I write horror, because that’s what I know. That’s what I’ve decided today after further pondering my own fears about writing dark and twisted stories.
You take your very heart and drop it on the page. You create with your body, and worse still, your thoughts. “Fiction” writing that is any good, and some that is bad–mine for instance is the latter–comes from deeper. Horror goes even deeper.
In order to create realistic characters, you have to steal from your thoughts, your dreams, your desires, fears, and obsessions. For most, I can only assume this to be a pleasurable experience. Some call it cathartic. Hell, even Stephen King famously said he writes horror because he writes about what scares him. After all, all those demons that have troubled you and kept you awake at night have been released onto the page. It’s like a burden off the writer’s shoulders. Many writers around me find this to be the case as well. Their stories are of love, finding love, murder and betrayal, time travel, religious quests, and erotic sexcapades.
I have not found this to be the case in writing horror.
Instead, I find demons that are better left hidden from the world. There are reasons why people keep secrets. What lies deep inside me are among those types of secrets. Creatures that stir inside me are things I’ve built such walls, such fantastical fortresses around. I’ve done this for the protection of those around me. I know that those beasts are there. I need no protection from them. I’ve fallen on that sword for the protection of others. These demons lay dormant inside me, where I planned to leave them. That is, till I stumbled upon what might be my “calling.”
I realized that many of my stories were flat, as were my characters, because I kept the true catalysts for my stories locked in my internal dungeon. But, I’ve only done the reader a disservice. I haven’t been honest with my reader. They’ve only received half the story. No more. Or shall I say, Nevermore.
Yesterday, I let some of those internal Dark Passengers out to play. Yesterday and today, I wrote the darkest scenes I’ve ever typed onto a page. They were twisted, sick, dark, perverse, taboo, gut wrenching, and–I hope–heart wrenching.
On the one hand, I hope my readers are thankful for the effort and reality I spewed onto the page for them. It was for them that I did this. Were it up to me, these twisted creatures would remain locked away forever. But apparently, I’m not the only twisted human being on the planet.
Unlike Stephen King, I don’t write horror because I like to read horror. I see horror on a regular basis in my volunteer work and at my paying job. I’ve witnessed horror growing up. It’s what I know. The sick and twisted part is, it’s where I feel comfortable. So, maybe I write horror because it’s what I know. It’s not my “happy place” but it’s my warm blanket place. It’s the place I know better than anything else.