I don’t know if my readers know this or not, but my website tells me which article everyone is reading, where they clicked the link, and what time of day it was when they did so. Yes, I can see all kinds of interesting details. My most popular posts just happen to be when I voice my opinion on the state of the indie horror industry. Why is that? Drama, baby. Drama.
Everyone loves the smell of their own farts, right? I mean, farts stink and no one likes them, yet EVERYONE pauses to smell their own. It’s like they’re grading them or comparing them to farts from last week to see if they’re getting better or worse. Is there a such thing as a better fart? Obviously, any one of them you trust which doesn’t result in shitting your own pants is considered to be a good one in my book. The book of farts. It’s a thing, and probably written by Stephanie Meyer.
I couldn’t help but notice some of the indie horror authors on my Facebook and Twitter newsfeed bashing M. Night Shyamalan’s latest theatrical offering titled A Knock at the Cabin. Based on the novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay, I personally believed it to be one of Shyamalan’s better offerings. Sure, his signature twist was a little weak this go around, but the suspense and character acting was top notch! This is where the modern indie horror world gets this interpretation totally wrong. Why? Because a large chunk of them don’t quite understand how to interpret or write characters.
Indie horror – or extreme horror, to be more precise – if full of blood, sex, and gore the likes of which would never appear in a mainstream horror book by either Stephen King, Anne Rice, or Dean Koontz. I use these three authors as an example because the last remnants of physical bookstores in our world seem to only stock those three writers! I did manage to catch a Jack Ketchum offering at a Half-Priced Books once. Ironically it was on the anniversary of his death. He was a special kind of someone, and we contributed to two anthologies together before his passing. He personally welcomed me into ‘his’ world, and then several of his lesser talented colleagues tried their best to evict me. I mean, how can you evict someone who left on their own and saluted you with a single finger on the way out the door? Some of them are currently reading this article because I live rent free inside of their heads. Hello there!!!
A reader’s most common complaint in indie extreme horror is that the author lacks the ability to create characters worth caring about. After pages and pages of describing pools of blood, dead vaginas, and monsters of legend, most offer us cardboard cut outs of heroes and villains who barely obtain the nomenclature of “two-dimensional”. Basically, they’re fucking boring. Also, the insistence to totally overuse the word ‘visceral’ is gut wrenching. Did that word appear on someone’s “word of the day” calendar their mother-in-law got them for Christmas because they had no idea what to get their wannabe author and ‘soon to be ex’ son in law? Wow, that was really specific! If the shoe fits though…
Sure, many of the up and comers can tell a decent story, but what’s the point if you can’t create believable characters? In the end, we need to care about the plight of the hero or the reasoning of the villain to give a damn about the story. If we don’t know them, how are we supposed to be sad or excited when the plot thickens? Bottom line is that you can’t. You’re reading a ‘treatment’ rather than a novel, and it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
The way this all works out is that the fanbase asks for basic entertainment value. A lot of the community just reads their colleagues’ books and then that author will read their book in return as soon as it’s available. It all goes full circle from author to reader and continues to spin until it makes its way back around to where it started. The people in these circles will preach greatness within said circle giving the false impression of popularity. When you step back, though, you’ll find that few outside those circles even know that the author exists. I know this to be a fact because we can smell our own. I’m a hack too, but at least I can write strong, believable characters. There’s still hope for me if I can manage to separate myself from the pseudo secret cliques in the make-believe dungeons of indie awfulness. I’d rather stop writing completely than spend one more minute pretending I’ve achieved greatness. Why boast mediocrity?
If you haven’t watched Knock at the Cabin yet, I suggest you do so minus the opinions of the “Halloween Town” criers. No, a half assed horror pen name, a poorly produced podcast, and a black and white author photo reminiscent of your Hot Topic assistant manager’s badge does not make one “spooky”. Nor does your paid Twitter checkmark. You are not the be all/end all of scary and neither am I for that matter. Stop being so overly critical of media in the face of consumers so that they may come to their own conclusions fairly. I’d love to hear what M. Night Shyamalan would say if he popped one of their films into his Blu Ray player and began his own biased review. The bias being that 99.9% of the most vocal authors on the internet have yet to sell movie rights to their work. Goddammit they’ll sure judge someone else’s shit like they have, though. Fuck Gene Siskel. Fuck Roger Ebert. Hell, since I’m already on a Wednesday roll, fuck everyone equally. That way, no one can say I’m playing favorites.
Honestly, I love you all, but there are a few of you who are goddamn annoying sometimes. I’m sure the same could be said about me, but I didn’t go to http://www.annoyingassindieauthor.com purposely to be offended. Seek and ye shall find.
I’m so glad I rediscovered my honesty and ceased to live within the confines of imaginary greatness. It’s very freeing. I suck and I know it. Let me know when you’re ready to come to terms with your own makeshift prison and I’ll help break you out. I have an abundance of red pills with your name on it. You don’t like me, yet you keep coming back for more. Hook, line, and sinker.
Like, share, subscribe, comment, all four, or none. You’re the reader, I’m the writer. You do you.
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