If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I promised a “deep” post for today. Well, you’re going to get one…it’s just a bit late. Technically, I have a little over an hour until it’s officially tomorrow. It’s been a crazy week! Anyway, here you go. Please feel free to sound off in the comments. I’d like to generate some sort of discussion with this, and I can’t do that without you guys.
You’ve probably got a pretty good glimpse of my personality through this blog. We all have our days, but I would say, typically, I’m a pretty happy person. I love to laugh and to make others laugh. I’m a geek. I have crazy ideas and plans. I like to have fun. I’m down to earth. I like talking and I like listening. I usually have trouble not smiling.
So, it’s not a big surprise that when I tell people that I write horror they’re pretty shocked.
My mom is one of them. Well, she isn’t shocked so much as she just doesn’t understand it. She told me the other day that if she were to sit down and write something, she would want it to be inspirational. She isn’t interested in some of the things that I write because she just doesn’t understand why I would want to add to the collective “crap” that’s out there in the world. If I’m going to put my mark on it, why not make it a positive one?
(Disclaimer: My mom is wonderful and amazing and I don’t mind that she has a differing opinion. Actually, I’m glad that she does because it’s made me reflect on why I write some of the things I do.)
She’s got a point. A pretty good one, actually. There’s a lot of horrible, terrible, tragic things that happen in this world. Why would I want to put those things down on paper for other people to read?
I don’t know if there’s a good answer to this. There certainly isn’t a “right” one. I’m not sure what other people have to say – why they choose to write in this genre. But here are my thoughts.
First of all, I’m a pantser (for those of you not in the know, it’s much less scandalous than it sounds – it just means I don’t like to plot my stories and that I’d rather fly by the seat of my pants). I get an image or a piece of dialogue stuck in my head and all of a sudden a story blossoms from this little seed. I start to write it down and, before I can help myself, the entire thing is unfolding in front of me. I’ve always been this way and even though it makes writing novels a little difficult, I really do enjoy my general process. So, the reason why I may write horror stories is pretty easy: it pops into my head and I write it down. Simple.
So, why do these things pop into my head? Probably because I like to watch crime shows. Law & Order, CSI, Criminal Minds, NCIS – the list literally goes on and on. They’ve sparked ideas before and often that spark is all I need to put my fingers to the keyboard. The other part of this is that I am absolutely fascinated by psychology – especially the psychology of the criminal mind. Why do people do the things they do? To me, it’s something so terrible and abhorrent that I just have to get a closer look to figure it out. It might sound strange to some, but without people who have a fascination for this sort of thing, we wouldn’t be able to understand and stop these kinds of criminals.
(P.S. I have to plug Stacy Green here because I live for her Thriller Thursday posts. Here’s one of my favorites.)
And I guess that is sort of where I’m going with this whole discussion. I write horror because it’s horrible. I want to bring light to what has happened in the real world. I can’t do that by becoming a politician or a civil rights activist, because that’s not who I am. I am a writer. I write.
I also write these sorts of things because, believe it or not, there is an underlying message there – a positive spin to these often ghastly stories that I write. There’s a lesson. Sometimes you have to dig for it, but it’s always there. I write to make you think. And if I can make you think, then maybe I can make you talk. And if I can make you talk, well…maybe then I can make a difference.
So, here’s the big question: why do YOU write. And, yes, I want the philosophical answer. Whether you write romance or sci-fi or fantasy or horror or any other genre or combination of those types, I want to know why you write. What are you trying to accomplish? What are you trying to say?