resides in the unlikely city of Louisville, Kentucky, Jack likes to think of himself more as an interplanetary traveler, on the lookout for the Satellite of Love and a perpetual movie sign...or so he tells the reflection in the mirror (some times in 3rd person). Jack is the author of numerous tales of dark, twisty fiction including the I Zombie series, the Klockwerk Movement, the Fringe Killer series, Shero, The Nameless Saga, and much more.
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For Whom The Reap Tolls
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