Outside of this esteemed outlet and a couple of other places, I try to write fiction as best I can. Like a lot of genre fans, I want to be a part of the whole thing and give something back to the scene I love. Out of the six books I’ve written, two have been in the horror genre and I’m currently writing a third to end that particular story.
While working on that particular book, I have started to think about the current horror market and my place in it. Of course, it’s kinda bad practice to think about a market at all when you’re writing a book, as the story must be the central thing. The story is king with this new one for sure, but I can’t help but wonder about the reading habits of the current horror fan generation.
What do you, as a consumer, want to read? Are you finding the right stories for your own tastes? Are you tired of urban fantasy and endless vampire stories or endless zombie yarns? What do you, the audience, want from your horror? It’s hard to gauge as a writer. We just try to give you the best work possible and hope somebody likes it.
No matter how much something is marketed and advertised and so on, there has to be quality content at the heart of it, which has always been the way with horror. Horror fans are not stupid. We know when something is all style over substance. Writers and other horror creators must respect their readers as just as intelligent, and often moreso, than themselves. Just throwing any old thing out will not garner you many new fans.
Writing for modern horror fans is an art which it takes a great deal of thought and effort to pull off well. I’ve found my best work comes when I completely ignore trends in fiction, instead focussing on doing something original. My own horror work contains no previously known creatures. I find it’s much more fun to create my own, and while that does remove any immediate familiarity from stories, it does offer the reader something they haven’t seen before.Â That’s the key, to me, to longevity for the genre and its continued growth throughout the entertainment industry.
So if you’re writing horror, I would suggest something new. Something exciting and original and fresh. And if you do want to write with established creatures or tropes, do everything you can to put your own spin on them and you stand a far better chance of standing out from the crowd. Now, dear friends, it’s your turn.