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.

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