Monday, March 30, 2009

On Writing Horror

I like books about being a writer. It makes me feel like I'm being productive without having to actually undergo the scary process of committing my ideas to paper.

Being the product of many cooks, the advice was sometimes uneven. Treat your stories as a roller coaster ride. Always strive to make your stories as literary and deep as possible. Too much explicit gore is tacky and overwrought. It's the responsibility of horror writers to get wrist deep and rummage in the guts of the world. The hoary old tropes of the genre can still be used effectively with the right imagination and originality. The future of horror fiction is dependant on our willingness to cast aside the monsters that no longer scare people.

It's definitely one of those books where you have to pick and choose the stuff that resonates with you. There's stuff for people who want to write elegant, subtle ghost stories and there is stuff for people who want whirring chainsaws ripping into quivering flesh. It's also a great chance to get a sense of what your favorite writer values and what they bring to the stories they tell.

In addition, the book provides something many writer guides don't have: information toward writing for new media. There's information on writing for comics, video and role playing games, and plays. As horror is such a fringe-y, dangerous genre, it's nice to know that they take consideration for the odd paths scream-scribes might choose to take.

I love horror. My tastes run to the dark side, my passions are far outside of the light, and I want to make my little contribution to the genre. Writing is a weird, solitary battle with yourself with very few guides along the way. I'm happy I have this little tome in my collection. It's something to reference and it's something to keep me motivated. After all, us weirdos have to stick together.

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