How did you decide to write Horror? Have you always pursued this, or did it crystallise as your writing developed?
I write horror fiction for several reasons. First off, it’s a safe scare, and safe scares are the best. That’s why we go on rollercoasters and visit haunted houses where some dude in rubber mask jumps out and yells BOO! We know we’ll get scared, but it’s safe and we can laugh about afterward. Real life horrors, on the other hand, aren’t quite the same.
Real life horrors can be downright depressing, and I don’t want to be depressed when I finish a book. But I do want to feel something. Horror fiction lets us look at the terrible moments that could happen and consider them from a safe distance. What would you do? Would you react the same way the character did? Are you truly prepared for the zombie apocalypse?
And horror doesn’t always have to be terrible and gruesome. That’s the best part: horror encompasses all the genres. It can be dramatic, romantic, funny, steamy, suspenseful, etc. So I’ve always written what I’d like to read. I look at those things that I wouldn’t want to look at in real life, or take one of those bad experiences I’ve had and revisit it in a way where it can be overcome. Just because its horror doesn’t mean there can’t be a happy ending. I guess, in the end, it’s almost like therapy.
Do you plot your stories in advance, or do you write and let the story surprise you?
I tend to plot the bones of the story and flesh out the details as I write. And that’s usually where the twists and turns come from. Once I’m into a character’s mind-set I might realize the person I’m writing wouldn’t do what’s been plotted and suddenly things go down a whole new road. Or everything screeches to a halt and I use the excuse to go get up and refresh my coffee.
What do you do to stimulate your creativity?
I’ve found two little things that really help me get completely absorbed in a story—one is using anagrams for the characters’ names (my story Feeding Frenzy was for an anthology about fast food restaurants, so the characters’ names are derived from restaurant names) and making soundtracks that fit the scenes. Listening to the soundtracks while exercising pretty much guarantees creativity.
What are the most frustrating aspects of being a writer?
One star Amazon reviews given because “it’s not something I’d normally read.” For real!?!
What advice would you give to writers whose stories get continually rejected?
If you’re being rejected by multiple editors for multiple reasons, that’s probably due to personal opinion. Just keep submitting until the story finds a home. BUT, if you’re being rejected by multiple editors for the same reason, then it’s time to look at what the trouble spots are and consider some revisions.
About Matt Hults:
Matt Hults writes screenplays and scary fiction. His stories have appeared in several anthologies including Best New Zombie Tales, Best New Vampire Tales, The Beast Within and Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AMRGK3C .
Twelve of his short stories are collected in The Darkest Hour.