The Nightmare Engine Podcast

Breaking the Stigma of the Horror Genre

November 21, 2021 David Viergutz Season 1 Episode 2
Breaking the Stigma of the Horror Genre
The Nightmare Engine Podcast
More Info
The Nightmare Engine Podcast
Breaking the Stigma of the Horror Genre
Nov 21, 2021 Season 1 Episode 2
David Viergutz

How did you like the show? Text us and let us know.

⭐️Enjoy the podcast? Do your good deed for the day and leave a 5-star review here ;) 

🎙️About the Episode

Ever wonder how the eerie world of horror writing takes shape in an author's mind? Prepare to journey into the dark abyss of creativity with our distinguished guests, renowned horror authors, David Viergutz and Jay Bower. We'll be peeling back the layers on how they conjure up bone-chilling narratives, the psychology of crafting flawed characters and the art of walking the fine line between dark fantasy and horror magic.

Isn’t it fascinating how perfectly ordinary people react when thrust into extraordinary, terrifying situations? That's the canvas both David and Jay paint on. David enlightens us on his unique process of stepping into his character's shoes, immersing himself in their darkest fears. Jay, on the other hand, shares his intriguing preference for flawed heroes and the importance of relatable antagonists. We further delve into the strategic use of jump scares, supernatural elements, and the secret behind driving tension and fear in horror literature.

Finally, we tackle the elephant in the room - the stigma around the horror genre. Is there a way to make horror more mainstream? Can the unknown elements that drive tension and fear be harnessed for wider appeal? We explore these questions and more, shedding light on the thin line separating dark fantasy from horror magic. So tune in, grab your proverbial torches, and get ready to explore the shadowy corners of horror and supernatural writing with us. Trust me, it's a thrilling ride you won't want to miss.


🔗Connect with David

🌎 Website | 🎥 Youtube | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

🔗Connect with Jay

🌎 Website | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

⭐️ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast,

🔗Connect with David
🌎 Website | 🎥 Youtube | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

⭐️ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. 🙏🙏

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How did you like the show? Text us and let us know.

⭐️Enjoy the podcast? Do your good deed for the day and leave a 5-star review here ;) 

🎙️About the Episode

Ever wonder how the eerie world of horror writing takes shape in an author's mind? Prepare to journey into the dark abyss of creativity with our distinguished guests, renowned horror authors, David Viergutz and Jay Bower. We'll be peeling back the layers on how they conjure up bone-chilling narratives, the psychology of crafting flawed characters and the art of walking the fine line between dark fantasy and horror magic.

Isn’t it fascinating how perfectly ordinary people react when thrust into extraordinary, terrifying situations? That's the canvas both David and Jay paint on. David enlightens us on his unique process of stepping into his character's shoes, immersing himself in their darkest fears. Jay, on the other hand, shares his intriguing preference for flawed heroes and the importance of relatable antagonists. We further delve into the strategic use of jump scares, supernatural elements, and the secret behind driving tension and fear in horror literature.

Finally, we tackle the elephant in the room - the stigma around the horror genre. Is there a way to make horror more mainstream? Can the unknown elements that drive tension and fear be harnessed for wider appeal? We explore these questions and more, shedding light on the thin line separating dark fantasy from horror magic. So tune in, grab your proverbial torches, and get ready to explore the shadowy corners of horror and supernatural writing with us. Trust me, it's a thrilling ride you won't want to miss.


🔗Connect with David

🌎 Website | 🎥 Youtube | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

🔗Connect with Jay

🌎 Website | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

⭐️ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast,

🔗Connect with David
🌎 Website | 🎥 Youtube | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

⭐️ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. 🙏🙏

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Nightmare Engine Podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay Bauer, where they discuss all things horror books, movies, stories. Nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

Speaker 2:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the Nightmare Engine Podcast. I'm your host, David Virgoots, my co-host, Jay Bauer. It is a wonderful Monday night, Jay. How are we doing this week, man? Let's get an update. Let's start with you and jump right into it.

Speaker 3:

Right on, man. Yeah, so it is a wonderful Monday. It's getting warm. It doesn't feel like it should be, but whatever, I've just been writing, man. I've been writing pretty much every day working on book two of my Vampire Zombies series.

Speaker 2:

Vampire Zombies.

