Sunday, January 25, 2015

On Writing: Horror Sucks (And Maybe I Do Too)

I find myself receiving a fair amount of shit from other writers (and I guess everyone else) for my preference in using a typewriter when working on earlier drafts. While yes, there is a bit of a pretentious hipster quality to sitting down at a giant clunker of a manual machine and shoving down little hammers to make words appear, I find the process to be more conducive to creativity than my laptop. (Sorry Alfred!*) I like having nothing to focus on outside of the blank page and the words and the filling of the blank page with the words.

Lately, however, I’ve taken to writing longhand. It gives me room to practice my cursive, which may seem pointless, however no one can read my cursive. This makes my early drafts safe from my imaginary Annie Wilkes. One of my pipeline handwritten projects as of right now, is a horror novel which I hope to be much in the same vein as The Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby; a proper story, flushed out and developed, that also happens to be terrifying. 

The biggest challenge for me with this project is that, for the most part, I kinda sorta hate most horror movies and I don’t know if I’ve ever finished reading a horror novel in my life. They bore me. The only thing I take away from the experience is that the creator was focused more on the idea of creating a horror story than they were just making a horror story. I see flat protagonists or over sexualized women, and I wonder how the fuck someone so dull or (let’s be honest) someone that was cast just to give me an erection, is worth empathizing with. Yeah, there’s a following for gore flicks and torture porn, and I get it. I really do. But, in the opinion that I’m allowed to have, outside of the pure and wonderful art that is a gory practical effect, fuck that shit, yo.

Which brings me right to my problem. Will my protagonist be someone that the reader will care about? Can I, within one simple act, get you on board with this young woman and care about her so that when all the evil starts to happen, you’ll fear for her and sleep with the light on? Or will I wind up creating a boring piece of poo that stands with the rest of the genre offerings that make me want to shoot myself in the face? I suppose only time will tell. And I hope, truly, that I can out write this self-doubt and not find myself looking back on this entry and eating the words. Maybe with a dash of salt and City and Colour playing in the background, just like this very moment.

*Yes, I named my laptop after Batman’s butler. Because fuck you.

1 comment:

  1. Your hand written script would probably be a better idea if you could read your own cursive, though.

    I think horror can be written with intelligent characters and intriguing plot. I haven't read any horror novels either (besides Bizarro shit. Or does House of Leaves count?) but Cabin in the Woods comes to mind, though of course that one is intentionally playing off the stereotypes.

    Anyway, I think there's this notion out there that part of the appeal to horror is knowing we are smarter than the characters in the show. Nobody wants a story where mindless monsters slaughter everyone we care about, but nobody wants a story with mindless monsters and no blood, either. So there's dumb characters and when they do dumb things, they die for them, and we the audience get to feel good about it because we would have been so much smarter. Of course, that is not to say that they can't be written. But I do think it will take finesse for there to be a real connection with the characters and also a threat that they might actually die. That said, Game of Thrones / A Sword of Ice and Fire has proven that people can be entertained even when good characters die.