Monday, December 30, 2013

Why I Love Horror... and Always Will

I used to define myself as a contemporary YA writer. I always have and always will love stories about young people growing up and facing whatever life has to throw at them, both realistic and fictional (but mostly realistic). I like to read and write stories with the thought in mind of 'Wow, this could happen to me.' Of course, even the most realistic YA stories can seem exaggerated because, well, they usually are.

However, over the past month, I've decided to take a leap and start writing about one of my other passions: horror. I've grown up reading horror stories, watching horror movies, and generally loving the genre, but somehow it never dawned on me to actually have a go at writing ituntil now.

What exactly made me make the switch? Well, I'm not completely sure, but I've outlined some of the reasons I love horror and why I'm excited to be writing it below.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

A lot of people grew up watching Buffy and I'm one of them. You may even label me as one of those Joss Whedon worshipers, though I think that would be taking it a step too far. (I never watched Dollhouse and I did notlove Firefly.) Whatever you decide to label me, the one fact is that for one hour a week, for seven years, I was glued to the T.V. and now that Netflix has all seven seasons on streamingwell, let's just say if we had a Buffy quoting contest, I'd win.

To me, Buffy had it all: action, love, whit, a genuinely good story, and, of course, HORROR. The show was based in horror, but managed to teach us something every week. Whether it be that it's okay to not fit in or it's a normal part of life to lose people, Buffy mixed realistic life situations with fictional monster-awesomeness. I think that's one of the main reasons I grew to love horror so much.

Growing up, I watched the show, suffered through the 1992 movie, read the books, and even wrote my own 100 page post-season five continuation of the series (I reallyhate the term fan-fiction.) when I wasn't sure if it was coming back for another year. And even though I can assure you that A World Without will never see the light of day, I can also say without a doubt that Buffy even helped me get into writing in the first place. Yes, I wrote things before, but the general tone of the show helped teach me to incorporate sarcasm andpassion into my own writing, something I attribute my writing style nine years after the show went off the air to currently. Yes, episodes like Conversations with Dead People, The Body, and Passion (along with all 141) have shaped who I am as a writer today.

Scary Movies/I Just Like Being Scared:

It's probably no secret that I'm a HUGE horror movie fan and will sit through even the crappiest of scary movies if I think it's going to make me jump or cover my eyes at least once. For example, this year I promised myself I WOULD NOT watch the new Child's Play movie ( Curse of Chucky) by myself because I've been terrified of clowns and dolls for as far back as I can remember.

The next night I watch it by myself, in a dark room, while no one else was home.

Why? I guess the only real explanation is I just like being scared. I watch scary movies, go to haunted houses around Halloween, and read terrifying stories because I knowthey're going to keep my awake, horrified that something is lurking under my bed, just waiting for me to drift off to sleep and let one of my feet dangle over the edge. I don't even have an "under the bed" because my mattress sits on the floor, but I still don't let my feet dangle over at night. It's just one of those rules you have to follow in life.


I'll try to keep this one short; I know I gush over Stephen King almost constantly, but I'd be lying if I said he wasn't a hero of mine and that I look up to his writing probably more than any other author I've read.

As I've said before, I read The Shining for the first time at age ten and have been obsessed to varying degrees with King ever since. His ability to paint a setting and make me stay awake at night out of fear of a clown dragging me into a sewer in my nightmares is a big part of why I love the horror genre so much and why I discovered I might love writing it. Guts, gore, foul language, sex, general WTF momentsKing has it all.

Don't get me wrong, the man is not a saint, but for every dud he released (Seriously, what the eff was up with The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon?) there were two or three other novels that had me losing sleep (The Shining, Carrie, Misery, etc.) and aspiring to be a writer of even 1/100th the caliber of King.


I've always believed in ghosts and I always will, end of story.

Do I believe every ghost story or think the Creature from the Black Lagoon is coming for me? No, but I'm open-minded and that's what's important here.

This belief, however, has fueled my love for the horror genre because deep down inside, I believe any of these stories could really happen, just like contemporary fiction. I understand the fact that some people are believers and some people are not, and both can enjoy horror equally. But there's something about believing that the monsters under the bed, ghosts, spirits, shadow people, and ghouls could be real that makes horror that much scarierand maybe even fun.

Do you love horror? Tell me why or why not in the comments, and feel free to relate your own personal favorites of the genre! Happy New Year, folks!
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