Writing horror is punk rock by R. Van Saint

writing horrorR. Van Saint is a New Yorker living in Austin, TX. She writes dark/sci-fi/weird/pulp fiction. An avid blogger. A new media nerd. Soon to be podcaster.

I’m learning that writing horror is pretty damn punk rock.

Chances are you have a favorite black t-shirt. Something with a band logo perhaps. Or maybe it’s just a plain black shirt. You’ve probably worn this shirt beyond it’s expiration date. It’s probably looking ultra grungy at this point, has a weird smell, with parts of it fraying and possibly random holes where there shouldn’t be any.

Where am I going with this? Well, surely you have an old paperback from your favorite author. Something you bought back when you were 12 because it’s cheaper than a hardcover. You carried it around on the bus, the train, tossed it in your backpack. It’s filled with dog-eared pages and the spine has more wrinkles than your grandma.

Now you’re a little older and you write your own stories. That’s freaking awesome.

As a writer you need to instill in yourself (if you don’t already possess it) that punk rock DIY work ethic.

It’s one thing to write the story. But it’s another thing to spread the word about it.

Design and distribute fliers/covers or have a pal do it for you.

Tell people why your words are worth their time.

Of course these days our fliers are in the form of Tweets, Facebook announcements, blog posts, e-mail lists, podcasts, etc.

Same idea, different method of delivery.

Old school punk rock music is pretty fast, straight forward, raw, and loud.

So should your marketing campaign as a writer. Most folks are very busy and have the attention span of inebriated gnats. So whatever it is you’re trying to say, you better be concise, and make an impact. Less is more usually. And, no it’s not always about you. It’s about putting out the best work you can and entertaining people with your tales.

The punk rock community is pretty close-knit.

As someone who is trying to build an audience, you should make an effort to surround yourself with like-minded people and reach out to those who may be interested in reading your stories and supporting you in your endeavors. This is easier said than done. Just be yourself, be genuine, and don’t be an ass-hat.

The punk rock culture has always been synonymous to the non-conformist image.
As a writer, you should be willing to try new ideas out even when nobody else seems to be doing it. Be a trail blazer, start something different. Experiment – to see what works and what doesn’t. Then adjust your game plan according to the results.

Punk rock is in your face.

Writers of horror, be bold. Get your work out there. Give some away for free. Publish it yourself if you want. Don’t make excuses. Don’t hold back and second-guess yourself. I know people who are stuck in perpetual revision stage; “It’s not done yet, I have to work on it some more…” After the umpteenth revision you either write or get off the pot.

So get off your asses and do something. Make some noise and leave your mark. And don’t forget to wear your favorite black t-shirt.

Wanna know more? Follow her adventures and experiments at www.zerotorockstar.com
Don’t forget to join The Hooligans.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/zerotorockstar

8 thoughts on “Writing horror is punk rock by R. Van Saint

  1. When I read this I picture Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only of the Misfits circa 1977 taping hand written fliers up around NJ and NY for their shows. Great comparison! I will now style my hair into a weak-ass devilock and get back to writing. Excellent post!

  2. My black JTHM shirt does *not* have holes in it. However, I am prepared to cut a few in on my way to do something totally effing punk rock. Great post!

  3. As a punk rock fan and quasi horror writer, I have to say that this is a damn good post. Well done!

  4. I’m with Drew – loved this post! And as a sometimes-perpetual-revisionist, I need to get back to my own industrial/goth/punk rock roots when it comes to my writing! m/

  5. AWESOME post! You could also apply this to urban fantasy…wow thanks for the motivation. You rock!

  6. today’s motivational ass kicking provided by…Thanks for this!

  7. This is an excellent post. And now, I feel like listening to the Misfits while I dig up some bones.

  8. haha the pic is hilarious for this article.

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