The sound of my own horn

Well, it happened - my first published story. "Four Locks" appears in the special "Taboo" issue of the horror magazine Morpheus Tales. Pick up the affordable paperback copy (under $5!) or download the e-book for only $2.99. You can view a sneak peak (the first page of each story) on the page about my writing.

This was my first, uh, stab at writing horror, and I'd wondered if it would prove interesting to anyone. Even for a story that opens with a shotgun blast, it's a bit of a slow burn. It started out much, much slower; this story went through as many drafts as anything I've written. 

I'd never considered writing horror before this. Most of the genre leaves me cold. I see a great deal of misery and horror as a paramedic, and that has made me resistant to the idea of suffering as entertainment.

On the other hand, most fiction invokes suffering of some kind. Suffering creates tension, and it is this tension that moves us forward through the narrative. Writing involves putting people (characters, but they usually feel like people) into peril, and sometimes even leaving them there, abandoning them as unsavable. Stranded at the far edge of your imagination, they are casualties to the tale. Writing can be ruthless like that. 

So I'm working on a couple more stories that might be labeled horror. I feel like I'm playing with something I don't fully understand, and it's hard to know what rules to set for myself. My gut tells me that violence should leave you feeling worse, that suffering should demand the reader suffer as well. I don't want to be glib, as so much horror seems to be. Empathy is needed. I'm tired of the kind of horror that transpires on the other side of the window, while we gape from outside. If it's going to be awful, we're going to be in the room.