Interesting email in my inbox this morning.Â A friend read a story of mine and left feedback.Â Great!Â Â I love feedback!Â It makes me a better writer, after all.Â I could use more of it, in all honesty.
But then I started reading the letter, and it wasn’t feedback for me.Â It was feedback for the horror genre.
You’ve heard it before.Â I know I have.Â It was probably never presented in such colorful-yet-concise language, but anybody who’s written a story about those things that go bump in the night has heard it a million times over.
Horror writers hear it at least once a week, sometimes with a refreshing bluntness, other times all dressed up to sound intellectual.
“You should be writing serious literature.”
“You’re too good for that horror stuff.”
“That horror stuff is trash.” (I like this one, because it means you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t beat around the bush)
“Why are you wasting your time with that stuff?”
Well, because I want to.
Horror writers write what they enjoy.Â Â We do it becauseÂ we want to, need to, and are driven to every moment of the day.Â We’ve accepted their roles as midlisters, having realized long ago that King was a phenomenon, and nobody’s going to topple him anytime soon.
We don’t want to save the world or even change it.
We don’t want to enlighten.
We don’t want to elevate the genre.
We don’t want to make millions of dollars, either.Â We would have started writing pseudo-intellectual bullshit literature, if that were the case (this isn’t a slam on actual literature, mind you, just those writers who want to show off haw smart they are without any thought to telling a good story).
We want to entertain, to tell stories.Â Beginning, middle, end.Â We hope you get a fun, visceral little thrill out of it.Â That would be awesome.Â That means you’ve been entertained.
And that’s my job.Â That’s our job.