#MondayBlogs: The Stigma of Writing Horror

23 Feb

Intro:

Monday brings us a new blog post by a new guest blogger.

Remember, if you want to guest blog, check out the information below this post, but be sure to read today’s post first! When author Alex Laybourne was asked why he chose to be a horror writer, he responded that horror chose him. Today, he is talking about the stigmas horror writers have to deal with in today’s market, but he goes much deeper than that, and his words are definitely worth the triumph in the end.

#MondayBlogs: The Stigma of Horror Writing

As a writer, I have found that there is a range of reactions that will come from that proclamation whenever anybody asks what I do. Sure, I have an office job, but I always respond with both of my jobs. Writing is, after all, a fulltime endeavour.

However, there is only one reaction that I get when people hear that I am a horror writer. It is usually accompanied by a slight step backwards, and they avert their gaze. Why? Well, I write horror. It must mean that I am about to try and murder them all for the sake of research. I mean, that is what I am, right? I am darkness. I must live in a basement where blood coats the walls and the screams of the damned are the lullaby upon which I drift off into the restful world of nightmares.

Blood of the Tainted ebook coverIn the modern world, writers are more and more approachable than ever, yet I still find that there is a stigma attached to being a horror writer. Maybe stigma is the wrong word, so let’s say that there is a certain level of expectation that comes with it.

To many people, horror is about blood, guts, and gore. What they know of horror is what they see in movies. Why is this? It is, in part, because people only think of slasher movies when they think of horror. Anything else seems to get the label of Psychological Thriller or some other titillating genre twist, which creates a feeling of expectant anticipation in the audience. Something that horror does not give.

Yet the truth behind it all is far different. We horror writers are no different than anybody else that puts ink to paper. We are no different than anybody else that goes to work in an office. Ok, our heads may be programmed in such a way that when we see certain things or hear certain snippets of a conversation we get ideas, but there are for plot and characters, rather than anything darker than that.

There is a very interesting wave of great horror writers out there at the moment, making waves in the indie scene and pushing the boundaries of genre to the limits and then some. I could throw around phrases like ‘ground breaking’ or ‘genre defining’ but I don’t wish to be labelled pretentious. All of these writers, these masters of the dark, are husbands or close to it. They are fathers and damned good ones. Hands on parents, too. They can be found watching cartoons or changing nappies (diapers) rather than hunching over Ouija boards, summoning the devil’s minions to help ensure their souls have the clean black gleam.

Sure, we write things that concern darkness, but what horror often gives, is hope. More often than not they are stories of triumph over adversity. Yes, we deal with the subjects that most people are afraid to think about. Yes, we take readers by the hand through nightmare worlds, but what we also do, is bring them out the other side. We help them face their fears; we allow readers, if only for a short time, to conquer their fears. Whether they do it by closing the book when it gets too much, or by reading it all in one sitting, they are standing up to what scares them, and not backing down.

The next time somebody tells you that they are a horror writer, remember that we slave just as hard over our words as the next Booker Prize nominee does. We have poured as much of ourselves into our work as any other author, and while it may never be a good idea to ask us what we are currently working on, never let the genre fool you. After all, it is nothing but a means by which bookstores can line their shelves. At the end of the day, genre means nothing.

I think it’s only fair that I end this with a quote from Stephen King.

“At parties, people usually approach the writer of horror fiction with a mixture of wonder and trepidation. … Most of us, you see, look and seem (and ARE) perfectly ordinary. We don’t drown houseguests in the bathtub, torture the children, or sacrifice the cat at midnight inside of a pentagram. There are no locked closets or screams from the cellar. Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, looks like a moderately successful used car salesman. Ray Bradbury bears an uncomfortable resemblance to Charles M. Shulz, creator of Peanuts.”

Me

Alex Laybourne

Bio:

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that Alex Laybourne became a horror writer.

From an early age he attended schools which were at least 30 minutes’ drive away from his home, and so most of his free time was spent alone.

