Southern Festival of Books Day 1 Recap

I think my reading went pretty okay. And did I tell y’all that I got invited to participate in this Poetry Sucks! thingy? I’ll have ten minutes to read ghost stories. So, today, I picked out the two I’m going to read. It was funny, because it’s the first time I’ve read “The Ghost Who Thought You Were Lying” out loud and, wow, yeah, those characters really do pop. They just jump right off the page when you read them out loud. So that one and then of course “All the Same Old Haunts.”

I then sat around chatting with a friend in the Legislative Plaza until it was time for Chesya Burke and George Singleton’s panel. There was supposed to be a third person, but she had to bow out. But it ended up being a really interesting mix because Burke writes horror with a biting wit and Singleton writes hilarious stories about kind of horrible things.

And it gave me a kind of half-formed thought about the importance of humor in horror writing. That you need little release valves of humor, weirdly enough, to let the tension rise. Horror stories without humor are often so unrelentingly bleak that they kind of cease to be scary. It’s like your brain just… you know what it’s like? It’s like you need to stretch your brain to hold horror. So, a writer can stick her ideas in there and inflate the horror unrelentingly and your brain will quickly pop. It can hold no more horror, so the fun is over.

But a good horror writer knows when to stop pushing, knows when to let a little air out, when to give you a little breathing room, so that you can take the next onslaught.

Or something.

Anyway, it was cool.