It depends on your definition of Horror

I haven’t written about my Work In Progress in a while. And since I’ve got some time to kill while I wait for my last book to become a Best Seller, this might be a good time for an update.

My WIP is a collection of three novellas. It’s probably more accurate to call them two novelettes and a novella, but that takes more words to say, and who’s counting anyway? The genre is horror, kind of. It’s more psychological horror than anything revolving around chain saws and slack-jawed yokels. There’s really not much bloodshed in it at all, which is why I put the “kind of” after horror. I might call the novellas psychological thrillers, except I always think of spies or mobsters when I think psychological thriller, and there are neither of those, so I’m back to horror, kind of.

Poe. Not really his style of horror story.

Not really Poe’s style of horror story.

Then again, genre confusion is nothing new for me.

Whatever they are, I’ve finished the first drafts of all of them.


Okay, party’s over; let’s get serious.

I had my first chance to read through them.

The two shorter pieces are entertaining, I think. They are not earth-shattering additions to the genre, whichever genre they happen to be, but I can see readers enjoying them as quick reads.

Definitely not Lovecraft's kind of horror.

Definitely not Lovecraft’s kind of horror story.

When it comes to the longer story, the feature presentation, if you will, I feel as if I’ve provided myself with good news and bad news. The good news is there are parts I think are quite good. The bad news is good parts are not enough to make a good story.

It’s not that the story is bad. It’s not, but as is, it’s not good enough.

What’s wrong with it? Well, for one thing, it’s probably too confusing. Confusing your readers is never good, unless you are an established post-modernist or something like that. In that case, confusing everyone just makes you a greater genius.

But I am neither a post-modernist nor a genius. At best, I am an adventuresome writer, playing with supernatural subject matter for the first time, and I may have gotten the Play-Doh colors all mixed up.

More in line with du Maurier's type of horror . . . but not really.

More in line with du Maurier’s type of horror story . . . but not really.

The fun thing in writing about unknown forces is that you get to make your own rules for what’s possible. Nothing is bound by the laws of physics we know. The trouble can be in remembering your new rules and applying them consistently. Plus, you’ve got to let the reader know the rules; they can be difficult to convey, without explicitly explaining them, when they are counter-intuitive to commonly known laws of nature.

Can this book be saved? I don’t know. I may be going too hard on myself, or too easy. I’ll have to get a second opinion, and then a few more after that.

All I know for sure is that I won’t even consider publishing it until I’m confident it’s a good quality, entertaining book, all the way through. How I get there from here will be my own horror story.

4 thoughts on “It depends on your definition of Horror

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