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.
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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
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.
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: http://www.anthonyjrapino.com
Yay!! Anthony! Congrats and thank you for your...wisdom.