“If you write stories of horror you should add some “adult content” to them…”
I get advice like this all the time. Friends tell me this, other writers tell me this, people who read a lot of naughty-type stories tell me this… Then they say something like, “Horror stories are best when flesh is mixed with the blood and gore.” So I’m going to rant about this advice now. It’s a very short rant (pretty much a really long Tweet) but if you prefer to read one of those spooky stories instead just click here:
Anyway, the advice always baffles me. For one, I don’t cram a lot of blood and gore into my stuff in the first place. If bloodletting is appropriate to the story I go for it. But using it as a literary crutch? No way. I won’t do it. It’s a cheap trick that horror writers use to make people think they’re reading something scary. It’s a lot harder, in my opinion, to turn someone’s imagination against them and, when it happens, it’s a lot more fulfilling for the reader. So it’s not like blood is naturally gushing from the sentences I write in the first place.
It’s kind of the same with the adult content. It seems to me that if a couple of characters are going to get it on, well, they’re going to get it on. But I’d never try to force them into it. It needs to happen naturally as part of the story just like it does in real life. If it doesn’t we’re probably writing a whole different kind of story with a totally different kind of intention. What I’m getting at is that stories of horror are not about blood and guts and they’re not about erotic entertainment. They’re about scaring the hell out of you using any number of legitimate writer tricks.
End of rant. Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to visit the store. LL
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