Speaker 3:

Book one is yeah, book one is in the revision process, so I'm kind of doing two at the same time. I want to get all three of them done before they see the light of day vampire. But yeah, just crushing on that and planning another series for the later on this year. How about you, man? Where are you at? What's going on?

Speaker 2:

I am finishing up book number three of my Dark Fantasy series and I'm trying to make it as dark as possible, trying to tie up all the loose ends and that's always fun in the series is trying to. You have to go back to your books one and two and figure out where your minor lines, minor plot lines, your bigger plot lines and then and make sure you close them up, make sure that you explain what needs to be explained and make sure you give your readers the taste of the cool stuff that they know is coming. But this is going to be an interesting episode because I do want to talk about craft. I think craft is something that even readers would love to enjoy listening about, so understanding where we get our ideas, where our mind goes to create the things that we do. And the cool part is, too, is that we're going to be we're horror authors man. So people think that we're all kinds of wild and crazy, hiding in the dark like a vampire and then just typing out our woes on paper. But you and I both know it's not the case.

Speaker 2:

We talked about that last episode. Horror authors are some of the nicest, coolest guys and gals, and I think that's something to say. It's probably because all their woes and terrors are out on paper, so we're not thinking about it. But let's talk about your process. Man. You're on book two of a series. You got another series planned. How do you start? Do you start with an idea? Do you start with the end? Give us a little insight into your process, because I think that's really cool.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So for me it never starts with the end. I have a little bit of discovery writer in me, so I kind of have an idea and I sit on the idea for quite a while before I ever write anything. I just kind of have this little spark of something and then I just kind of let it rehash in my brain a little bit, just kind of think about it and kind of explore some of the possibilities before I ever write a single word Because I just want to. For me, I just want to feel if the story's got legs to it, if it's going to be interesting, if it's something I feel I can tackle adequately For this particular series I'm writing now.

Speaker 3:

That actually did not come from just a spark that I had one day. It was from a writing workshop I did last summer. I think we may have mentioned it, but one of the themes for the week was genre and we are tropes, I'm sorry and we were given the option to write a story about a werewolf, a vampire or a zombie and I had a week to come up with a short story and I was like I don't know what the hell I'm going to do with this. Zombie stories have been done to death, and vampire stories have been done to death, and the same with werewolves. But that was the whole point of the exercise Take something that is old, that people know, and try to come up with something new. And so I did come up with the concept of a vampire and zombie apocalypse, which originally my idea before that was a demon in a zombie apocalypse, a demon that would eat human souls, and so it's kind of the same concept. If they're all zombies, there's no souls and how's the demon going to live.

Speaker 3:

And demon wasn't my choice, or wasn't one of the choices for the workshop, so I just switched it to a vampire and it worked really, really, really well, and so I've been thinking about doing a series based on that ever since, and so that was the summer of 2020. And here we are, you know, a year and a half later, and I'm just now getting to it. You know I'm just now writing it, but it's flowing really well. I've done some outlining with it, which my outlining methods always change from book to book. I had to do something different, trying to do something better, and so I've outlined just a paragraph for each book in the series, so I have an idea of how they're gonna go. And then I've done just a light outlining for books one and most of book two, and I haven't started outlining book three, but I kind of know the overall arc of what I want the series to be and what I want that book to be.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think that's great, because those folks who are using some sort of outline, any kind of outline, it makes sure that you're not staring at a blank page. You know wondering okay, I gotta create a story from nothing. So, to the people who can do that, who can look at a blank page, good on ya, because I couldn't do it.

Speaker 2:

Even my process, my process, there's a psychological element to me for me in having a blank page, and so when I sit down to write a book I've already got a sentence, or two at least, and what I'll do is I'll copy and paste that sentence from my outline so I never have a blank page, and that's a psychological factor. It's just one sentence, but it's a direction, it is something. It gives me a cues. You know, it's like a writing prompt almost, but it's from my own head and I know that if I do that per chapter then I've almost got a writing prompt per chapter and I think that helps with creativity, that helps in keeping the I guess you could say the creative juices flowing. You know what I'm saying. So you never paused, you never stopped out, just kind of waiting around saying, man, I don't know what to write.

Speaker 2:

I got writer's block and that's probably another topic for another day, but I really like that idea of having a loose outline, because are you pretty flexible with your outline then? So if it's not going the way your paper says, are you gonna make it fit the paper or are you gonna adjust the story?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah. So I've got. Yeah. So let me go back just a little bit to the whole blank page or that idea that you mentioned.

