Dark Thoughts. (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Writing Horror.)

Dracula - Bela LugosiIn a way, I’ve always written horror. This is no surprise, my favourite books were always those that left me a little uneasy in the dark. I remember dashing naked to the bathroom, after a long session reading The Shining, because any extra time outside the blankets was time I might be accosted by evil spirits. I am not easily frightened, particularly by books, but even I run a little faster through the dark after a spine chiller. When I started writing more seriously, my love of horror seeped in.

My first story, Christmas Past, was intended to be fun science fiction, and yet it opens with a corpse in the snow and things don’t get much brighter from there. But I won’t sit down and work on a horror piece. There’s an invisible wall between horror and I. I’ve begun a few creepy tales, but I self censor myself far too much to really be effective. I want to explore it because I find horror so absorbing, but every time I have a great idea, a little voice shouts “Don’t write it! You’ll be banished from the human race!” And I’m not even talking about particularly gruesome or morbid ideas. It’s such a strange fear, when a writer like Stephen King is probably the most successful writer of our time, to be worried to follow in his footsteps.

Some writers try to inspire people, or to make them laugh or cry. Whenever I write, I lean towards fear. I want my books, in some small way, to frighten you. I want you to keep turning the pages until you reach the end just so you can see if everything will be ok. And people like to be frightened. Horror has its ups and downs, but the genre is always there, sometimes hiding in the sci-fi or the crime, but it’s always there. The scary books never leave the shelves, our guilty pleasures that we don’t discuss in public.

I’m writing a horror story now; a nasty little piece about something that really frightens me now. I just hope I’ll be brave enough to publish at the end.