David Niall Wilson

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10 Signs You are, or Know a Horror Writer

David Niall Wilson

Horror is such an odd genre that it’s sometimes difficult to explain to someone what it means to be a horror writer.  Many horror writers, in fact, live in denial, making up new words to describe their work and backing away from any community that wears too much black and mentions the word zombie more than once a week.

There are some signposts, however, that can differentiate the horror writer from the rest of humanity.  You can apply these to yourself, your work, or to that odd neighbor or co-worker you haven’t quite figured out.  While this list is in no way all-inclusive, you may find it useful in day-to-day life.

Ten indicators that you might be, or know, a horror writer.

  1. You / he / she can’t watch a happy or sappy movie without grinning and wondering out loud if it wouldn’t be better if the fluffy bunny was eaten at the last second by a ravenous zombie, or if it wouldn’t be cool to have the girl in a love scene sprout horns and cackle maniacally.
  1. You have considered owning a hearse, or, barring that, putting dark curtains in the back windows of your Gremlin and painting it black.  This symptom may be exacerbated by a desire to dangle fake dead body parts from windows, gas tanks, and trunks.
  1. You have on your person or in your vehicle, any sticker, paper, or other article with the name Cthulhu on it.  Particularly in election years, when exhortations to not accept the lesser evil are prevalent.
  1. You collect news clippings and Internet bookmarks that, if you were NOT a horror writer, would appear to be outlining a horrible life of crime.
  1. You can name more than four serial killers and know the movies their lives inspired.
  1. You have heard of The Miskatonic Institute.
  1. You hear your aunt or mother-in-law talk about how they love to craft and you burst into laughter and look over your shoulder to see if any Great Old Ones were observing, or if Fairuza Balk is floating by.
  1. You can quote from any of the Child’s Play movies, and would do so in public.
  1. You know who Michael Myers, Norman Bates, Freddy Krueger, Hannibal Lector and Carrie are, how many numbers there are beside the names of each in the annals of film history, who played them, and have ever owned any item shaped like one of them, or a part of their body.
  1. You consider a room or house that is supposed to be haunted as a plus when planning your vacation.

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