Speaker 3:

I have written entire books completely with no outline at all. I just had like a thought in my mind and I was like that's what I'm gonna do and I just went ahead and wrote it and they've done well, and I've actually written a couple of that way. But I have found as I go along in the process, the more books I write, that if I can get an outline of some sort, it usually tightens up the story and it will make me write faster, because as I sit down to write for the day, I don't have to really think about what's this next chapter gonna be, what's gonna happen. You know, I kind of already planned it and so I just need to try to follow that plan, and so I found I do more and more outlining, but it's not hardcore outlining, it is very loose. So, bringing that to your question, because this has been happening to me with this book too of my Vampire Zombies series, so I've got an outline.

Speaker 3:

You know, I started off with a 20, 24 chapter outline and I put where the main beats are gonna be or where the big turning points in the story are. I kind of plotted those out and then the in-between scenes and, as I'm getting through the book, I got to this chapter and it just it went longer than I expected but it was necessary. It wasn't just like fluff words, like it really added more to the story. So half of what I was wanting to do in that chapter got moved to the next chapter and that took up that whole chapter, and then I moved to the next part of the outline and it started. It happened several times, so much so that, like I probably added about three or four chapters that weren't originally planned, because the story just started taking on a little bit of its own.

Speaker 3:

Not that I didn't know where I was going with it, it's just some events happened, some different things happened that turned out to be really, really good for the story and they needed to stay in it, and so I'm still following the outline, but I'm kind of like wedging in chapters, you know if that makes sense, but it's not needless wedging and it's like logical steps for the story, and so I think it's gonna make it better, but it also kind of has changed the outline just because I'm adding some things that weren't originally part of it and that's and I'm good with it. For me, my process that works because that gets both things. It gets that discovery writer side of me. It gets, it ticks those boxes. And then for me, as I'm trying to outline more, to try to make better stories, it hits that too that I'm like hey, I'm still following this plan I've got. So I use it as a guardrail more than as a rigid step-by-step on how to write my book.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and having that flexibility, that's part of the creativity process. I mean, I know of a few writers who are very strict about following their outline. I know a few writers who like Stephen Higgs. Stephen Higgs, we just met him on stage at 20 books this year and he says every single book comes from nothing and he dictates a lot.

Speaker 2:

I know he dictates, so he's a multitasker, he's got, he's got kids and that you know he's able to get you know any moment he has, because he just disliked his job so much that any moment he had he was putting words on a page by one method or another. And that's really tough to do when you're out, when you've got an outline, you're very strict outline. So he uses a discovery process and I think that type of creativity is great. It's definitely not me and it's not. It doesn't sound like it's you.

Speaker 2:

I think a lot of people kind of fall somewhere in the middle. You know my outlines start with I use a three act structure and if anybody knows what the three act structure is, it's the way stories have been told forever Beginning, middle and end. I know it sounds, I know it sounds mundane, but that's how you have to have a story. You have to have you know the beginning, the middle and end, and then I'll apply the beats to it. So I've got a beat sheet based on the length of the story. So I write chapters that are roughly 1500 words a piece and that's how I'm able to predict how long a book is gonna be or how long I want it to be or how long I think it needs to be.

Speaker 2:

My latest book, wendigo, was told from so many different perspectives, there was no way it was gonna be 50,000 words. It ended up being 70,000 and perfect and well perfect for what it was supposed to be. I think I love the story. It's one of my favorites. It's one that scared me as a kid. But so here's an interesting question. You don't have to go too much in depth in this one, but I think it's a really interesting idea. When you were writing the story and you were visualizing it where are you?

Speaker 2:

Are you bird's eye view? Are you behind a character?

Speaker 3:

Wow, that's a great question. Behind a character? That's a really interesting question. I've never been asked that. Yeah, it's kind of like a third person video game right, like I'm just behind the shoulder of this character and so I'm seeing things as this person see things. I'm experiencing it as they're experiencing it, but not as that person, but just as someone watching that person. That makes you know, but not you know, not not that up high, wider view of it, mine is much more narrow, for sure. How about you? Well, how do you visualize it when you're right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I I find a pretty standard drift between what is given From the author to the reader as kind of a freebie.

