Speculation on Horror

There was a period of time this morning where I actually almost felt bad about submitting my bit of “flash fiction”:http://curveballconspiracy.blogspot.com/2006/06/heritage-repaid.html, even though it obviously met “The Curveball Conspiracy’s”:http://curveballconspiracy.blogspot.com criteria for publishing it. I think what kind of bugged me about it was that I ended up doubting myself, wondering if it really fell into the category of speculative fiction. Michael O’Mahoney’s ((The creator of the site.)) focus was to have authors submit stories that are a sidestep away from reality, and my story was certainly that – maybe even a bit more than just a simple sidestep.

The horror genre can be a fascinating one to write in. Not all speculative fiction is horror, and not all horror is speculative fiction. But when the story contains elements that cannot or do not occur in real life – like magic, mystical events, paranormal happenings, etc. – then it is probably safe to say that the story has, at the very least, stepped into the realm of speculative fiction. Of course, some horror probably only briefly visits before bounding away, but sometimes that’s all you need, that one little bit of the unexplainable, the one thing that allows the reader to suspend disbelief for just long enough, and then the story plunges on, leaving the reader gasping but hanging on for dear life to find out what happens next.

I don’t consider myself a horror writer ((I definitely consider myself more of a sci-fi/fantasy writer.)), but I have to admit that a lot of my writing touches on the dark with a high degree of regularity. Maybe I’m just more comfortable visualizing the fantastic than I am with visualizing the future. Or maybe the darker tales simply speak more persuasively to my imagination and preempt some of the other, non-horror story ideas I have. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

2 thoughts on “Speculation on Horror”

  1. One of the nice things about speculative fiction is that it’s difficult to define. Anytime you take the sidestep away from reality I’ve talked about over at The CBC, you’re in the realm of the speculative, whether that be in the sense of sci-fi, horror, fantasy, or even erotica. That step doesn’t necessarily have to be a dark one, and it doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a twist. I wrote a story over there that started with a premise that was very speculative (the idea of committing suicide by lying flat on your back and firing a bullet straight up into the sky so that it came back down and killed you) then simply followed that premise through. That wasn’t a genre piece at all.

    I take your point, though. The majority of the Curve Ball stories so far do fall into the realm of horror, but I see it as horror in the sense that the Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits or even Tales Of The Unexpected are horror. It’s the little twist that takes you out of your comfort zone and into another place entirely that makes the Curve Balls fun.

  2. That’s a very good point. I do tend to think of a lot of my writing as being very Twilight Zonesque – the weird, the bizarre, the unexpected.

    Now, I like stories with a twist. Always have, so a lot mine end up having twists, even sometimes when I don’t deliberately plan them. But I also realize that a lot of people don’t like twists, and one of the things that I really want to work on in my writing is creating stories that don’t really twist too much, where the plot flows logically, where I can simply revel in the creation of characters and a plot that will hopefully be as rich and fun as a story twist.

    Looking forward to doing some more writing and honing my craft. Thanks for stopping by, Michael.

Have anything to add to the conversation?