There has been a lot of discussion of gore vs. lit. horror at the writing places I've been frequenting lately. I've been asked by members at both the df_underground and Shock Totem what flavor I (and the other users) like my horror. The other question thrown up for us is "Why?"
First off, the Why - I've always had a dark sense of the world at large, it is cold and crusty place that is what makes me feel at home. Now, I don't always need to write dark tales, I've been dared by some lovely people to write with not darkish themes, and those have turned out alright. But my home really is in the shadows that creep through the house when there is a thunder storm, or the dark corners, long forgotten in a damp basement that everyone is afraid of.
Does this make me or the other people I associate with "Bad?" No. Not at all. If anything, I believe it makes us stronger because we are ourselves with open arms, despite the strange looks, or the questions of "Why can't you write something Happy?" It's not really about happiness. I know plenty of people who write darkly who are pleasant and singing most days. We just think differently than what is considered the "norm"
Now for the other subject of this post. I enjoy gore, but only on a humorous level. In movies it's usually overdone to gross out those who can not stomach blood- letting. When I first started writing (I don't think that will ever get old. Sorry if people are tired of it, I'm still in awe that I found my nitch) my story came out dark, but I didn't think it could be horror because it didn't have gore.
For those of you who know me better than others, I tend to be a tad neurotic and a touch paranoid and that spawns a panic inside of me that could throw me off the course I was originally on (I've since worked on this problem and it happens a lot less frequently) and so, I started adding sprinklings of blood and bitty pieces of flesh to "spice" up my writing.
It was a rookie mistake on my part to be completely honest. Then, as I settled into my gut wrenching, blood-spilling self I found the term "Literary Horror" it was creepier, darker and richer. Filled with unsettling obstacles that really took me out of my own dark place and thrust me into a abyss where no light could ever go. I was fascinated. I loved it, and I started thinking I could never write something beautifully tragic.
Then I muffled the damn nervous voices (got me some duct tape and wire) in my head and really took a look at what I've written in the past. Only about four stories out of fifteen or twenty have gore. I realized where I had gone wrong, and again it pointed to the place where I should have trusted my instincts.
So I've grown in my writing, and I now know what the true meaning of staying true to yourself means. I love literary horror because it sneaks up on you, it makes you feel uncomfortable, and puts you in a place one would not normally want to be in. It makes you face things you don't want to. And frankly, while I am still learning, I am looking forward to the day where I get to place a reader inside of one of those little boxes to torture them as well.
Gore will always be there. It helps hone action scenes, and once in a while I still purge my brain of the icky and groady. But mostly I still with the creepy. It's just the way I roll.
So I pose to everyone the same questions bestowed upon me. Why horror? And which do you prefer? Gore or Creep? There are no wrong answers, only opinions :D