Go Multi-Genre, a Good Idea for Any Writer

In late November, I realized that I’ve been a full-time author for ten years. So why the hell am I just learning it’s necessary to be a multi-genre writer? Let’s face it, horror doesn’t sell anymore, and it’s time to thrive instead of just survive.

 

I’m sure that, somewhere out there, an author exists who likes his job and doesn’t mind writing horror for the love, or for accolades from the Horror Writer’s Association. But there can’t be that many of them. An author has a right to be paid for his hard work. And if there are writers fearing they’ll be labeled as sellouts, one can always use a pseudonym–though this may not be a long-term solution. But writing other genres can not only double the fun, but also the friends (fans). In the end, you’ll be more well-rounded.

 

Still, why would anybody love a job, especially having to get up in the morning? Whatever floats your boat, but I’m an insomniac. It takes me a long time to get to sleep at night. I’ve got to sleep in.

 

One can always write at night.

Super-Heavy List, Revised

This latest revision is a “Duh” moment. I can’t believe I left out the second and third Cannibal Corpse albums, as few CDs are as crazy as these.

 

I also take back what I said about demos being better than signed albums. That’s not always the case.

 

1. Reek of Putrefaction – Carcass

2. Bloodcurdling Tool of Digestion – Exhumer

3. Deicide Deicide

4. House by the Cemetery – Mortician

5. Mortal Massacre – Mortician

6. Gore Metal – Exhumed

7. Slaughtercult – Exhumed

8. Church of the Five Precious Wounds – Repulsive Dissection

9. Cut Open the Aberration – Repulsive Dissection

10. Panzer Division Marduk – Marduk

11. Generation of Hate/Mutilation of God – Dismembered Fetus

12. Blood Past – Sinister

13. Butchered at Birth – Cannibal Corpse

14. Tomb of the Mutilated – Cannibal Corpse

15. Feasting on Blood – Severe Torture

16. Misanthropic Carnage – Severe Torture

17. Dechristianize – Vital remains

18. Icons of Evil – Vital Remains

19. Sons of Northern Darkness – Immortal

20. …Of the Dark Light – Suffocation

 

Band list:

Sinister

Mortician

Gorgasm

Immortal

Suffocation

Enslaved (only Enslaved, Frost, Eld, and Blodhemn)

Exhumed (only Gore Metal and Slaughtercult)

Repulsive Dissection

Malignancy

Dismembered Fetus

Necrophagia

Exhumer

Severe Torture (nothing after Misanthropic Carnage)

Abscess (everything but Seminal Vampires and Maggot Men)

The Ravenous

Dying Fetus

Marduk

Thornspawn

Cannibal Corpse

Hypocrisy (only Penetralia and Osculum Obscenum)

Withered Earth (only Of Which They Bleed)

Lust of Decay

Avulsed

Pig Destroyer

Circle of Dead Children

Inhume

Vader (only The Ultimate Incantation)

Deicide (only Amon: Feasting the Beast, Deicide, Legion, Once Upon the Cross, Insineratehymn, In Torment in Hell and The Stench of Redemption)

Laceration

Impending Doom (only Nailed. Dead. Risen.)

Crimson Thorn (only Unearthed and Dissection)

Macabre

 

Super-Heavy List (Final, I Hope)

I’ve been finding out, lately–though I’ve always known–that when a death-metal band gets a recording contract, it sucks all the life out of them. Listen to the beyond-brutal cacophony of Deicide’s and Sinister’s demos and see what I mean. Hopefully, this is the last edit of my super-heavy list.

 

Post-Post Note-I realized in retrospect that Deicide’s first album is heavier than their demo and deserves the third-place rank on the list.

 

1. Reek of Putrefaction – Carcass

2. Bloodcurdling Tool of Digestion – Exhumer

3. Deicide Deicide

4. House by the Cemetery – Mortician

5. Mortal Massacre – Mortician

6. Gore Metal – Exhumed

7. Slaughtercult – Exhumed

8. Church of the Five Precious Wounds – Repulsive Dissection

9. Cut Open the Aberration – Repulsive Dissection

10. Panzer Division Marduk – Marduk

11. Generation of Hate/Mutilation of God – Dismembered Fetus

12. Blood Past – Sinister

13. Wrath of War – Thornspawn

14. Sanctified by Satan’s Blood – Thornspawn

15. Feasting on Blood – Severe Torture

16. Misanthropic Carnage – Severe Torture

17. Dechristianize – Vital remains

18. Icons of Evil – Vital Remains

19. Sons of Northern Darkness – Immortal

20. …Of the Dark Light – Suffocation

 