Speaker 2:

You know a here's a sentence to elaborate on what everybody knows or what's going on with that character that's not revealed in speech and that's not revealed in Narration. It's just that little extra. You know, it is that third person view over the shoulder, but kind of up high, and then when I'm digging into the character, when I'm having those conversations, I try to be that character. How would that character act and how would I be if I was trying to portray myself as that character based on how I know them to be? So I take it a step further. I am not just, I'm not that character, I am acting like I think that character would act and then reiterating that on the page.

Speaker 2:

So that was just. I don't know. It was an interesting concept that came to me Not not too long ago, but I was like a man. Let me, let me ask him, let me see what his thoughts are. Maybe maybe I'm just a crazy one. That's like, yeah, I step into the shoes of my character like I can, I can see everything happen and I can, and I can and I could play it out in my head well, and that does happen.

Speaker 3:

And you kind of have to I mean you, especially your, your protagonist. You have to be, you really kind of be be in their head, no matter what kind of person this is, you know, whether it's a a brutal serial killer, whether it's an innocent victim, whether it's just Bystander, whatever you know, you've got a, you got to be part of it. Be To experience them so you can bring that on the page, so readers can experience it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, let's talk about, let's talk about characters a little bit more. Not necessarily perspective, but characters, what, what are your favorite type of characters to write and what are your least favorite characters?

Speaker 3:

Um, you know, I, I I do like to Write kind of those flawed heroes I really like I've always been attracted to, to the good versus evil stories, you know, from King Arthur, you know, growing up, you know Star Wars, gi Joe, like when, when my brother and I would would play, I was always the good guys, I was always the light side, you know, and he always had the dark side, you know, and I know the dark side tend to have cooler characters, you know they tend to have some that a lot of people are really, really interested in. But I always identified with, with the good guys, you know. So I think I like writing in those kind of people, but I also like to write those people that have the flaws, because that's more real to me. You know, one of my characters in, uh, in one of my novels, he's.

Speaker 3:

He's called out for uh, they believe he's. He's has something to do with killing people in the past, you know, and but he's he's got all the signs of having something bad about him. You know, like he, that he's probably not the best kind of character, but you know, deep down he's he, he feels like he's the good guy, he feels like he's he's trying to do the right thing and he's trying to find the right answers, trying to find um Solutions to things, and so he's he's trying to do the right thing. But you know, to the outside, to those around him, uh, they don't look at him that way. They look at him as you know. He's the bad guy, or at least Knows the bad guy, or has something to do with the bad guy, you know. So they don't give him that break, and so to me he's kind of more of that flawed hero kind of thing.

Speaker 2:

And so you're talking about the characters that are reflecting on your, your hero. They, they don't, they can't trust him, right? Is that what you mean, right, right, yeah?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah. So yeah, the other characters, uh, they don't trust them, they don't like them. They they think he's the bad guy. You know, um, and for the character, he, he thinks he's doing the right thing, he thinks he's doing good, he's doing something heroic, um, but he's got his flaws and I like those kinds of characters. But at the same time, um, I really do enjoy once in a while getting In the head of of the most evil, vilest person you can imagine, you know, or or evil being, or whatever. I absolutely love getting into that once in a while. Um, I don't say they're long, but it's a nice break from writing a heroic character and just, you know, when you do those as first person stories and you really get into it like that, um, that's a lot of fun. I really really do enjoy that too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think what's really cool about um even getting into when it comes to writing an antagonist, when it comes to writing the bad guy, you don't have to make him likable, you just have to make him relatable.

Speaker 2:

And if you can't make, him relatable, then it's really tough for readers and uh in the audience to understand the motives behind the bad guy, and I think that's always important. You know, we think about, um, uh, you know, jason, let's talk about jason. Jason doesn't have any motives and that's what makes him scary, but that's a one-off premise, that's. You know, that lasted you know, 100 movies.

