Stephen King-Inspiration Monday

On Writing

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me knows I am a Stephen King fan. While there are some of his books I don’t care for, the truth is the man can grab you by the nether regions and take you on a journey whether you want to go or not. He is the epitome of STORY.

β€œIn many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.” ― Stephen King, On Writing

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Creepfest Blog Hop and the Meaning of Horror

Tomorrow starts the Creepfest Blog Hop and I really have been looking forward to this.

But Netta, you may say. Why are you so excited about a Creepfest? You’re not a horror writer.

Well, it depends on how you define “horror”.

For the record, although I know labels are necessary in the literary world, it’s mostly for marketing purposes. If you can’t put a label to your work, how are you supposed to market it properly? You need to hit your targeted audience, and if you can’t figure out what you’re writing, how is your audience supposed to figure it out?

Another factor is the blurring of genre lines. It’s not uncommon to find paranormal, sci-fi, horror, romantic, or literary elements all contained within the same book or story. And that’s not a bad thing.

But for the sake of argument, let’s talk strictly horror.

Yes! This is an ALMOST EMPTY coffee pot! Totally horrible, but there are even MORE horrible things. I think.

Many people are introduced to horror through high school reading of authors like Poe, Shelley, Stoker, or Washington Irving (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”). Still others have explored horror through authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Robert Bloch…the list is long and impressive. Horror as a genre has quite a distinctive history and showcases some of the finest writing around. In other words, there is gold in them there stories, people. Please don’t make the mistake of pigeon-holeing a writer because they may have written a dark story or two.

The purpose of writing a story is to elicit a response from the reader. Horror certainly serves this purpose. It plays on the reader’s innermost fears, and if done properly, will make an impression long after the last page is turned. Remember Poe’s “Telltale Heart”? I bet you do, even if the last time you read that story was in high school English class. Horror writing can showcase the human condition in a infinite number of ways. How people react in dire circumstances — whether it’s zombies, a serial killer, or a monster — really reveals true character.

However, horror isn’t always a monster or a crazed killer. Take Poe’s story. There’s no monster (unless you count the main character who buried a heart beneath the floorboards). The horror of that story, in my opinion, is the madness experienced by the protagonist, and how his crime ate away at his mind until he finally collapses into insanity.

Although Stephen King has been classified as a “horror” writer, if you read a cross section of his work you’ll find horror elements, true, but he writes a lot more than that. It’s not necessarily the “slash and gore” or supernatural horror which has permeated the genre that Sai King produces, either. For instance, I consider “Apt Pupil” one of THE most horrifying stories I have ever read, and there isn’t one supernatural element in it. No slash and gore. But amazingly horrible, all the same.

Of course, there's THIS, too. *SHUDDER*

So what is horror? It can be things that go bump in the night and slither in the dark corners. It can be the vampire stalking the streets looking for the next victim, the ghost lurking in the shadows waiting to eat your soul, or it can be the nice man living next door with a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts. But the real core of horror is fear, and human fears are as varied as the humans themselves. In other words, what scares you may not scare me at all, and vice-versa. And this is why I’m so excited about Creepfest.

During the next twelve days, you will find a wide variety of writers who explore the darker side. Some writers are considered strictly “horror”, and others, like myself, who cross the boundaries into other genres such as dark fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal shenanigans, and other sub-genres. You’ll find monsters, sure. But you’ll also find a lot of other things, things like humanized zombies, monsters who aren’t what they appear, psychological horrors, emotional and spiritual horrors which can’t be destroyed with a silver bullet or a stake to the heart, because the horror may actually live inside you. You may even find funny horror; horrors that may surprise you and even better, affect you. Isn’t that the point of a good story?

So, I encourage you to visit during the days of Creepfest, because I am not only going to introduce you to some really great writers through interviews but even better, through excerpts from their work. I’m going to include some work of my own you may not have seen plus an excerpt from “Athena’s Promise”. I’d like you to keep an open mind, and give these writers a chance to move you. Every day will be something different, something tasty. And to further encourage you to broaden your horizons, I’m going to run a sweepstakes.

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

TOMORROW, LET THE CREEPFEST BLOG HOP COMMENCE!

MUAHAHAHA! Come with me to the dark side!
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