He claims to have been a writer as long as he can remember. With a wild and vivid imagination he finds it all too easy to just drift away into his own mind and explore the worlds he creates. It is a place where the conditions always seem to be just perfect for the cultivation of ideas, plots, scenes, characters and lines of dialogue

He is married and has four wonderful children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. His biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

Links:

Blood of the Tainted (artwork by Richard van Ekeren)

Diaries of the Damned

Website

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

Advertisements

20 Responses to “#MondayBlogs: The Stigma of Writing Horror”

  1. alexlaybourne February 23, 2015 at 12:18 am #

    Thanks a lot for having me on your site Shannon

    • Shannon A Thompson February 23, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your article with us! Happy to have you on. This is a great discussion. 😀
      ~SAT

  2. alexlaybourne February 23, 2015 at 12:58 am #

    Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    The stigma of writting horror, by me! 🙂

  3. Kaine Andrews February 23, 2015 at 3:38 am #

    I always love that Stephen King quote. Very interesting points – and exceptionally valid, at least to this particular horror writer. XD Best of luck to you!

    • alexlaybourne February 23, 2015 at 3:48 am #

      It is a great quote. He has a few, but thiso ne always resonates. I work in quite a respected office, and some of the looks I get from people when we start talking about books, and writing, are priceless.

      • Kaine Andrews February 23, 2015 at 3:52 am #

        I know that feeling all too well. Sometimes I think there’s a story seed in there, somewhere, but the pile of ideas is already overlarge when compared to the pile of actual finished work.

  4. Kaine Andrews February 23, 2015 at 3:43 am #

    Reblogged this on Insomnia, Nightmares and General Madness and commented:
    This gent looks to show some promise; thanks to Shannon A Thompson for sharing him with us. You should check out his site, as well. Stephen King quotes a bonus! (Comments disabled here, please comment on the original post.)

  5. Charles Yallowitz February 23, 2015 at 5:36 am #

    Very well said. Funny how the genre of an author creates some immediate reactions and assumptions. I haven’t met many horror authors, but they’re all normal. Well as normal as authors can be since we all seem to have some eccentricities. Not sure if being seen as a potential serial killer is better or worse than what I get as a fantasy author. Typically it’s ‘good for you. I don’t read fantasy.’ and the sensation that I’m about to be given a children’s menu to keep me out of trouble. People are really odd when they interact with authors.

  6. N. M. Scuri February 23, 2015 at 6:02 am #

    I really enjoyed this post. It’s spot on in regards to public perception with horror writers. I’m just wondering though. You mention “All of these writers, these masters of the dark, are husbands or close to it. They are fathers and damned good ones. Hands on parents, too.”

    What are you saying about women (who may or may not be wives or close to it, mothers, etc) who write horror? Please clarify.

    • alexlaybourne February 23, 2015 at 9:07 am #

      That is an error on my part. I should have said husbands / wives … fathers and mothers. The post itself is not about gender, but about writer and their subject. The comments was purely a natural by product of my being a husband and a father. I know a great number of female horrro / dark genre writers, and they are subject to the same stigma. 🙂

      • N. M. Scuri February 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

        I agree. Thank you for clearing that up. Overall, I enjoyed the post very much.

  7. jessmbaum February 23, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    I have a knack for horror and I love surprising people with it since I’m such a bubbly person. haha It’s always the ones you least expect.

    • alexlaybourne February 23, 2015 at 9:08 am #

      I would have to agree with you. I used to keep my weirdness in check, but now I let it all hang out. My co-wokers are used to me asking them random questions about horror now.

  8. cpbialois February 23, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    Reblogged this on The BiaLog and commented:
    A great interview wwith some excellent points.

  9. theowllady February 25, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. February’s Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - February 28, 2015

    […] The Stigma of Writing Horror: Written by Alex Laybourne, this genre gets a little more heat than the other ones. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: