25 Things You Should Know About Writing Horror

When I’m not writing horror or weird fiction and not reading horror or weird fiction, I like to talk about it and write about it. While I was perusing some blogs about my favorite pastime, I came across this post from Chuck Wendig. Though it was written all the way back in 2011, all of four years ago, I found it to be a great guide for writers who want to write in this genre but aren’t sure where to start.

So, happy reading. That’s all from me this week. I’ll bother you again soon. Perhaps with a piece to keep you entertained.


Myths About Writers: Confirmation Bias

I read a wonderful article from Emily Harstone outlining  14 Myths About Writers, and a thought occurred to me: they all seem to stem from confirmation bias.

So, allow me to confirm that these myths really are myths through personal and professional experience. Since there are fourteen on her list, I’ll just tackle my five favorites/least favorites.

  1. As for the muse, frequent readers know how much I hate that myth, to the point where I find “muse” to be adversarial. Since I write, and I write daily, I know the muse is a bullshit excuse. Face it: if you blame a fairy tale for being too tired, too lazy, too whatever to write, then you’re going to starve if you want to live off a writing career.
  2. Next up, Harstone tackles the idea that poets kill themselves. Yeah, how many poets do you know? I know quite a few. They aren’t even remotely suicidal. For every poet a person can list who killed themselves, I believe I can list five who didn’t.
  3. Number three on Harstone’s list is that the day job is the enemy. While she maintains this isn’t true, I agree, to a point. You as a writer are your own worst enemy. It is possible to work so hard that you really are too tired when you get home to start writing. In that case, I’d suggest taking just fifteen minutes a day to write and see how it goes. Then devote a couple of hours to writing during your days off. Most of the time you’ll find that fifteen minutes is easy, and can write up to two or three hours before bedtime.
  4. All writers are alcoholics, and I’ll add drug users to this one. That is the biggest load of bullshit. Yes, there are some writers who abuse/use alcohol and drugs, but they aren’t any more or less creative than the ones who don’t. Such a sweeping generalization is something I find insulting to creative writers.
  5. Harstone includes the myth that “anyone can be a writer.” Nope. I think she says it best when she says, “It takes effort and sacrifice to be a writer. However many non-writers, people who have composed the occasional poem or short story, or not even that, don’t understand the effort that it requires to go from someone who is able to write to someone who is a writer.”

Enjoy reading her other nine myths. And yes, if you disagree, that’s fine, but keep in mind you may be suffering from a bad case of confirmation bias.

Anne Hogue-Boucher is not an alcoholic but somehow manages to write anyway, although some may argue her tweets and Facebook statuses make her seem a bit wonky. You can read her most recent short story, Exit 1042, at Amazon.

Facepalm Time: Stupid Things Authors Believe, Part 2

So a little while ago, I discussed an article on Authors Publish about the stupid things that authors believe. Well, this concept of our erroneous beliefs is big enough that we need a part two, so Kurt Bubna is happy to illustrate for our eager eyes another fine point in: Stupid Things Authors Believe, Part 2.

Yeah, the need to be published “uncensored.” In other words, publishing your first draft without even having anything other than basic proofreading (and for some, not even that).

For those of you who think that publishing a first draft is fine, I have but one question for you:

Are you out of your fucking mind?

I have to wonder about your level of ego to think that your first draft is untouchable. At least I did at first, but I understand. If you’re a new writer, or haven’t been in the arena for a while, you’re soft. Delicate. Like little frilly panties. It’s not just  your ego that’s keeping you from an editor making your manuscript bleed and cry salty tears. It’s fear.

Fear that you’re not good. Fear that you suck. Fear that you’re just a hack with no original thought. Fear that [fill in the blank]. Yeah, that’s what’s holding you back. You have likely grown attached to your first draft.

Let go. Put away your frilly panties and go commando. You’re gonna chafe. Bring powder.

In the hands of a professional editor, your work can be transformed into something great. A developmental edit will help you with the structure of your novel, places where your characters need improvement so that they feel real, and finding important plot holes. Clarifying your work. Making it into something memorable.

Keep this in mind: Just because it needs work doesn’t mean it’s bad. Keep that in mind. Even Hemingway hated his first drafts, because they sucked. They’re supposed to suck, because all you do in your first draft is get the story out. That’s it.

So yes, your precious baby manuscript needs to be massaged and developed. Let your baby grow and learn to walk on its own. Get an editor.

Now, if you’re self-published, that’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. I’m lucky enough to have a professional in-house, who rips my work apart. If I had feelings, they might get hurt. Luckily I got calluses on those feelings a long time ago. Now I enjoy edits. As you grow in your writing, you may not come to enjoy them, but you’ll appreciate them.

Hang in there. It’ll be okay. Just write, and worry about the edits when the time comes.

I’m Anne Hogue-Boucher, and I approve this message, or words to that effect. I am in no way affiliated with BubbleCow Book Editing. I just like them a lot. Come follow me on Twitter or Facebook and fill your head with the occasional joke and scary story, sometimes combined.


On DMCA & Writer Fury

In case you didn’t know, the DMCA is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For a good definition and in-depth look, you can read the Wikipedia page, but here is how they sum it up:

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United Statescopyrightlaw that implements two 1996 treaties of theWorld Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works.

I didn’t really give DRM and DMCA a lot of thought until Wednesday, the 30th of March, when I found someone giving away my short story, Exit 1042. Ouch.

There are a few reasons I’m fairly annoyed by this, and I hope you, as the reader, will indulge me a bit while I discuss why this is a huge issue for writers.

  1. Many of us authors are not raking in millions of dollars off our books. We write because we enjoy it, but we also depend on that sale to help feed ourselves and our families. I don’t make a fortune off my work, though I wish I did, but I need to be able to contribute to my family. When you download from a torrent from a not-so well known author, you may very well be taking away my ability to pay my bills or feed my adorable companion animals.
  2. Small-time authors don’t have the vast resources to fight each infringement, which means a person who is illegally downloading a book is fucking over the little guy. Small publishers and self-publishers are usually struggling to put out entertaining stories and good, if not great, literature. I know that many people who torrent are anti-establishment, and I’m cool with that because I’m pretty damn unusual myself, but think about it: you cannot simultaneously claim to be fighting exploitation of the little guy when you yourself are ripping off the little guy. I’m on my own to get this matter settled. Help me out by not downloading my book for free when it’s for sale by the author or a small publishing company. Yes, often places like Amazon get a cut, but that’s because they’re giving us a platform for our voices. Please don’t make it about them. It’s about the little guy.
  3. It’s ninety-nine cents, for fuck’s sake. Pony up the dollar if you want to read it. Most of my work is and will be offered at affordable prices. Print books will have to be more expensive because a lot goes into it and if I want to feed myself and my family, I have to put a higher margin on it. A lot of small-time publishers and people who self-publish set their own prices in order to make the right amount of money so they can support themselves and their small business.
  4. It is not a victimless crime. For the reasons I’ve stated above, you can see the pitfalls of downloading illegally. While I can understand the desire to stick it to The Man, I’m not The Man. I promise. I’m just a 5’2″ tall (short) little writer trying to make ends meet.
  5. It’s a crappy thing to do. Come on, you’ve read the reasons why it’s not cool. It hurts writers, and it keeps me from publishing more work if I have to keep diverting my attention to chasing down DMCA violations. I’m far more interested in providing people with entertainment at a low cost. In the long run, that’s going to lead to driving up the prices because I can’t afford to lose my electricity.

So for these reasons, I implore people to buy from small publishers and self-published authors legitimately. Give us a chance to entertain you on a full stomach. We’re much better that way.

If you’ve downloaded my work for free, you can redeem yourself in my eyes by going to my author page and purchasing a copy. I will love you forever and forgive you for your transgression.

Thanks for taking the time to listen and thanks even more for understanding.

Anne Hogue-Boucher is the author of Exit 1042 and eats onion sandwiches for fun. You can follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook for funny and always fun posts. Want to read a free story? Here, read this one.