Band list:

Sinister

Mortician

Gorgasm

Immortal

Suffocation

Enslaved (only Enslaved, Frost, Eld, and Blodhemn)

Exhumed (only Gore Metal and Slaughtercult)

Repulsive Dissection

Malignancy

Dismembered Fetus

Necrophagia

Exhumer

Severe Torture (nothing after Misanthropic Carnage)

Abscess (everything but Seminal Vampires and Maggot Men)

The Ravenous

Dying Fetus

Marduk

Thornspawn

Cannibal Corpse

Hypocrisy (only Penetralia and Osculum Obscenum)

Withered Earth (only Of Which They Bleed)

Lust of Decay

Avulsed

Pig Destroyer

Circle of Dead Children

Inhume

Vader (only The Ultimate Incantation)

Deicide (only Amon: Feasting the Beast, Deicide, Legion, Once Upon the Cross, Insineratehymn, In Torment in Hell and The Stench of Redemption)

Laceration

Impending Doom (only Nailed. Dead. Risen.)

Crimson Thorn (only Unearthed and Dissection)

Macabre

My New Novella, 66SICK, Is Out!

This is one of my most insidious tales yet, a novella at 149 pages–almost as long as my favorite novel, Rosemary’s Baby! You can pre-order the eBook for .99¢, or if you can’t wait till Halloween, order the paperback for $5 NOW, $10.41 with shipping and handling. Enjoy!

Super-Heavy List Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Revised

I’ve been singing the praises of the new Suffocation album, …Of the Dark Light, all over the internet, and I’ve realized it’s better than Vader’s first album–namely heavier–so I’ve replaced it. Bands like Suffocation, who get better with age, are a happy accident. Here goes:

 

1. Reek of Putrefaction – Carcass

2. Bloodcurdling Tool of Digestion – Exhumer

3. Amon: Feasting the Beast – Deicide

4. House by the Cemetery – Mortician

5. Mortal Massacre – Mortician

6. Gore Metal – Exhumed

7. Slaughtercult – Exhumed

8. Church of the Five Precious Wounds – Repulsive Dissection

9. Cut Open the Aberration – Repulsive Dissection

10. Panzer Division Marduk – Marduk

11. Generation of Hate/Mutilation of God – Dismembered Fetus

12. Blood Past – Sinister

13. Wrath of War – Thornspawn

14. Sanctified by Satan’s Blood – Thornspawn

15. Feasting on Blood – Severe Torture

16. Misanthropic Carnage – Severe Torture

17. Dechristianize – Vital remains

18. Icons of Evil – Vital Remains

19. Sons of Northern Darkness – Immortal

20. …Of the Dark Light – Suffocation

 

Band list:

Sinister

Mortician

Gorgasm

Immortal

Suffocation

Enslaved (only Enslaved, Frost, Eld, and Blodhemn)

Exhumed (only Gore Metal and Slaughtercult)

Repulsive Dissection

Malignancy

Dismembered Fetus

Necrophagia

Exhumer

Severe Torture (nothing after Misanthropic Carnage)

Abscess (everything but Seminal Vampires and Maggot Men)

The Ravenous

Dying Fetus

Marduk

Thornspawn

Cannibal Corpse

Hypocrisy (only Penetralia and Osculum Obscenum)

Withered Earth (only Of Which They Bleed)

Lust of Decay

Avulsed

Pig Destroyer

Circle of Dead Children

Inhume

Vader (only The Ultimate Incantation)

Deicide (only Amon: Feasting the Beast, Deicide, Legion, Once Upon the Cross, Insineratehymn, In Torment in Hell and The Stench of Redemption)

Laceration

Impending Doom (only Nailed. Dead. Risen.)

Crimson Thorn (only Unearthed and Dissection)

 

You Might Have to Write in Other Genres

For those who haven’t figured this out yet–many authors already write in other genres–one must summon up a great deal of courage to admit that one will never make it writing horror. And by “making it” I mean earning a decent profit. Let’s face it: except for the lucky few, horror doesn’t sell anymore. Ask any literary agent. It’s not the ’80s, and you’re not an author if nobody cares, or if you only have one fan (like me).

 

The obvious solution: write in a genre that sells. You could learn the craft of writing sci-fi or fantasy, or you could assimilate the trade of literary fiction. There’s always non-fiction freelance as a way of making money till your horror ship comes in, if it ever does. Too, one could admit one just isn’t that good of a writer and switch to the young-adult genre. Teens are easier to please than adults. Tots are even easier to please–you could write children’s books. (I grew up loving Curious George.)