Speaker 2:

But it's it's really kind of tough to write those types of stories, I think. I think that's more of an adaptation for film because you know you get your your bloody, gory slasher and then you've got the Um the the poor teenager's just trying to survive. I think that's something that okay people, you know, people can uh relate to that, but there's no real drive behind the character, there's nothing to him. He is death, you know, and I think that's really tough to write as uh for a bad guy. So we try to make him relatable to a point. You know a lot of people understood the bad guy's mission in Um star wars. You know, if you think about star wars, everyone kind of understood what the uh the empire was trying to do and why. You know, because the lawlessness in Uh in the universe and I think that's a lot of what you know bad guys are written to do. They have an idea, they just go about it the complete wrong way or they go about it Um To the extreme. You know. Think about Thanos. You know he could have snapped and fixed everything, but he snapped and wanted to kill everything. So I mean it was the difference there. The balance is what's important, um, but I, I am like you.

Speaker 2:

I like to write the character, the down and out character, the guy who's just just he. I think he has to rise above, he has to come to this conclusion that he's gonna have to push himself into an uncomfortable situation. He's going to have to push himself further than he's gone before. He's going to have to seek something. He's did he, you know he didn't want and he knows it's for the greater good. And the cool part about horror is that you don't have to have monsters, you don't have to have ghouls, you don't have to have these crazy things. It's one person. It could be one person versus another.

Speaker 2:

Um, some of my favorite stories are occult stories and so about cultists. You know, I love reading about jones town. I love reading about about, about david careshen weiko. I love reading about those cults. And at that point you're not just fighting, you know you're, you're a good guy. It's not just fighting one person, he's fighting an idea that these people believe in and that's very, very powerful.

Speaker 2:

I think you even wrote a story that has to do with some cultists and then you have an average guy. I believe he is a cop, right, so he's very average guy. You know that's a pretty common Common job to find in these types of scenarios. So he's got a skill set and that could be. That gives your character something kind of cool. But you wrote a story about, about People standing behind an idea and that whole idea being against your main character. So tell me a little bit about that, about that. How did your, what did your main character in that story? First give me the name of the story, shame us plug. Give me the name of story and then and then tell me how did your main character Deal with that problem?

Speaker 3:

yeah, so, um, so it's a.

Speaker 3:

It was the dark sacrifices, my, the first novel I released, and you know the, the guy. He wanted to do what's best for his family. You know, um, and I think a lot of our characters we put ourselves in their place, you know, we, we um put a little bit of what motivates us into them sometimes and you know he's wanting to do his best for his family. So he moves him out of the city, goes to the small town, you know, smaller, slower pace kind of thing, and he gets there and he realizes shit's gone crazy, like they're trying to kill the kids there, and he's got a 10 year old kid that is up for the sacrifice, you know. And so he's like what the hell? No, this is not right. You know he has to fight a lot of fight, a lot of people, a lot of bad situations to try to save his son and get him out of this, this terrible thing, so that his son doesn't get sacrificed yeah, and, and he doesn't have any supernatural means to help him with that, does he?

Speaker 2:

I mean, he's just a normal guy just trying to make it and he's got what a town against him at that point yeah, he's got basically the whole town, because they're the whole town's behind this.

Speaker 3:

They're all. It's a. That's a sacrifice that they've been doing for over a century, you know, a couple centuries, and so they, they believe in it wholeheartedly, so like we don't care if it's your kid or this other guy's kid. You know this is what happens, this is what we do, and he's like hell. No, you know, this is not what you do. You don't kill children, and especially not mine.

Speaker 2:

So he has to overcome that and overcome a lot of obstacles to try to save his son yes, and and here's an interesting idea too is that it seems like it inevitably in a lot of horror there's a mystery to uncover. Isn't that kind of weird to think about? You know, it's not just blatant in your face. There's a monster running around. It's not like Godzilla. You know, there's no mystery behind Godzilla. He was there and then he's.

Speaker 2:

Now he's destroying everything there's, there's not, there's not a whole lot of backstory to go with it to explain things. Because in in, in stories like stories like yours, I've heard where they'll, you know, they need to sacrifice children to, to quell some God that's gonna destroy the whole world if they don't do it. And so now you're like, wait, you know. So morally, do we accept this as okay, we're saving the world, you know? And then you know, by the same time you're like, I don't know, we're sacrificing a kid. So I mean, that's that type of conflict. I mean that that's really important too is to understand that that type of morality is tough to comprehend, and I think that's where the mystery comes in. You say, what would I do in that scenario?

