Why Do You Write?
As a wife, mother, and writer I’ve come in contact with many people through family association, school affiliation, etc. Most of the people I’ve come in contact with find it interesting when they find out I’m an author. One lady asked me: “You writing books? Real paper, honest to God books?”
Yup, I write real books.
That’s about where the excitement ends though, because the answer to their next question – “What kind of books do you write?” – usually has their eyes glazing over and their voices going flat when they reply, “Oh.”
That’s because I write horror. And just the idea of something “horror” has most people closing off or running away.
If people don’t instantly clam up at the idea of me writing horror, they ask me: “How can you write that kind of stuff?” This question is usually accompanied by a disgusted expression. It’s like they just discovered that I’m holding a twisted, devious monster inside. It’s like I’m no longer the nice person they’ve been talking to and getting along with. I can actually see their prejudice come alive and put a wall up toward me.
They don’t understand that horror is what I write, not who I am.
I write evil characters. I kill characters in stories. I write characters in bad situations.
I also write heroes. I write joys. I write sorrows. I write adventures.
I write stories. I write fiction.
Just because I write horror doesn’t mean I want to go out and hurt anyone. It doesn’t mean I think it’s okay for anyone else to hurt anyone either. I don’t want people to get hurt in real life. I don’t want there to be sick, twisted people in real life.
But, you know what?
Those things exist in real life. There are people out there who hurt other people for no reason other than they’re evil. There is pain in everyday moments – everyone has experienced it in one way or another. That’s just life.
I write real life.
I want my stories to be believable, and life isn’t all good. There are bad people in the world that do bad things. Evil is alive and well in the hearts and lives of many.
Just because I write horror doesn’t make me one of those evil people… Not even close.
Being a writer of horror means I see the world without rose-colored glasses. I see the good and the bad in everyone and everything. I reflect what I see in my characters, obviously with imagination mixed in. After all, I write horror fiction.
It’s also obvious by people’s reactions that they don’t understand that horror can help people.
Yes, I just said horror can help people. Let me explain…
Experiencing something that terrifies you in a safe setting can help you manage and control your fears and psychologically prepare you to deal things you might have to face that will be hard on you.
Take apocalyptic horror, for instance. We’ll go for zombie fiction as the strongest example here… Zombies are scary and disgusting, which brings on a strong horror element. Zombie fiction (books, movies, and shows) are popular, mostly because people like to think about how they would handle a zombie apocalyptic situation and how they would survive. Therefore zombies become a fun way to experience the fear of the fall of the society and social structure we live in while causing us to think about survival solutions were we ever to face a similar situation for whatever cause or reason. The CDC even has a zombie preparedness section. And that’s just one example.
Just as the CDC uses zombie apocalypse preparedness to help people prepare for social collapse, natural disasters, or an epidemic other elements and sub-genres of horror can teach people how to avoid and survive other situations. Take kidnapping for example. If you watch a scary movie where someone is kidnapped and they are trying to be found and stay alive…you might learn techniques through the fiction presentation. Such as, if you’re stuck in the trunk of a car, kick out the tail light and stick your arm out to wave at other cars, etc. There are a bunch of useful tips delivered through fiction all the time if you just pay attention.
It’s not like you have to figure out how to save your own life while watching (or reading) a romantic comedy. It’s much more likely to get lifesaving tips in the horror genre.
Why not give horror a chance and see what you learn?
I’ve had many readers who never thought they would enjoy works of horror like my books. After all, I don’t just write horror… I write real life.
Rebecca Besser is the author of Nurse Blood. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization. She has been published hundreds of times in magazines, ezines, anthologies, educational books, on blogs, and more in the areas of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for a variety of age groups and genres. Her nonfiction article on skydiving was picked up by McGraw-Hill for NY Assessments. One of her poems for children was chosen for an early reader book from Oxford University Press (India). Her short story, P.C., was included in Anything But Zombies! published by Atria Books (digital imprint of Simon & Schuster).
Rebecca’s main focus has been on horror works for adults. She writes zombie works, suspenseful thrillers, and other dark fiction related to the horror genre/community. She has also edited multiple books in these genres.
Rebecca Besser is represented by the Loiacono Literary Agency.