I considered many ways to write this blog but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what I wanted to say. We can define horror in many ways: evil, savage, beastly, to name a few. The fact of the matter is, the types are endless. When I write scary stories, it’s not to invite anyone over to the dark side, or gross someone out so that they lose their lunch. I’m interested in what scares you and me and finding a way to combat those fears. I can think of a lot in this world that terrifies me: the loss of freedom, safety, and loved ones. I’m horrified at some of the real life events that happen. In my stories, I want the reader to find hope, a reason to go on when everything is numb, and quite simply, when there are no words.
My heroes and heroines aren’t perfect. They have flaws just like you and me. They love, hate, and sometimes struggle to forgive. Life is difficult for us and fictional characters. I wish that weren’t true in our case but I’m glad it is in theirs because it forces our story people to come up higher. They find the strength, hope, and courage. With everything in them, they fight to save those they love. Sometimes they have to learn to let go too. Bitterness, anger, hatred, these can crush a person. It’s only when they overcome this darkness the light shines into the cave for them and all the bats rush outside. So, I suppose you could say, I like to bring my characters back from the brink of death, just to show them, it’s possible.
Over and over, we hear that those that do something horrible showed few signs of what they were capable of here on this Earth. In fiction, I sometimes smudge those gray areas as well. Villains love their wives, pets, even their dolls. They seem like us and yet, there is a pocket of pure evil within them that we can’t begin to understand. It forces us to confront them, ourselves, in an attempt to blot them from existence. We don’t want to see the cannibal living among us, the abuser, or the monster in the shadows. Somehow, we think if we don’t look, they aren’t there. Horror fiction to me, exposes that under seam of life, that certain nasty we want to ignore. It drives the protagonist to stab that vampire through the heart with a stake. Perhaps this same protagonist is attempting to atone for what he is himself: a bystander who takes no action against a savage act, until someone he cares about is harmed.
I don’t want to get all morally superior here and determine what is and isn’t good horror. There is certainly material out there that I find as objectionable as the next. But this is about what I write and why. Sometimes it’s because I’ve been the one in hiding, running for my life. Others, it’s because I want to show to that young girl or boy or even older reader, there is a future, a bright one, and you can triumph over evil. It’s not easy. But someday, someone will take your hand and lead you into the daylight. That’s why I write scary. So that, by doing so, I can shatter the demons around us.