Speaker 2:

So in horror, there's, there's a lot of mystery. There's a lot of mystery between the characters, a lot of mystery between from the, from the lore, you know. So what was the mystery? And and and what's? It's really weird to talk about this, because these are not cozy mysteries. We are trying to give somebody an intense feeling, we're trying to build them an atmosphere to go live in for a little while, you know, and and then hopefully, you know, if you've done your job right, they'll give them something to think about, maybe in their nightmares too. But you know, right, but tell me, tell me the mystery behind it. And and do you agree with me about? Because I this is, this is fully an opinion but I do believe that there's a lot of mysteries to uncover in horror and that's why it's so interesting, and that's why it's so versatile, because there's always progression in horror, because there's a mystery to be solved by somebody right and and I think that's a big part of it because it's the unknown right, and the unknown can be a ton of things.

Speaker 3:

Because it's unknown, you know, and it could be a ghost, it could be a demon, it could be your neighbor, you know. It could be someone you live with, it could be, it could be you, you know it. The unknown really drives the tension in a lot of horror stories, whether short stories or novels, and that increases the fear of it, you know. And and it hits people in different ways. You know, some people it just doesn't work for them and they prefer to have more, just a slasher of bloody, gory stuff and that's, that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that. But then others, you know, they want a little bit of the unknown to it so that, like, it keeps them turning the page, keeps them invested in the story, because they want to keep finding out what's happened next, what's gonna happen next, like, wow, this is good, you know this guy's, he's freaking out, he's trying to save his son. What's gonna happen next? Is this kid gonna be taking? Are they gonna come after him? Are they gonna kill him so they can get to his son?

Speaker 3:

You know, like, what's what happens next and that that unknown really can drive a story and it can add to the, the fear, because it adds to the, the tension and to the nervousness and to the. You know that whole feeling of like holy crap, you know what's gonna happen and readers want to find out what happens. They'll keep reading it, but I do think it it brings another. I think it's a big part of horror and you know, when you say mystery, there's mystery as a genre, right, there's mystery as a trope. You know, and I think the trope part of that with mystery is really prevalent in a lot of horror, most of it, I would say because it's just that unknown and that fear of the unknown can really drive a story yeah, and I mean what I'm starting to encounter is I think there's a lot of re and so let me just back.

Speaker 2:

I'll backtrack. When I first switched over from Epic fantasy, I had a small list built, probably about a thousand people, and they were pretty well vested in my epic fantasy and they were acting like epic fantasy readers. When I made the jump To horror and I said I got a horror book, here you go, what do y'all think? I captured a lot of those readers. I don't think. I hardly lost anybody and and what that tells me is, I'm wondering if there's a stigma. A little bit too Horror, you know it sounds like a confession. People like you know what, are you right, you're like horror and they're like oh okay, you know like so, and then you need to be in any follow-up with. I had a normal childhood and I'm not a serial killer, you know so. So I think there's a stigma. I think a lot of people would actually enjoy more mainstream horror and what I mean by that.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I mean, and this is my definition, so anybody who disagrees with me that's fine, because it's just an opinion here based on what I've seen on the market. We're going to the marketing side of things a little bit here With horror. I think we need to see it's tough to write in series, but I think more mainstream horror starting to lean towards the shorter, the shorter side of books I think you agree with that. I think a little more faster paced. You know that goes with the shorter story and then trying to develop a greater world, trying to develop a, a series. So I think a lot of readers if they knew what they were getting in horror, if they understood that it's not just trying to give you nightmares, if it's, it's more than that. There's the mystery, there's a lot of intense character development.

Speaker 2:

There's the supernatural element of it all and then you throw on top of it, you know, just some pure terror, jump scares, you know If you were on a book and that's what you get from horror. Now there's there's a lot of different flavors of horror and we talked about that last last episode. We talked about, you know, horror light versus the extreme stuff like you're talking about, which is just kind of, you know, shock horror, you know shock value. Gore, porn is what it's called sometimes Legitimate, legitimate writing. So I'm not gonna knock anybody who writes that kind of stuff. I, I won't do it, I can't do it. That's something special, you know, and and I think that that's a very loyal genre I and I couldn't do it, I couldn't make it extreme enough, I don't. I don't think I could.

