Yeah, not sure how much I’m going to be able to comment on that title and stay married, so I’ll just shut my damn mouth and let one of my favorite writers take it away.
So as you can see from the title, there are two topics on the table around here.
Over the last few days, I’ve been following the great debate as to why we would even need Women in Horror Month. Ask any female horror writer and she’ll tell you, this is a tough fucking road to travel. The fact that there is even a distinction between male and female horror writers is exactly the reason why we still need it. We can’t all just get along and be horror writers, and if a chick chooses a gender-ambiguous name under which to write (like I have), said person catches hell for doing so.
“Oh, she’s just trying to confuse the audience.”
Bullshit. I’m angry about that. I chose to use my initials because it doesn’t clutter up a book cover. Heaven knows people can look at my last name and still get it wrong, so my true rationale was to give readers as few letters as possible to have to remember.
“Girls aren’t scary.”
Really? Pick a random chick out of a crowd and piss her off. I guaran-fucking-tee you she’s going to be more cruel and more vindictive than any man you come across. Why? Because we remember. We remember when you hurt us, and we wait until you’ve forgotten why we’re pissed before we make our move. We know how to twist emotions and lay on guilt. We have the innate ability to make you believe whatever we want you to believe just by virtue of our nature. We are capable of great love, as we have the power to create life within ourselves. But we also carry great darkness. We are monsters cloaked in beautiful façades. Isn’t the rule of nature that the most beautiful specimen is often the most deadly? Case in point, good sir.
“Women are only good at writing romance, and romance isn’t real fiction.”
Oh, up yours. I do happen to write romance (under a REALLY confusing and hard to spell female pen name, mind you), but that’s totally irrelevant. It’s still fiction, and if you really want to be picky about it, it’s harder to write than horror. Either way you’re still manipulating human emotions to cause a very specific reaction. After all, sex and fear both cause the human body to release adrenaline, and there is no greater and more pleasurable death than la petite mort.
My point here is that gender and genre shouldn’t matter. A writer is a writer any way you twist it, and I am a writer. My being a girl is totally coincidental, and it’s exactly the reason why I dislike the concept of Women in Horror Month. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a necessary evil in this caveman society, and I appreciate the opportunity to showcase my work, but the fact that (and I’m not sure whether to call this feminism or anti-feminism here) there’s an entire month dedicated to women who write horror sort of bugs me. See the above statements. Personally, I don’t want the distinction of being a female horror writer. I don’t want to be good for a girl. I just want to be good, damn it. I am good, and I know it.
Which brings me to my next point: my personal Evolution of Evil.
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself evil, but I can write some really wicked shit when I put my mind to it. I target emotions. True evil is knowing your adversary’s fears, then using them to your advantage. It’s that creeping mist crawling across the carpet or the icy fingers along the back of your neck. It’s the sensation of being completely out of control and knowing there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.
In the case of the first Big Bad, I took it upon myself to destroy my favorite fairy tale. Wolfy was probably one of my favorite things I’d written until that point just because Charles is such a twisted bastard. And John liked it enough to take it so I considered it a win. Then (and please don’t ask where it came from because I don’t have a clue) I sat down and wrote Skippin’ Stones. And again, John took it. I’m not sure what that says about either of us.
See, my evil manifests itself in the form of the characters’ voices. They talk to me, just like I’d sit down and talk to you if we were in the same room. They tell me things I don’t necessarily want to know, and I write them down. It’s the only way to make them shut up. Nine times out of ten I don’t have a clue what’s going on until I’m told the punchline of whatever sick joke they’ve created for me. Seriously, it’s not like I intended to write the memoirs of a soulless manchild; it just happened, and I was helpless to stop it. Those voices, they know my fears. They know how to manipulate me.
There’s a reason I sleep with the television on… to keep the owners of those voices away. You see, I’m afraid they’ll come to get me when there’s nothing I can do about it.