9 things female horror writers are sick of hearing

Posted: March 10, 2014 in In my opinion..., Lists. I love lists...
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I recently came across this list from Buzzfeed called “19 Things Women Writers Are Sick Of Hearing” and shared it with some of my female writer friends; they had a number of frequently received annoying comments to add to the list, many of which are peculiar to female horror writers. Autumn Christian mentioned some of them in her 2012 guest post “Some difficulties in being a female horror writer“, which is in the Top 10 Most Popular Posts on “Exquisite Corpse” of All Time.

female horror writer

The author at home.

In honour of Women In Horror Month, which was in February (I know, I’m a couple of weeks late, but I was busy cooking and cleaning and wiping noses and teaching young children to read and doing other, similarly insignificant female-type pastimes), I present my findings.

  • But you seem so nice!
  • But you look so normal!
  • You must have “issues”.
  • How does your husband feel about you writing horror?
  • You write horror? I would have expected you to say romance/children’s books.
  • You write horror? What – like Twilight?
  • Why don’t you try writing something nice?
  • But I don’t like horror – you should write something that I want to read.
  • (This one usually comes after they’ve read something that you’ve written, and it’s soooo not what they were expecting – ) What the hell is wrong with you?!?
  1. […] ago I read an article on the lovely Tracie McBride’s Exquisite Corpse blog titled “9 things female horror writers are sick of hearing” and what is the first bullet point? Answer: “But you seem so […]

  2. I’m not married, so I can get away with stuff like: “Oh, he doesn’t mind. He’s in the freezer.”

  3. I don’t intend to offer advice on how to respond to such criticism, but speaking as a fan of horror authors of any gender, here’s how I would respond:

    1) I am nice, it’s you that’s not for saying so.
    2) Define: “normal” … really, I want to hear this.
    3) Well, the only ‘issues’ I have have are of the publications that have produced my work.
    4) (If applicable) Hmm, good question. I’ve never asked him. He’s been too busy supporting me in what I do, as I have him in our life together. Guess I’ve never had the chance to ask him that.
    5) Excuse me? Are you saying that someone who menstruates once a month should only write romance and children’s books? Sir, you do not know horror.
    6) No, not like: “Twilight”; more like: Mary Shelley. Have you ever read her best work? 🙂
    7) Okay. What would you like on your epitaph?
    8) I did write something you’d like! Here’s my grocery list, go pick these things up for me will you?
    9) With me? For wanting to dig inside my own psyche and explore how creative I can be? For wanting to tell my tale as I saw it into a forum to reach out to people I don’t know? For wanting to engage these readers in a story of twists and thrills? Nothing is wrong with me in that regard, so I have a question for you: Would you like an autograph?

  4. Dana Wright says:

    Yep. I get that a lot.

  5. pauljessup says:

    I actually hear “what the hell is wrong with you” from other horror writers. Which I think means I’m doing something right.

  6. valentinelli says:

    A thousand, million times THIS.

  7. I’ve had all of these…apart from the husband one. I assume if I ever took a husband he’d be fine with it 😛

  8. I love “why don’t you try to writing something nice”. I don’t write horror, but I get that a lot and it makes me crazy.

  9. fuonlyknew says:

    That last one is a zinger!LOL Most of the horror I read is written by women and I never gave it much thought. Horror is my first love and whether it be a female or a male author makes no difference to me. Just give me those chills and startles!

    • To be fair, there are probably more than a few male horror writers who’ve copped the “What the hell is wrong with you?” line as well.

      • valentinelli says:

        They do. One of my friends was asked to no longer participate in volunteering for his son’s school district because THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

      • I’m luckier – I work at a primary school, and they let me teach the kids creative writing in my lunch hour (any horror-themed stories kept at a Goosebumps level, of course!)

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