You’re in good company, there. Stephen King once said he thinks of himself as a writer of suspense rather than a writer of horror.

And speculative fiction is my jam. Horror, fantasy, science fiction — I read it all.

It’s not all I read. You have to read a lot of stories written in the boring old real world if you want to be well-versed in the classics, and I do. Not just for the educational benefits, or to round out my bona fides as both a reader and a writer, but because they’re classics for a reason — I enjoy reading them. Most of the time.

But when it comes to my own writing, I almost always stick to speculative fiction. I have very little interest in writing a “real world” story.

What makes Horror, Horror is what makes me dislike Horror. Horror as a genre is all about scaring the consumer. It’s about inciting that deep-down fear. A good horror film should keep people up at night, stick in their brains, and maybe make them sick to their stomach.

It’s like a roller coaster ride. I don’t like roller coasters.

I haven’t gotten around to seeing A Quiet Place yet, so I don’t know if the scares or more atmospheric or if it relies on jump scares.

But I hate jump scares, because I’m not a fan of roller coasters, either.

I much prefer the kind of horror that slowly builds a sense of atmospheric dread. Perhaps that’s why I like Stephen King, who says he writes suspense rather than horror.

I don’t like the kind of horror movies where the camera turns and a ghost jumps out at you, with a loud and piercing music cue just to reinforce the point that you’re supposed to be scared now!

What do you think? Can you include deeper messages into horror books and movies without losing the genre?

Of course. I recently finished The Ballad of Black Tom and I’m currently reading Lovecraft Country. Both are stories set in the Lovecraft mythos, but they both also feature black protagonists and have themes of racism throughout, playing off of Lovecraft’s own racist tendencies.


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store