I don’t write horror, not usually. I like psychological horror, but I’m not real interested in gore-slasher-horror. I like stories with an ounce of wonder to them, no matter the main genre, so when it comes to horror I tend to lean toward horror-fantasy (haha, is there such a thing?) that takes wonder and spins it up with a dash of super-creepiness.
I wrote a short story a few years ago called “Nerves” for a contest and then later I put it in the zine I helped create. “Nerves” was inspired by a rereading of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charolette Perkins Gilman and the Maggie Gyllenhaal movie Secretary. The idea of a girl being let out of the hospital before she’s actually cured intrigued me. I thought there could be a great horror story there.
I like “Nerves” but it isn’t a story I’d let my grandma read. Or my coworkers. It’s weird because as a writer I am sometimes worried about how I will be perceived by the content I write. When I write horror I am even more aware of this. I can come up with some pretty twisted, psychologically creepy stuff, but will that mirror back on me? Will people think I am twisted and creepy because I can spin a good horror yarn?
I don’t know. I hope not. I think most people would be shocked to find out I lead a pretty boring, video gaming playing, book reading, cat snuggling life. I don’t have a dirt floor basement or anything. I don’t know 101 ways to torture your friends. I just know how to put words together that will scare you.
I wrote “Nerves” with the intent that the story would be kind of creepy and sad where the main character is this victim whose life will never be like yours or mine. At the end, she shifts from victim-protagonist to villain-protagonist and I was really interested in exploring that kind of shift.
I do not usually go for the big disturbing finale. I like my endings to be a little warmer than that. But with “Nerves” I wanted things to get uncomfortable and yet I wonder if people will read it and think, “Wow that Sommer is kind of twisted.” Well, no, Sommer’s not. It is just one story with a shocking ending. I good horror tale and nothing more.
What do you think? Do you think horror writers must be twisted to be able to write about scary, disturbing things? Or are they just great spinners of tales that just happen to keep us awake at night? Does this idea that the content of our stories somehow speaks about the content of the author?
Click on the More button if you’d like to read “Nerves.” It isn’t very long, there’s no gore, but there is a twist ending that is a lot more shocking than my usually horror/fantasy stuff I’ll be posting later this month.
Thank you for reading and Happy October everyone!