Morbidity is not a Plot

I don’t dislike horror, but I don’t like it as much as science fiction and fantasy. That means I have a much lower tolerance for horror that doesn’t appeal to me. And one thing I have come across enough in my small amount of horror reading are stories that are treated as if they are horror when they are just morbid. Morbid is not enough. It is not an emotion, it’s not a story. It’s tone, but often it isn’t even really that.

What I mean by morbid are stories in which the entire plot is that someone died and people are sad about it, or worse, someone has a job that is kind of creepy to other people. Making your main character a mortician and explaining what their job is doesn’t make something horror and if just want to know their job I’m sure there are documentaries, I can trust more than a story that is implicitly fiction.

Perhaps the biggest problem in many of these stories is because they have a creepy setting and likely a creepy character they can fool you into thinking something will happen. That sad father will snap at some point or the odd mortician will be something more than he seems. But people seem to be under the impression that because death makes many people vaguely uncomfortable that is all that they need to do.

As someone who isn’t a writer of horror and not an expert in the genre, I can’t prescribe a simple fix beyond my basic complaint. I don’t need to spend an hour of my life feeling sad for no reason. I may start out feeling bad for a mother who lost her child, but after a few thousand words of nothing happening except her being sad and not even really explaining how the child died I just stop caring and if keeps going, I can actively get annoyed until the “story” just stops even though nothing had happened.

It’s not just morbidity there are other similar stories, but in my experience this seems the most common. Perhaps it is just a way for the author to deal with the death of someone they care for and while I can see the therapeutic value of someone writing the emotions of their child or parent dying in a story, I see no value in making other people read it. Other people may find value in this, but if you want my opinion, please, add a story and plot.