Sunday, March 22, 2015

How I turned Romance into Vampire Slasher

No, it's not about romance--it's how I went against it.

I majored in Journalism in college, and took Creative Writing classes. One of my professors once described my writing as “silly and simplistic”. And as a female writer, I was often encouraged by peers that if I was ever to become an author, there were only two genres I “should” write for: either “Romance” or “Children’s Books”, or even "soap operas". That irked me. That, along with the implication that my ideas were not good enough to be published and that I had to "conform" to certain mainstream ideas and images.

Well I did try writing romance. That was in fact one of my first writing projects, romance as in the hero rescues the heroine in the end. However, I found that ditching the hero and killing off the heroine in a gory, slasher way was actually a lot more, um, fun. I realized I wanted more shock value, more horror, more WTF, more pushing the envelope. I wanted no happy endings, no happily ever after, just a lot of….screaming, where the serial killer is the anti-hero.

I wanted to read more Stephen King novels rather than romance books. I did have nightmares, but I found the world of horror way more appealing. Those nightmares had a profound effect on me.  If it was scary, it was inspiring. So I rebelled against the image of a woman writer as having to be a romance or children’s book author (nothing wrong with that—it’s just not my preference) and started writing about vampires. And I wrote vampire stories that were not romantic—they just had “romantic drama” as part of the background story but not as the main theme, but which was way darker and bloodier and disturbing.

So in a way, I’d like to thank the people who pissed me off, who tried to dictate what I should write, and thankfully I rebelled, and never listened to them. \m/

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