How Not to Write Horror

Bone to pick.  Not gonna name names, because it’s all too common.

All writers have ethical choices to make.  Not all stories are ethical to write.  But let’s stick with horror today.  A story that makes a reader want to die, for example, is an unethical story.  A story that makes a reader want to become a no-shit serial killer.  A story that makes a reader want to hurt someone for the fun of it, that dehumanizes a class of people, that whips up fear and hate, that celebrates abuse or despair.

Those things are unethical.

Either words have power, or they don’t.  And if you think they don’t, that this is all nothing but harmless entertainment, then you can get out of the writing business:  no big loss.

Writing horror, you learn how to play with both your own fears and other people’s.

Don’t abuse that.

Plus…why do you think horror doesn’t sell that well, as a genre?  Could it possibly be because some of the writers–not King, not Koontz, not even (ironically) Ligotti or Lovecraft–make their money off treating their readers and even their characters with contempt?

Why love someone’s work, when they see you as just another button to push?

Why trust a genre?

I’m steamed up this morning and it feels ugly to say, “Click this and give me money.”  So I won’t.  Tomorrow.

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