Actually, these are 10 things you shouldn’t say to this one particular horror writer. But many of them can apply to all horror writers and authors.
- “Where do you get your ideas?” Better yet, don’t ask any writer this question. Why? Because you are probably the millionth person to ask it. Besides, ideas for stories come from all over the place. Music. The news. Movies. Other stories. The list could go on and on.
- “You’re going to hell.” If the writer you say this to happens to be a Christian, if the writer is polite then he or she will remind you he or she is a writer of fiction, not reality. If the writer is not a Christian, you might be in for a screaming match. But perhaps that was your goal since you’re going around telling people they’re going to hell. Christian writers might be offended, but they obviously aren’t going to agree with you. Writers who are not Christian are more likely to be offended, and you’re not going to win any converts. So, go to hell.
- “Oooo! I don’t read stuff like that.” Really? You’ll watch hours upon hours of vampires making goo-goo eyes at teen-age girls, but you won’t read a horror novel? Or maybe that’s not you. Maybe you only like precious little stories with flying unicorns and cartoon characters who never have any troubles. Sound bitter? Not really. It’s just a blog post after all, so don’t take it too seriously. Like your tastes in reading material.
- “Will you read my book?” Or short story or screenplay or poetry or whatever. The answer is “no.” I will try to say “no” politely, but if you persist then I will be forced to become a little antsy with you. Which is not what I want, and probably isn’t what you want. Why won’t I read your thing? Besides the reading I do for my own education and pleasure, I’m often already reading plenty of material from writers and/or editors who I know personally, who happen to be friends. Sorry, you I don’t know. Plus, I don’t want to get a letter from an attorney in a few years telling me how I’ve ripped off one of your stories.
- “Can I come back to your place?” You realize I’m a horror writer, right? If you do realize this, then you’re probably more disturbed than I am by far. Which means I don’t want to be alone with you in my place. Plus I’m married. Sorry. Even if you are cute. Besides the morality of the whole thing, there’s the my-wife-hacking-me-into-little-pieces-with-a-hatchet thing.
- “Why don’t you write about vampires?” Because they’re no longer scary. Vampires have been turned into this dreamy, fantasy creature to fuel the dreams of girls and young women. In all fairness, even Dracula was to large extent the same, but at least he was still scary. When and if vampires become scary again, I’ll give them a try.
- “Do you know Stephen King?” Why, yes, I do! I’ve got his personal number here on my cell. Want me to call him? Don’t be an idiot! Just because I write horror doesn’t mean I personally know every horror writer on the planet, especially not the likes of big-time authors like King. And no, I can’t get him to sign your book for you.
- “Would you make me a character in your next book?” Probably not, unless maybe you’re a really close friend and you’ve given approval beforehand. I don’t need a lawsuit in case I don’t write “your” character exactly the way you want me to. But if I should break down and decide to use you as a character, most likely you’re going to get killed off. Sorry, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.
- “Why don’t you write something serious?” I do write about things serious. My horror I take very seriously. I generally don’t write flaky, B-movie horror tales, though I admit to not being the most literary of writers. I’m not one of these horror writers who goes for the gross-out; I usually prefer to creep readers out through emotional resonance instead of blood splatters. Then again, most of the modern literary writers aren’t worth a crap, in my opinion, and that includes some Pulitzer winners. And when I’m not writing horror, I’m usually writing fantasy or literary short stories or novels.
- “Do you know Stephen King?” Didn’t we already cover this one? Stop asking! No, I do not know Stephen King and most likely never will on a personal basis. I suppose it’s not impossible that I could bump into him at a convention or some other public setting, but my impression is that in recent years King doesn’t do so many public events. And even if I should bump into him, I’m not going to get all buddy, buddy with him. I’m sure he has enough pals as it is. Brian Keene, on the other hand ….
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