Like love and sex, fear is instinctual. The fight or flight response to things which may cause us harm is centered in our amygdala, a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions. The root of our nightmares. This is the domain of the horror writer. But there is more to horror stories in what they teach us. It is a training ground of sorts, defining how we may react, but also what we should react to. Our rational minds know the dark characters of horror tales will not harm us. These stories teach us to act rationally and not allow our fears to run rampant and out of control. Beyond the macabre, these are moralistic stories about life, love and eternity. When you write horror, you are writing about so much more.
Dan Klefstad is a longtime radio host and newscaster at NPR station WNIJ in Dekalb. His latest novel is Fiona’s Guardians, available at Amazon and quality independent bookstores.