As a horror writer, where do you draw the line?
It's something I've been thinking about since AussieCon 4. I was on a panel with, among others, Paul Haines. I said that I'm interested in horror as escapism (eg zombies, giant cockroaches), and Paul said he's the exact opposite.
My story in 'Feast or Famine' in Macabre is kinda real-world. But editor Angela Challis pushed me on it. I regard it as the most disturbing story I've written, but it's not the most disturbing idea I've had.
I had this vision a few years back. I don't want to reveal it, for reasons that will soon become evident. The image was really strong, but I thought: "I can't write that". I filed it away.
After AussieCon 4 I read a few stories. 'A Positive' by Kaaron Warren (Macabre) and 'I've Seen the Man' by Paul Haines (Scenes From the Second Storey) are the two that jump out. They made me want to push myself, see how far I could go.
Then I was reminded of the call for stories for Ticonderoga's Red Dead Heart anthology. And the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
I got about four-fifths of the way through the story. Then I thought: "I can't write this". I took a break. I had some encouragement. Then I sat down and finished the story. I thought: "I don't have to send this anywhere". I can delete it if I want to!
I haven't re-read the story. It could be a pile of crap. I wrote it pretty quickly, so it probably is!
But I wanted to ask the horror writers out there -- where do you draw the line? Is there a line for you?
For horror readers -- have you ever thought, 'No, s/he's gone too far?'
(PS I'm not saying there's anything wrong with 'fun' stories, more that I'd Iike to extend my range)