Speaker 2:

But I think if readers understood what they were getting from the term horror, I think they would be more apt to pick up some horror books and I think the, the reader base would grow, and so the. The benefit here with the digital age is that you can start and very, very quickly, very affordably from an author perspective, change the flavor of your book simply with a cover and a blurb, and so the the front cover, in the back and the back cover, to give the audience an idea, the readers an idea of what's coming. And so you know, if you need to make it darker, to give a darker impression, to attract the darker readers, I think that's something you can do. So I don't know.

Speaker 2:

I I'm kind of rambling about the topic, but I really believe that, based on my experience with my readers, if they knew what they were getting like other people like that, my readers knew exactly what they were getting from me. They'd read my stuff before. They kind of knew the direction I was going with the stories. They'd beta-read it. All you know there were beta readers who saw a lot of that work. If they knew what they were getting, I think they'd be more willing to pick up some horror books and give them a try.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and you know, I know you say mainstream horror. I don't know if that's gonna scare people off or not. It's just that is a very touchy Subject for a lot of people because they don't want to jump off and say I'm a horror author. Some, yeah, some do. Some will absolutely own it, and they should, you know. But then Others they don't. They don't say it so much and they're a little nervous because the reaction you get from others isn't, you know, oh, this is very receptive because you mentioned earlier it's just like you know something must be wrong with you. You know you must be, must.

Speaker 3:

I had just a terrible childhood or you know it's some kind of trauma or this or that. And you know we're just normal people, man, it's just you like things that are a little darker, a little, a little more intense sometimes. You know, and that's kind of where I come from. You know I'm pretty normal, you know I I Probably about average for an American male as far as it is really everything you know, like I don't there's, there's nothing deep and dark in my background. You know I don't have some big, horrible trauma. You know it's like pretty, pretty normal, you know, and you meet me out in the street. I'm gonna be super helpful to you, I'm gonna be nice, I'm gonna be respectful and polite, and you know just how I would like to be treated from others.

Speaker 3:

And it's just, it's weird, and I'll write. You know horror all day long, every day, all day. You know I love it, I love reading it, I love watching it, I love Writing it. It's just what feels natural to me and where I think my strengths lie. You know and we talked about it before, about how you know we're looking for other horror authors at this, this conference, and very few would raise their hand. Like I read horror. You know I would. I would imagine if we were like, well, where are the erotica authors at? We would have had a ton of hands right up.

Speaker 3:

You know it's like, okay, that's cool, but when, where's the? Where's the scary guys that were the scary man? Like where they where they hide and I Don't know it's. It's really hard to put put your finger on. But the horror community is strong. There's some amazing talent out there and so super friendly and and wonderful authors that I've come to, you know, become friends with over the years and Just it's interesting.

Speaker 2:

It's the best way I can play it. Yeah, let me do it. Let me do a little bit of a plug here for our show, if any, if anybody's a horror author, or even if you've just written a short story, let's say, if you've published a short story somewhere and you want to be on our show and you want to talk to us and have a conversation with us, please send me an email. David, at David, very goods, calm. That's easiest way to get ahold of me. You know, just go to my website, send me a message, because we want to get to know you, we want to know your side of the conversation. We want to bring you into the show and and get your name out there and then just just have a conversation, just like we're doing here. Nothing, we're doing it scripted. We'll sit here for about five minutes prior and say, hey, is all your stuff working? And and if it's all you know, five by five, we're recording. So whatever's coming for discovery writing. Yeah, we are discovery. Yes, we are. There's no outline here, so we're breaking our own rules. But so you, you mentioned okay, so let me. Let me go on After the plug there.

Speaker 2:

Anybody wants to talk to us? Send me a message. We'll get you on, we'll get you scheduled and and we'll just have a conversation, because this is fun and I really enjoy it. So you mentioned you love horror writing, you love Books, you love reading it. I'm put you on the spot. You got 30 seconds. Tell me why. Why horror?

Speaker 3:

Because it's, it's this crazy, unbelievable things that are happening, you know, and it's just this tension and it keeps you, it's gripping, and it keeps you Engaged in it and it's just literal life or death consequences on most of it. Not all of it, but it's, you know, the spooky, dark, creepy, paranormal, supernatural, like all of that stuff, man, it's really just has been attractive to me ever since I was a kid.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so.

Speaker 3:

I throw it back at you, man.

Speaker 2:

So my reason for loving, loving the horror genre is I I call it my final destination Feeling. And that's when you're sitting in traffic and you're thinking to yourself what if that rebar just came flying through the window? You know you, you know what if death really did have it out?

