Being a self-proclaimed horror writer for the time being, I wonder if its weird that I’m writing horror not to scare but just to tell a story that is in my head. When I’m coaxed into a conversation about my horror writing, the first thing people ask is “is it scary.”
I never quite know how to answer.
I have never been much on the technical side of writing in which people plot out meanings, twists and scares. I just write. So when asked “is it scary” I have to wonder what would qualify as scary. In order to find that out I have to rely on other people’s perception of scary. I’m in no way an expert on the subject and i don’t pretend to be. But the reason that I mostly rely on other people is because horror in general doesn’t scare me. It’s not scary, frightening, or even unnerving to me. They are entertaining, often reflective, and overall amazingly told pieces of fiction and a bit of the author’s own brain.
They give me what I want. Scary doesn’t play a part.
So attempting to answer the question is my story scary is all about perspective. To me? No, my writing isn’t scary at all. It tells a story about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. With that in mind, it does deal with things that could be considered horrifying – monsters, death, gore, the unknown – but, even those things are simply support beams to hold up a deep dark fantasy.
In the end, it makes me wonder if its okay to call myself a horror author. I wonder if all my favorite authors wrote horror to scare or wrote it to simply to tell the story in their heads, to express what is keeping them up at night. If it’s the latter then I’d like to think I have something in common with them.
I guess in reflective conclusion, I don’t write to scare people. I just have a dark imagination and I like telling stories.
Is it okay for a horror writer to not intend to scare you, I wonder.
-Harli V. Park –