Women Can’t Write Good Horror?

March 12, 2013 at 2:26 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

I don’t have my review ready this week – still immersed in Deep Cuts. I’m reading every little nook and cranny to the book, including the intro and all of the recommendations, in very careful detail. I guess I’ve been lingering so much on this because I was distraught and bewildered by something Lisa Morton says in the intro… that in almost every horror writer’s forum out there, there seems to be a thread running on the inability of women to write good horror.

Hunh? Really?

I was also disappointed to hear that only 30% of the submissions for a pro-rate anthology honouring women in horror actually came from female writers.

Have I had blinders of some kind on? Because I’ve never run into anybody who has told me I can’t write good horror because I’m a woman. I’ve had some people decide they didn’t like my writing in general, but I’ve never had anyone suggest that any problems they’ve had with my stories was a result of my gender. Do people actually think that way?

I decided to do a search on the internet to see if this was truly a common sentiment. Initially, I found a lot of postings defending female horror writers, most of them associated with Women in Horror Month. Most of them seem to be offering counter arguments or excuses surrounding the notions that female writing is too sappy and emotional for horror, or they don’t write anything that’s effectively scary or gory. I’ve never been accused of any of that either, so once again, I’m scratching my head.

By the time I was done my search, I was pretty upset. While I don’t give much heed to the odd forum entry that “chicks can’t write horror” (because I don’t value the opinion of anyone who would refer to me as a “chick” unless in jest), the reports of people on panels at conventions saying things like women were less effective at writing horror and suggesting we should stick to fluff and paranormal romance made me want to string the buggers up and whack them repeatedly in their scrota with a stick laced with rusty nails (pointy ends to flesh, of course). While I wouldn’t actually do anything like that, I was pissed off enough to consider the fantasy – not to mention it would certainly show them I mean business when it comes to horror.  I’m sure I have several female horror writer friends who might contemplate joining me.

Don’t think I can write horror that’s scary or gory? Think my work will be sappy because I’m a woman? If that’s the case, I’d advise you to check out “Wrigglers” when it comes out in the soon to be released Midnight Movie Creature Feature II from May December Publications. I don’t shy away from cruelty, gore, death or violence when it comes to my stories and I challenge anyone to give an example of a horror story I’ve written that’s “sappy”. Containing irony – yes. Offering dark humour – at times. But sappy? Never.

When I write horror, I write horror, and I mean business.


  1. Sumiko Saulson said,

    One of my English teachers told me I had a talent for “grossing people out,” but in a good way. No one has ever told me personally that my horror wasn’t horrifying enough – that’s kind of a non issue. Unfortunately there are a bunch of idiots (like you mentioned) out there talking yadda ya. Fortunately, you’re a horror writer, so you can channel all of your frustration into writing a scene where a reanimated corpse with a flesh-eating virus in it’s undead saliva gnaws their face offs.

    • chantellyb said,

      I have a feeling the men who say things like that think there is only one type of woman out there with one way of thinking. That’s as stupid as believing the same applies to men. If you can have men who successfully write romance (Nicholas Sparks comes to mind, but I don’t typically read romance) it suggests there could be women capable of writing effective horror – the ability lies in the individual and has nothing to do with gender, race, ethnicity, age or sexual preference. Those of us who choose to write horror are not delicate creatures and we understand fear. We’re drawn to the genre for a reason.

  2. David Watson said,

    Remind me to never make you mad. Did I mention that I just bought one of your books? Please don’t hurt me.

    • chantellyb said,

      Lol! I usually reserve the big hurt for those who *really* deserve it.

  3. A Current Endeavor – Can’t?! | Word Blurb said,

    […] I had to look into the bias directed towards woman by some people involved in the horror genre for this post, I also ran into an article today about the nastiness woman SF writers are having to deal with […]

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