Speaker 2:

for me or whatever you know. You're talking about the, the situation where the mundane quickly becomes a nightmare, just by something supernatural or something otherworldly, something out of the person's control, and I think that's what horror really is. It's people, normal people and just thrust into terrible situations and having to deal with it from a normal way. Now what's really cool is, if you get an opportunity, I would tell anybody, look up the differences between dark fantasy and horror magic.

Speaker 2:

Exactly with magic. So in in regular horror writing and just just, you know horror, you have to have a normal person and they have to. You know, generally you start crossing some boundaries. You look at, like Stephen King's, the shining, where they can kind of talk to each other through telepathy. You think about Carrie, who I'll argue with anybody that she is not the, the, the protagonist, she is the, she's the antagonist, she's got superpowers. You think about fire starter by Stephen King as well. Also, you know, you know the main character, the main focus is the bad guy, but you feel for that person because you know they're dealing with something supernatural. So I guess it's still kind of meets those boundaries, but that's what it is. For me it's, it's definitely meeting, meeting the supernatural, meeting the, the bad situation head-on as a normal person, and I think that's something that that we're all looking to do, we're all looking to relate to. That's that final destination, feeling you know we got death after us, how do we, how do we solve it, how do we get around it?

Speaker 3:

and then you Right, and you know, with horror you can do that and you can explore concepts and themes and situations that you're never gonna find it in something else.

Speaker 3:

You know you may, you know you may read, you know, let's say romance or something, and somebody dies, like you know, because that's that's part of life, right, but when you're reading in a sense of horror, you know, when you're reading a horror novel, that's intended to be horror, it just has a different feel to it, a different vibe, because it it means more, because it's part of those high stakes that are being set for your characters and, as a reader, you get to explore these crazy scenarios, these crazy situations that may never happen. You know, if, like you know, like ghost land from Duncan Ralston or the haunted ghost tour by Jeff Strand, both of those you know, you have, like these, these crazy ghosts that are really just wanting to kill you and murder you and do whatever these things, you know it's likely not going to happen, right, but it's still scary because it has just a touch of a Realness to it and touch of reality and she's like maybe this could happen. You know, and I think that's that's an interesting part of horror that I absolutely love.

Speaker 2:

That's excellent, yeah, and I definitely agree with you. So what's? Last statement of the night? What's on your what's? What are you reading right now, man? What's the title? Who's the author?

Speaker 3:

Wow, okay, so I'm reading pariah by Grandmasters and master and and it's. I'm not too far into it about 25% into it because I'm actually reading Two books. I usually have two books going out at the same time, but so that. And then Reading in the lit RPG genre, eric Euglund, who we met. I'm on book three of his good guys series because I swear to you I am going to make a horror lit RPG and it's going to work. I'm making it happen. So so yeah, and my reading always kind of reflects a lot of a lot of my interest, but, yeah, pariah from Grandmasters and then Book three of the good guys series from Eric. You've done so. How about yourself? Where you at what do?

Speaker 2:

you. Let me comment on that real quick. So pariah is actually the inspiration, his cover and the book itself number one. I am targeting that book with my book series, the demonic appendium and then my cover is based is loosely based on Pariahs, because I thought that was awesome. So on my current up to up to read list is we're coming up on Felix blackwells the stolen tongues. So I do believe that that book is being looked at for video and it's pretty, pretty active in the Facebook groups and I see a lot of reviews of it online. I'm gonna buy the ebook version. Most people buy the paperbacks and we'll go from there, so that's gonna be the next one on the list. So I think that's. That's all we got time for today, everybody. So thank you for tuning in, jay real quick. We're working. Everybody find you man, so they want to take a look at your books.

Speaker 3:

Yeah hit me up on my website. It's jbowr author comm. It's got links to my social media on there, links to all my books. Drop by and say hi, awesome.

Speaker 2:

And then I'll make sure that links are in the podcast as well, so people can click on it pretty easily. My name is Dave or goods. I'm one of your hosts here at the nightmare engine podcast. Thank you, nick, everybody, have a good night.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the nightmare engine podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay Bauer, where nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

Horror Authors Discuss Writing and Outlining
Writing Flawed Heroes and Relatable Villains
The Mystery and Stigma of Horror
Exploring Horror and Supernatural Themes