Excuse Me, But Are You Horrified?

I have a dilemma:  I’m genreless.  I have no genre.  I’m currently running with the horror crowd, yes, but do my stories elicit dread?  (I mean, intentional dread, not “Oh my gosh, this writing is awful!” dread.)  I watch lame PG-13 movies with my hands over my eyes, so does this strip me of my credibility?  My main characters have wings/pointy teeth/unexplained powers, so does this cross me over into fantasy?  Adventure fantasy with inexplicable character names make my eyes roll back in my head, so am I therefore banned from fantasy?  My desert rises up and attacks with rancor, so is this magical realism?

I dunno.

I never really cared about genre before.  I write what I like, and if it sprinkles itself across the genresphere (the best way I’ve ever heard it described) then groovy.  But now we’re supposed to go out and market ourselves.  We’re supposed to be able to explain what we write in a few sentences, because the world runs on efficiency and know how.  So, uh…I’ll stick with whimsical horror until I find a better label, although I hate labels as general rule.

I find that a lot of us are pushing at our genre boundaries right now.  Horror writers branching into literary fiction, or the sci-fi writer coming into romance.  I can’t see how this is possibly a bad thing.  Isn’t writing all about stretching yourself and finding out who you really are…at the moment?  If writing is how we explore our current obsessions,why is it so hard to accept that they change?

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5 thoughts on “Excuse Me, But Are You Horrified?

  1. As your sworn writing enemy, I laugh as I steal your label for my own! I have much the same problem with my own work (and, as my wife can attest, I cover my eyes at pg13 movies as well).

    So, I claim the term Whimsical Horror for my own! Ha! HA!

  2. I’ve come to realize “Horror” is a broad church. My biggest teacher has been the various “year’s best” anthos.

    If “I’m Keeping it Light” (from Fifty-two Stitches) wasn’t horror, than I’m very confused too. That little ditty chilled me to the core much more that a dreadful smattering of schlock-horror ever could.

  3. Matt, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Now when you start prancing around in my heels and wearing my lipstick, we’ll have to have a talk.

    Thanks, Aaron! I really appreciate that. I think that I still associate horror with blood-n-guts, but gore isn’t really chilling to me. It’s just gross.

    And Natalie, I totally have to agree with Jameson: boy bands are horror. And yet they’re so pretty…can’t look away…AAUUGGGHHH!!!

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