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The Horror of it All: How Writing Horror Became my Achilles Heel

You may remember that a year or more ago, I wrote a post about how much I absolutely love horror, and that still holds true to this very day. However, when I decided to switch gears and begin writing it, the unthinkable happened... I lost my groove.

It's not uncommon for me to get writer's block (It's more like writer's dam, but whatever.), and I like to write in a way I've been calling "organic" for a long, long time: if the words aren't coming to me naturally, I'm not going to force them and end up with writing I think is mediocre or sub-par. And that's okay. I prefer to write this way, and it's always worked for me, even if it takes me longer to write something than if I would have forced the words onto paper (or Word document).

All was going good and well, that is until I started writing horror...

I signed up to be a part of a really awesome event called The Stanley Hotel Writers' Retreat last October, hosted at one of the horror fans' Seven Wonders of a the world: the very hotel where horror god Stephen King got inspiration to write one of his earliest (and best) novels, The Shining. I signed up for this event with only young adult writing under my belt, though it is technically a horror writes' retreat. Of course, I thought, "I can do this. I love horror! Why couldn't I write it?"

And then everything fell apart. I came up with three pretty solid ideas, though only one of them was
My face when the writer's block set in.
legitimately what most people would call "horror." I began writing on all three of them, but never really got past ten or fifteen thousand words on each. The words would come to me in short bursts every few days or weeks, but I couldn't bring myself to work on any of the projects more than that. I also couldn't bring myself to choose which of the projects would be classified as my "main project," so my attention was never truly focused on any of them. While working on one, I would sporadically get an idea for another and begin writing it, and so on, and so on, and so on...

And nothing got done.

As the months flew by and I came closer and closer to thinking I might have to throw in the towel on horror forever (dramatic, I know...), something snapped inside of me. I realized I was spending too much time trying to write "real horror," and not enough time writing whatever the hell I wanted to be writing. I had gotten away from what, in my opinion, makes me love writing, and that's writing what I feel I should be, not what I think other people expect from me.

Seriously, this was better than the stuff I was writing.
It was at that moment I made a decision: I picked the writing project I had always liked best, though, in honesty, it was the one furthest from traditional horror, and I got to work. With the words of the famous Tim Gunn in mind (sue me), I told myself to "make it work." And that's what I did; I'm now well on my way to having a pretty neat horror-comedy manuscript to work on at the retreat this October, and I'm actually happy with what I'm working on again.

You may be wondering, "Why is he telling us this? What's the point?" And the point is, WRITE FOR YOU. Don't write what you think you're supposed to write or what you think you should be writing if it's not something you want to be writing. If you take on writing a new genre, and it's just not for you, STOP. If you take on writing a new genre, and you need to tweak it up a big, then DO THAT!

You are your own best ally and worst enemy, so do what you know is best for you.


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