 

You can bet I’m writing a novel in another genre–although I don’t want to give it away yet–because I’m tired of swimming in bugs in my ghetto. Even though the landlord got Orkin to get rid of my ‘roaches and bedbugs, I suffered with them for quite some time, and it happened. All it takes is a nasty neighbor moving in, even if your landlord uses pest control.

 

Finally, to all those writers who refuse to give up the integrity of being a good, original horror author, I hope you have a well-paying day job you like and don’t want to become wealthy, or I hope you like living with all kinds of critters!

Super-Heavy List Re-Re-Re-Re-Revised

Gahhhh! I had to edit this list again. I can’t believe I forgot Immortal and Vital Remains with Glen Benton! So here we go again, the 20 heaviest albums ever, and a list of the groups that belong in this conversion:

 

1. Reek of Putrefaction – Carcass

2. Bloodcurdling Tool of Digestion – Exhumer

3. Deicide – Deicide

4. House by the Cemetery – Mortician

5. Mortal Massacre – Mortician

6. Gore Metal – Exhumed

7. Slaughtercult – Exhumed

8. Church of the Five Precious Wounds – Repulsive Dissection

9. Cut Open the Aberration – Repulsive Dissection

10. Panzer Division Marduk – Marduk

11. Generation of Hate/Mutilation of God – Dismembered Fetus

12. Cross Species Transmutation – Malignancy

13. Wrath of War – Thornspawn

14. Sanctified by Satan’s Blood – Thornspawn

15. Feasting on Blood – Severe Torture

16. Misanthropic Carnage – Severe Torture

17. Dechristianize – Vital remains

18. Icons of Evil – Vital Remains

19. Sons of Northern Darkness – Immortal

20. The Ultimate Incantation – Vader

 

Band list:

 

Mortician

Immortal

Enslaved (only Enslaved, Frost, Eld, and Blodhemn)

Exhumed (only Gore Metal and Slaughtercult)

Repulsive Dissection

Malignancy

Dismembered Fetus

Necrophagia

Exhumer

Severe Torture (nothing after Misanthropic Carnage)

Abscess (everything but Seminal Vampires and Maggot Men)

The Ravenous

Dying Fetus

Marduk

Thornspawn

Cannibal Corpse

Hypocrisy (only Penetralia and Osculum Obscenum)

Withered Earth (only Of Which They Bleed)

Lust of Decay

Avulsed

Pig Destroyer

Circle of Dead Children

Inhume

Vader (only The Ultimate Incantation)

Deicide (only Deicide, Legion, Once Upon the Cross, Insineratehymn, In Torment in Hell and The Stench of Redemption)

Laceration

Impending Doom (only Nailed. Dead. Risen.)

Crimson Thorn (only Unearthed and Dissection)

 

Don’t Need to Petrify; Tell a Great Story

I know writers hate to hear this–because I’m one of them–but I don’t usually get scared by the written word. Yet never fear. I’ve recently found that’s a good thing.

 

Hear me out. On those rare occasions when the page does scare, it’s not a feel-good moment. Quite the opposite. Case in point, the short story, “Perfection Through Silence” by Shaun Meeks. That tale is so horrific, I won’t even allow myself to think about it. (“Thanks, self; now I’m thinking about it!”) And the end of that horror film, Megan Is Missing? Get out of here!

 

So what’s the conclusion? Tell a well-crafted story with a lovable protagonist so the reader will care what happens to him or her. You might even inspire a feeling of dread, like in Frankenstein: the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley or The Fireman by Joe Hill. That’s all you need to do–being petrified’s no fun–and you’ll be a successful author (meaning succeeding at telling a great story, not necessarily a Twilight cash-in).

 

Not that I’m saying I’m faint of heart. I will endure the story that scares the shit out of me, like when I was up half the night on two dark nights of the soul thanks to The Ring and The Innkeepers. But it’s like in real life–being scared isn’t fun. Whoops: you’ve got roaches and mice and you’re evicted! Good day!

