Horror is Not a Genre (Genre’s Don’t Exist)

3567592024_6db6ecc392_bWe need to talk for a moment about “horror.” It’s not a genre.

“What?” you say. “Not a genre? Well, how does that explain the HORROR section at the movie shop, and the HORROR section at my local bookstore? Why is there a HORROR category when I shop online for my media?”

Valid points. The truth is, horror, along with just about every genre of media, is being used in ways which works against the stories they’re being packaged as. That’s why I’ll invite you to look at “genres” for what they really are: elements of a story.

Have you ever sat down with a friend or family member, and had the discussion of “is it horror?” Have you ever found yourself debating the genre of a given book, film, or piece of music? Have you ever felt a lack of satisfaction in the conclusions of these conversations? It’s because of one detail that’s often overlooked; you can’t define a story by one genre or label, and while I find all labels suffer this problem, I’m mostly going to use horror for this example.


Letters: D is for Denial

delusionEver wondered what it’s like to feel lost in it all? Chances are, you already have.

Denial is perhaps one of the most horrifying things you’ll find in life—and it’s no closet boogeyman. Denial has no solid shape, lives in all climates, and is a disease which can effect anyone and everyone.

Lovecraft once said “the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” But there’s something which can be just as fear-striking: demons festering because we are blind to them. We allow the unknown to live in ourselves, and dismiss the suffering of others.

One of the first things that comes to my mind, is the character of Jack Torrance in Stephen King’s “The Shining.” He struggles with anger and alcohol, and though he knows his problems exist, they remain inside him as waiting vessels for the evil inside the Overlook Hotel. Often times, the nasty things inside us are opportunists. They stake out times of stress and hardship, and will bleed through into our actions given the chance. Most healthy people will see this taking place, and act accordingly. They manage their problems before they become serious.

But some people never see these problems, and that’s when it become horrifying. (more…)

Letters: C is for Crazy

crazyI’ve always been fascinated with crazies. I’ve also wondered about being crazy myself.

What kind of guy sits there and comes up with all these wild ideas? It’s easy to say you’re “creative,” or “full of imagination,” but for someone to play the character of a crazy person, wouldn’t they have to understand how they work? And can’t you only understand if you’re crazy yourself?

This is what it’s like inside my mind. Constantly churning. Humming with thought. There are so many questions, so many possible directions, and so many answers, it’s like navigating a world of spiderwebs. And your only map? Something inside you. Call it intellect. Call it gut instinct. I’m not sure what it is. So impossible is the world, and the things around it, not to mention what’s inside us. We know a lot, but still lies the mystery.

Then comes the problem of time. You have the present, which is the base for all thoughts, and premonitions. What is a premonition? It’s more like understanding. For example, when you trip on a rock and begin falling, you know you’re about to hit the ground. Unless you’re covered in bubble-wrap, it’s probably going to hurt. And you begin to wonder: when I tumble to the ground, is it the same kind of premonition as someone who has jumped off a cliff? Do they think I’m going to die, it’s going to hurt, and that’s the end?


Letters: B is for Behind

Anyone who knows what they want to do in life, experiences the same feeling:

It’s like something waiting for you in your closet. Or under your bed.

When I was a child, I would lay awake under the covers, knees pouring sweat, fists clenched. There was a light outside my apartment, and sometimes it would flicker. There were times when it looked more like a person walking by, rather than an electrical fault. But I would stare at it for hours, thinking something was waiting there. Coming closer. I imagined a shadow creeping over my bedroom window like mold. I didn’t know what it would do when it would get its fingers under the latch, and didn’t want to.


Letters: A is for Art and Anxiety

paintingmonstersThis is the first of twenty-six posts soon to come. Each is an anecdote, rant, or musing based on a letter of the alphabet. It seemed like a nice idea, alright?

In Junior High, I knew a girl. She may have liked me, and maybe I liked her, but there was something I couldn’t put my finger on.

Both of us enjoyed art. She would go to school each day with a little red folder, and everyone would gawk at her skill and talent. Perfect, smokey visages of celebrities floated off the copy paper she used—sponged down with sparkling reflections and glittery highlights. The only problem? Beneath those pretty faces was a hollowness. Void. But I applauded anyway, “Good work! Keep it up!” I said. She’d tuck the folder into her bag with a satisfied grin.

I played a lot of music at the time. Melodies were therapy, and chords, a pleasant distraction. But deep down, I enjoyed artwork. A year before, I’d been left to my own devices while my mom was staying late at work. During those few evenings, I picked up an evening ritual of drawing with the ballpoint pens I had. The hours would tick by at a leisurely pace, and I’d sketches zombies and monsters.

Clearly my mind was in a different place than this girl’s.

Some days the habit would bleed into other hours. When music grew exhausting before class, I wouldn’t hesitate to scribble away in the courtyard. One day Ms. Glitter-Gloss craned her head over my shoulder during one of these sessions. “Oh? What’s that?”


Let’s Talk About Words.


The time is 9:16 PM. I started my day at around 5:00 PM – the life of a nighthawk in play. I have less than fifteen minutes before I must begin work. But for your sake, so you’re not wondering of my absence, I’ll tell you about words.

Sometimes they have a hard time coming out. One moment you could be sitting at the desk, the pad, your weapon of choice, and you feel yourself channeling Shakespeare – or maybe just imitating – but either way, the moment is exhilarating. But then, sometimes, you feel yourself falling off the top of the world, and your progress seems nothing more than a snail’s tangent. (more…)

A Brief Glance at Scrivener (Software Review)

December is finally upon us, huzzah!

This time of year is always a little stressful for everyone, mostly due to the dreaded 25th, where many are expected to book flights, buy gifts, and hopefully break even come next month. I’m lucky to not have many of those stressors this year, but there’s a trade-off:

The due-date for my upcoming books is looming overhead, and until then, I’ve got to be a word-cranking machine if I hope to have the best final drafts possible.

I’ve used plenty of text editors. From the default Notepad and TextEdit, to Microsoft Word and LibreOffice. There’s loads more in between, all focusing on different preferences and aspects of writing. Some are feature-heavy with lots of settings and formatting capabilities, and some are for writing in a simple, distraction-free environment.

But, having tested most of the available options, I think I’ve found the one that works best for me. That option, being Scrivener. Now, just to be clear, this isn’t a paid promotion or any of the sort. This is my honest-to-god opinion based on using the software for my latest projects. So let’s get into this: