Ten Reasons to Write Horror

Detail of Satan from The Temptation of Christ, ca. 1500. Engraving, 22.6 x 16.9 cm. C. 150 - via Wikimedia CommonsSome people seem to think that, just because a novel is labeled as fantasy or crime, romance or historical, it should be devoid of horror. “I liked your book,” they say, “except for that nasty bit in the middle. Couldn’t you have left that out?”

My response to any such question is: “No! And thrice no!” Why? Because everywhere you look there’s horror. There’s also love and wonder and excitement and fear. If fiction is to be inclusive, it should embrace all these things and more. Only by painting the shadows can the artist deliver the light.

Perhaps that’s why everything I write is tinged with at least a little darkness. Then again, perhaps it’s because I have a twisted mind and a taste for raw flesh. The truth is, there are a thousand reasons to write horror. Here are just ten of them …

  1. … as long as I’m looking at the screen of my laptop, I don’t have to look at the blood oozing under the door.
  2. … words are my only comfort in this scarred and silent wasteland.
  3. … my prose has the power to turn all who read it insane. Including you. Reading this. Now.
  4. … it keeps my mind off the slowly spreading infection.
  5. … the story I am telling is my own. If I stop, I will die.
  6. … something has taken control of my pen and is forcing it to keep on writing writing writing while all the time inside my head I am silently screaming screaming screaming.
  7. … the demons promised that when I had written ten million words I would be free.
  8. … it distracts me from the scratching noise at the window. Hush. Wait. Do you hear it too?
  9. … tapping at the keyboard keeps my claws short.
  10. … if I stop writing, the monsters will get me.

I could keep going, but I wouldn’t want to scare you. In fact, it’s time for you to do the scaring, by telling me what draws you into the shadows. Horror – what’s in it for you?

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