Monday, September 17, 2012

Murder by Numbers...a guest post


Murder by Numbers

Thanks to the wonderful Liz Arroyo for inviting me by her website.  Deep down I’m sure she knows there’s a chance, albeit a small one, that I’ll offend every one of her readers, and yet she has still let me drop in.  That’s friendship right there.

Liz, in one of our communiqués, asked how I felt after killing my characters.  Honestly, I think the real question she wanted to ask was this:  Are horror writers really sadistic?  Do we sit there, foaming at the mouth in anticipation of the next kill?  Do we drool demon’s blood at the mere thought of strangulation?  Do we derive some perverse pleasure from decapitation?

The answer, for me at least, is no.  In fact, there have been more times than I can count that I actually went out of my way to keep a character alive.  Times when it just didn’t feel right to let the genre dictate their demise.  Times when I simply felt better letting them live.

I can bet there are more than a few of my readers who are surprised by this.  Certainly if you’ve read any of my work, you wouldn’t guess that I like to let characters live, because oh so many of them die.  But I guess the point is I don’t go out of my way to kill them.  I don’t feel like every story, just because it’s horror, has to be about the disemboweling of a fast food cook.

Sometimes though, often times in fact, I do kill characters, which leads us back to that initial question Liz posed:  How do I feel afterward?

Not to lend credence to the popular myth that horror writers are sociopaths, but I don’t feel much of anything.  I don’t break down and weep on my keyboard, nor do I laugh hysterically whilst smearing blood on my nipples.  I feel the same as I did before.

The reason why seems obvious to me: the characters aren’t real.  I didn’t really kill anyone.  There isn’t really a pool of coagulating blood in my bathroom.  It’s just fiction.

Okay, maybe I’m lying to myself.  Maybe I do feel a little bit sad at losing a close friend.  Someone I’ve shared my head with for a week, or a month, or even a year.  But really, who’s to say I can’t just bring them back somehow.  I can write a story that takes place before they died.  Or I can get a witchdoctor to raise them from the grave with a sprinkling of zombie dust.  Hell, I can even have their ghosts come back and haunt the killer.

No.  At the end of the day, there isn’t much regret or guilt at the thought of killing a character.  It’s just my day job, and I do it with the same amount of pleasure and satisfaction that someone might bake a cake, or paint a picture.  It’s a form of creation. 

I may have killed one or two characters, but I created a world.

Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Collect all twelve game pieces (available from each blog stop during my tour), put the pieces together, and decipher the code.  It will lead you to a secret website.  If you’re the first person to comment on the site, you win!

Join us in the Insanity Rocket to discuss the contest.  (Me: Some crazy happenings going on here. And, I, um, usually end up with my dunce cap in the corner.  I hope you can join me us.)

Stop by the blog tour page for all upcoming dates and more contest info

Game Piece
I am very proud to announce the launch of my debut novel, Soundtrack to the End of the World, currently available in signed limited hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook editions.
Who knew the end could sound so good.
A suicidal nudist strolls into traffic.  An eccentric Buddhist claims he can occupy other people’s bodies.  All the while, whispers of a new form of entertainment blow through town.  Prompted by these strange occurrences, Marty Raft, a not-so-gentle giant, investigates and discovers underground clubs peddling music that induces an out-of-body experience.   Marty and a wannabe comedian, Corey, set out to prove these special frequencies are nothing more than a hoax, or at worst, a mass-drugging.  Instead, they uncover a secret with world-ending possibilities.
If you can hear the music, it’s already too late.
Anthony J. Rapino resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, somewhere between the concrete of the city and the trees of the forest.  On occasion, you’ll find him moderating the feverish battles between the creatures of these two arenas.  Whose side he’s on is anyone’s guess.
 His newest fiction can be found in Black Ink Horror, On Spec, Arcane Anthology, Electric Spec, A cappella Zoo, Space Squid, TQR Stories, and carved inside a variety of autumn gourds.  His short story collection, Welcome to Moon Hill, is currently available, as is his first novel Soundtrack to the End of the World.  Proof of his psychosis can be found on his website:
Yay!! Anthony! Congrats and thank you for your...wisdom.


  1. Great guest post! I've had to kill off a character or two, even though I don't write horror. One caused me a great deal of anguish, but it was historical fiction and the guy really did die, so there was nothing I could do about it. The other made me sad, but hey, we weren't that close.

    In a horror book, where you go into the story knowing many (perhaps even most) of the characters are going to meet a gruesome end, I think I'd look at them differently from the beginning -- keep them at arm's length, not allow them to cozy up.

    But I don't know. Maybe some day, I'll try it!

  2. Fun post. I generally don't kill off characters in my contemporary stories. But many times I start off with someone important being dead.

    I'd love to get into horror though, I have a soft spot for those stories.

  3. It was wonderful to meet you, Anthony, and great to hear your bathroom isn't pooling with gore. lol

    Fantastic post!

  4. Liz, thanks so much for having me!

    Dianne, you're right. i may actually keep many character's at arm's length without even knowing it.

    Suzi, Thanks! Yes, horror can be a lot of fun, but I guess I'm biased. :-)

    SA, Thanks so much, and nice meeting you too. Oh yeah, my bathroom is spotless. :-)

    I'll keep checking in for comments; hope everyone enjoys!

  5. Writing horror as well, I kill off characters here and there too and I, too, don't feel bad about it. If the story demands it, there's not much I can do but I do try to save as many as possible.

  6. Traci, totally agree. Thanks for commenting!


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