The dictionary defines horror as an intense feeling of fear, shock or disgust. So, horror fiction is writing that evokes one or more of those emotions.
This is kind of like saying kissing is when two people’s mouths are touching in an intimate fashion.
People who write horror do so all over the spectrum. Some try to shock readers, to obliterate taboos. Some are atmospheric, building slow suspense and taking the reader by the hand as the characters slowly go insane. Some are funny, mixing the scares with laughter. I’m fond of those. If you’ve read my stuff you can probably tell. Some horror titillates. Some is crafted with the beauty of a poem.
I remember kissing a girl in second grade. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten her name, but I remember the kiss. We had no idea what a kiss was supposed to be like. We only knew it was something big kids and grown-ups did so we wanted to do it too. It was awkward, dry and altogether anticlimactic
Now, much later, after I’ve learned a thing or two about kissing, I enjoy it very much. My wife seems to enjoy it, too which is a plus.
Between second grade and marrying an excellent kisser, I’ve kissed a lot of women (a couple men too in high school, but not really my thing). Some were very nice. Some exciting. Some forgettable. Some made me want to kiss them a lot more. Some led to other things. Some were awful.
Long before I wrote horror, I read it. And, just like kisses, some made me sit up and take notice. Good horror is good writing that also evokes intense feelings of fear, shock, or disgust. And good writing will bring me back again and again. It could be fantasy, steampunk, mainstream, even romance – if it’s well-written I’ll pucker up for that author anytime. That’s an analogy. Don’t really try to kiss me. Thanks.
I like horror, both as a reader and writer, I think because I like being scared. I like a good shock too. I’m not so keen on being disgusted though. I don’t mind if it’s integral to the story, but I really don’t care for gore for its own sake. In fact, I don’t care for anything gratuitous for its own sake. If it doesn’t move the plot, why is it there? But, hell – if ripping some guy’s guts out and draping them over your head like a hat moves the story along, bring it on.
When I was young I was addicted to my own adrenaline. Not literally I don’t think, but I sure acted like it. I needed excitement, thrills, danger. I climbed the outsides of buildings. I walked narrow ledges over fifty-foot drops. I ingested several mind and body altering chemicals, sometimes all at once. I picked fights with dangerous-looking men – for some reason, they never took me up on it. When I was taking risks, I felt alive.
Now, I’m not so young. I have a good day job, a (somewhat) burgeoning career as an author, and a family. If I’m getting thrills these days, they need to be vicarious, just to be safe. So I read (and write) horror.
It’s good for me. Like kisses.
Sirens Call Publications will be giving away 5 (five) digital copies of An Aberrant Mind by Ken MacGregor to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!
An Aberrant Mind
ABERRANT is defined as unusual, abnormal or different. The stories in this book not only differ from most of what you read, but also wildly from each other. A retired school teacher takes on an elder god and his minion; a werewolf picks fights with sea creatures; a neighbor’s lawn may be eating people. Twenty-two stories: scary, funny, weird and different.
In these pages, you will find darkness and fear, revulsion and terror. Mixed with it, however is quite a bit of humor. Sometimes both happen at the same time. So, open it up, join Jim as he fights off zombies with a potato cannon; witness the bloodbath reunion of the first man and his homicidal son; enjoy the monsters, the demons and the deranged.
A word of warning, though: you may never eat a bagel with lox again.
About Ken MacGregor – Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in over fifty anthologies, magazines and podcasts. Ken is a member of The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. You can find Ken on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and at ken-macgregor.com. Ken’s the kind of guy that, if he found himself stranded somewhere with you, would probably eat you to survive. Ken hopes you enjoyed the stories in this collection and that you sleep just a little less well because of them. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two unstable cats.