Pub Rants

A Reflection On Horror

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STATUS: Stuck in Glenwood Springs because of a 40-car pile-up on I70 that closed Vail pass. Reminder to self. No driving to conferences in the early Spring…

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Denver Nuggets game on the telly.

The biggest question I received this weekend, and rightly so, is why was I attending World Horror when on my website I clearly state that the Nelson Agency doesn’t handle Horror.

Good question. It was my same question I asked when the conference organizers called to invite me.

Why don’t I rep horror? I’ve certainly read enough in my lifetime so what’s the scoop? It basically came down to the philosophy that I have enough things keeping me awake at night, reading a good horror submission would just scare the bejesus out of me and I need a decent night’s sleep.

But I’m very glad I attended. The definition of “horror” can be pretty broad and lots of things that could be categorized as such would not necessarily alienate me. Maybe I need to rethink our policy as I certainly don’t mind SF&F with horror elements. In other words, dark SF &F. We’ll see.

It also was rather refreshing to chat with some male writers. Whenever I attend conferences, and this certainly isn’t a bad thing, the majority of my pitch sessions are from women writers (obviously this would be true at romance venues) but I’m certainly not opposed to adding some testosterone to my list. So World Horror was a nice change as the pitches were so different than anything else I’ve read or listened to lately. Right now it’s too early to know if any will be a match but I think I’ll enjoy the process.

16 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    what is sf & f? just curious. i’d love to invent an acronym here . . . but it might be crude and unusual.

  2. Anonymous said:

    nevermind . . . i just got it. sci-fi and fantasy. ok, i will go back to inventing x-rated acronyms.

  3. Southern Writer said:

    Let’s see … you stayed at the Hotel Denver. Or no. The Hotel Colorado. You had a drink at Doc Holidays, and probably lunch at The Springs. Or maybe the restaurant in the Hotel Denver (where once upon a time, I had my wedding reception). I would love to think you got to spend a little time at the Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves. Never in my life have I left anywhere feeling so good! I wish that for you.

    It’s funny that horror is in the same blog post as Glenwood Springs. I lived about a block from the train station, on Bennett Street, and had an eerie experience there that I’ll never forget. Glenwood is a great town, and one of my favorite places in the world to be stuck.

  4. Loren Rhoads said:

    We were sure glad you made it to the convention! I’m sorry to hear that the travel part of your visit was so grueling. Still, it was a pleasure to meet you, in the midst of what I’m sure was a very long day for you.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Hi Kristin,
    If you wanna branch out, how about taking on literary fiction? Too much chick lit and romance makes Jill a dull girl. I read somewhere a college professor did a study and found that most adult fiction published in the US is actually only at the level of a seventh grader. That means a twelve year old could write most of today’s fiction. That’s kind of funny, if you think about it honestly. But I realize agents have t take on what they believe will sell, so it isn’t really about the writing, just about making money.

  6. Melissa said:

    Actually, no, it means that a 12 year old could *read* it, not write it. It takes a great deal of skill to write well at any grade level. Just because something is written at a lower grade level doesn’t make it inferior writing, just accessible to more people.

    Sorry your drive was so horrendous, Kristin. I enjoy reading about your experiences at the conference though!

  7. Brenda said:

    Why not go to a horror convention. What better way to come at your own world than to get outside of it for awhile? As a writer of fantasy I need to do that all the time. Sounds like it was a valuable experience for you and you got a new perspective.

  8. Anonymous said:

    Are all writers of literary fiction so bitter? Authors of literary fiction are so superior to everyone else, right? If its all about the writing and not about the money, why do you care about getting published? Of course it was some unknown college professor that did this unreferenced study. Was he also a bitter writer of “literary fiction”?

  9. Anonymous said:

    Ok….I wanna hear about the eerie experience! (If you decide to rep horror, Kristin, find some good ghost stories!)

  10. Anonymous said:

    Long time (well, 7+ months, since Kristin requested a partial of my YA novel, and politely passed) reader, and 1st time posting. Just wanted to say we’re not all so bitter. I’m a writer of (what I hope is) literary fiction, and I believe there’s room to be literary at any reading level.

    On Friday, I’m meeting a NY agent to discuss my novel, and hopefully secure representation, so I was doing some brushing up on what exactly constitutes literary fiction. Along with some other criteria, Magdalena Ball, on says that literary fiction requires “just going over and over a work until every word is relevant and integral to the story.” While I certainly agree with that assessment, I always thought that ANY good writing meant doing that. Maybe I’m an optimist, or just a bit naive.

    It’s funny though, because I was having this very discussion (about literate writing) with my college comp class this morning – so, yes, I’m admitting to being another “unknown college professor” and “writer of literary fiction,” though so far I manage to remain fairly free of bitterness.

    Thanks to KN for offering lots of interesting insider info on the business, and to all the posters who bring such unique perspectives. It makes for inspiring reading. If you wouldn’t mind sending some good karma, energy or prayer my way, as I head for what could be a very important lunch date on Friday, this fellow struggling writer would certainly appreciate it!

    Steve in CT

  11. CM said:

    An exercise in readability, using the Flesch-Kincaid grade level score coupled with various free texts available online.

    Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”: 4.98

    First chapter of “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Dumas: 6.28

    First two chapters of Dickens’ Bleak House: 9.9.

    29 USC § 1107, Limitation with respect to acquisition and holding of employer securities and employer real property by certain plans: 22.84

  12. chris J said:

    I hate Vail pass at night. Why don’t they paint those white lines so they reflect the light, like every other state does?

  13. Southern Writer said:

    Anon @ 12:23, did you mean my eerie experience? I would be happy to tell you, but it’s too long to tell here, and I don’t think Kristin would be thrilled with me if I left a link to another site (although, honestly, I did wish she could read the very short piece just because she would be able to visualize where it took place). However, re-reading it all this time later, I like to think my writing skills have improved. :-p But if I missed that someone else had an eerie experience, well, I’m red in the face, and I’d like to hear about it, too!

    My vote for Kristin’s new branch is women’s fiction / single title romance.

  14. Parker Haynes said:


    The comments about literary fiction seem to suggest a posting/discussion. It appears most attempts to even define it are nebulous at best. Some love it, even stand in awe of it, while other look down on it with contempt. Is this a topic you’d be willing to share your thoughts and experience on?

    Thanks for your interesting and informative blog!