The Coffin Hop Day Six

I apologize to the handful of folks who have been following Type AJ Negative during The Coffin Hop. Today was a busy, busy day and I haven’t had the time to get a post together. So, now I sit and I write and I try to make this up to you all.

I thought about posting the three part series that I posted last Halloween, based on the true story of a friend’s death seventeen years ago. Then I thought, ‘Hey, A.J., some people have already read this story, so they may not want to read it again.’ So, I needed something else.

And that something else is:


Why not? It’s The Coffin Hop and we are celebrating the horror genre with our posts. But wait, this is not just about horror, but something else, something I have discussed here on this blog before.

What constitutes horror?

Let me state for the record: my writing is called horror, but not necessarily because there are monsters and demons in everything I write. In all honesty, there are not a ton of them. Sure, there are my zombies in my series Dredging Up Memories (which I shamelessly plug and encourage you to read by following the link). There may be a ghost or two or a demon here or there in my stories, but for the most part, the stories are less supernatural and more, well, natural.

For me, horror is less about the scare and more about the situation. Think about it for a moment or ten: What makes you cringe more? A story about demons and ghosts and zombies and sparkly vampires or a story about a person trapped in a car after an accident and in need of escaping as gas leaks perilously closer to the flame at the front of the vehicle? Okay, maybe that’s not fair. We all know sparkly vampires make us cringe. Answer me this then: which is more horrific? Zombies? Nah. Demons? Nah. Ghosts? Nope. Sparkly vampires? Nuh-uh. A man trapped in a car that is about to go up in flames? Yup.

The events surrounding a car accident can be as simple as a flat tire while driving down the road, the accelerator getting stuck, someone whipping in front of you, a deer running across the street (because clearly that deer didn’t know where the freaking deer crossing signs were). But it’s what happens when those simple things occur. Does the car flip? Does it go so fast that it crashes into the pillar of a bridge? Does the other car slam on its brakes and the vehicle slams into the back of it? Does the deer’s head go through the windshield and the driver gets killed by an antler to the eye?

When I write I don’t do so with a plot in mind. I do so with a ‘hmmm… this is interesting. I wonder what would happen if…

a little girl fell in love with some horses in an open field?
a little girl’s skin was marred by freakish little stars?
a boy saw a ghost outside his window?
a woman berated her husband about his tool shed?
two kids were angered by a trashy addict looking for their caregiver?
a tornado tore through a town not known for having tornadoes?
a girl watched her sister die?
the world ran out of space for its criminals?
a boy was scared by a crazy man on the hill?
a boy seeks for the murderer of the girl he loves?
a man loses his son and begins to hear things?

All of these are the basis of stories in my collection, Southern Bones.

But, really, what constitutes horror?

Back in January of this year, a man committed suicide, but they didn’t find his body for several weeks. After he was found, there was speculation on how he died, if he killed himself or was murdered or if there was a police cover up. There was a story in those events—those horrific events. What about the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State child sexual abuse case? I’ve read the transcipt of the indictment—it will turn your stomach? Maybe the various shooting rampages that have taken place with more frequency over the years? Aren’t the events horrific enough to be considered horror?

Like before, I am very interested in what you all think. Leave a comment and… I tell you what I’m going to do. I have an extra copy of The Best of Necrotic Tissue—the last issue of my favorite horror publication—and I’ll give it away to one random commenter on this blog. Make sure and leave an e-mail address so I can get in touch with you. If you don’t want to leave your e-mail address, you can always find me on Facebook ( and you can leave me the address there in a message. Photobucket

Thanks for dropping by on this sixth day of The Coffin Hop. It’s nearing an end and I hope you have enjoyed it thus far. Please, drop by the other blogs and check out some of the giveaways and stories by going here. You won’t be sorry.

I’m out for now.

Until we meet again, my friends…