Kira Butler recently asked on Twitter why people write horror. As a writer in the genre, she used these tweets to begin crafting her own response. This is the tweet I sent, and the extension of my response. It applies not exclusively to me as a writer of horror, but as a fan too:
“I write horror to discuss what scares me about the world and to accept that there is more to our world than what we see.”
What in the World Scares Me
- Horror is my favorite vehicle for discussing reality. Speculative fictions (horror among them) ask us to explore implications by extrapolating current ideas or situations. This mental exploration of reality helps me deal with everything I cannot change.
- Horror allows me to personify and name fear, so I can understand it better. It doesn’t remove the fear, but it gives me a target, something tangible to wrestle with–and that’s less scary than the BIG EVIL.
- By making space for magic and miracles, regardless of their motives, I acknowledge something more alive (or dead) than I am. There are people and genres for whom the inexplicable is no explanation at all. Horror demands that you accept there are things you cannot explain, no matter how clever you are.
- The world is a mixture, a dilution of good and evil at work, around us and through us. Unlike most other fictions, horror acknowledges that on a powerfully primal level. Fantasy deals with good and evil, but usually has to take it to an alternate world to consider it. Most horror is rooted here on our earth–where good and evil already reside.
So for my fellow votaries out there, why horror?