Nuts and Bolts of Horror Storytelling, i.e. Writer Rules

I have a list of writer rules I peruse every time I write a rough draft, which I learned in critique groups, and I’m going to share them with you presently. I know what some of you are thinking: I don’t give a fuck about writer rules. Well, unless you’re as talented as Gary A. Braunbeck, who can get away with endless run-on sentences–and you probably aren’t; I know I’m not–your choice to ignore the writer rules will probably cost you some publications. Therefore, here goes:

 

  1. As far as short stories, always read the sample copy, and write something just like they publish.
  2. Concerning agents and publishers, be reading the books they publish or get published. Do your homework.
  3. Research: find out everything you can about a subject before you write (and not on Wikipedia). College libraries are the best.
  4. Have a brilliant first sentence (think The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum: “You think you know about pain?”).
  5. Have a hook at the beginning–not cheesy.
  6. Stories should start 1/4th of the way through your rough draft: start with action.
  7. Story must have a beginning, middle and end.
  8. Characters must be good and bad, not wooden–or all good or all bad. Everyone thinks they’re doing the right thing.
  9. The protagonist must grow as a person.
  10. You can have an anti-hero, but he or she must be interesting.
  11. Not too many similes and metaphors, and make them appropriate to horror.
  12. Don’t say “All of the sudden”; make it sudden.
  13. Make the reader see it; create pictures in minds.
  14. Show, don’t tell. Give some things away in dialogue and inner thoughts, not all description.
  15. Ask yourself “Is this scary”?
  16. Deftly use the unreliable narrator.
  17. Keep a dream diary and use it (nightmares).
  18. Keep the physical descriptions brief, unless emphasizing the antagonist, as a monster or demon.
  19. Read it out loud.
  20. Give protagonist flaws. No one want a perfect protag’.
  21. Copyright!
  22. Don’t kill the protagonist, as if the story’s told by a ghost. Have a main character who watches the minor character die.
  23. Don’t say “It was all a dream.” Action must be real.
  24. Protagonist cannot be the antagonist.
  25. Take your time. Let description flow.
  26. Not more than two adjectives before a noun.
  27. Not more than three commas per sentence.
  28. Delete all the adverbs you can; only keep good ones (like “unsexily”).
  29. Active verbs, not passive voice and adjectives and adverbs, for the most part.
  30. Use the five senses.
  31. Conflict resolution at end–though horror doesn’t have to have a happy ending.
  32. And with happy endings: your protagonist(s) must not be completely jovial; they’ve gone through hell in this horror tale, and they’re forever traumatized.
  33. Don’t use parentheses like me
  34. Don’t overuse exclamation points.
  35. Don’t use all-caps or bold on any story you want published–only self-published ones.
  36. Know the difference between the climax and the denouement.

Now get serious and get some publications!

Super-Heavy List Re-Re-Revised

This is my list of the heaviest albums and groups ever:

 

1. Reek of Putrefaction – Carcass

2. Bloodcurdling Tool of Digestion – Exhumer

3. Deicide – Deicide

4. House by the Cemetery – Mortician

5. Mortal Massacre – Mortician

6. Gore Metal – Exhumed

7. Slaughtercult – Exhumed

8. Church of the Five Precious Wounds – Repulsive Dissection

9. Cut Open the Aberration – Repulsive Dissection

10. Panzer Division Marduk – Marduk

11. Generation of Hate – Dismembered Fetus

12. Mutilated God – Dismembered Fetus

13. Cross Species Transmutation – Malignancy

14. Feasting on Blood – Severe Torture

15. Misanthropic Carnage – Severe Torture

16. Wrath of War – Thornspawn

17. Sanctified by Satan’s Blood – Thronspawn

18. The Ultimate Incantation – Vader

19. Assembled in Blasphemy – The Ravenous

20. Through the Cracks of Death – Abscess

 

Band list:

 

Mortician

Enslaved (only Vikingligr Veldi, Frost, Eld, and Blodhemn)

Exhumed (only Gore Metal and Slaughtercult)

Repulsive Dissection

Malignancy

Dismembered Fetus

Necrophagia

Exhumer

Severe Torture (nothing after Misanthropic Carnage)

Abscess (everything but Seminal Vampires and Maggot Men)

The Ravenous

Dying Fetus

Marduk

Thornspawn

Cannibal Corpse

Hypocrisy (only Penetralia and Osculum Obscenum)

Withered Earth (only Of Which They Bleed)

Lust of Decay

Avulsed

Pig Destroyer

Circle of Dead Children

Inhume

Vader (only The Ultimate Incantation)

Deicide (only Deicide, Legion, and Once Upon the Cross)

Laceration

Impending Doom (only Nailed. Dead. Risen.)

Crimson Thorn (only Unearthed and Dissection)

 

Crappy New Year (just kidding: Happy New Year)!

 

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