Suzanne Church juggles her time between throwing her characters to the lions and chillin’ like a villain with her two sons. She writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror because she enjoys them all and hates to play favorites. Her award-winning fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Cicada and On Spec, and in several anthologies including Urban Green Man and When the Hero Comes Home 2. Her collection of short fiction ELEMENTS, is published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy.

10 Ways to Keep Your SF&F-Loving Boyfriend Happy While Enjoying Your Horror Fix

by Suzanne Church

My biography states, “I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror because I love them all and hate to play favorites”. Notice how horror comes last.

I love the macabre. Which is why I both read and write horror fiction, and buy horror DVDs. Conversely, my boyfriend is uncomfortable with scary-and-icky images.

As my partner, he’s always shown an unrelenting determination to support my writing career. He enjoys my SF worlds. He becomes engrossed in my fantastical tales. But he’d rather not read my horror fiction.

Are you suffering from a similar relationship roadblock?

Does your partner hide in the kitchen, claiming they’re “making a sandwich” while you’re cheering on another zombie kill on The Walking Dead?

Then you need my: 10 Ways to Keep Your SF&F-Loving Boyfriend Happy While Enjoying Your Horror Fix!

1. Buy Plenty of Sandwich Fixings

If you’ve got fresh bread, lunch meat, lettuce, cheese, and condiments in the kitchen, then your partner will be happy to spend the “icky” parts of the zombie kill-segments on The Walking Dead building the perfect sandwich.

If he returns during the next massacre, ask him nicely to refill your drink. That should keep him out of the room for a few more minutes.

2. Embrace the Crossover

Let’s face the truth: George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series of books are dark. And there’s a reason that the HBO series is NOT rated G. It’s on HBO for crying out loud!

I can pretty much guarantee that your fantasy-loving boyfriend will be more than happy to spend some quality time exploring George R.R. Martin’s books or watching the show.

He’ll probably thank you for sharing.

3. Warn Your Partner

Give him a heads-up before you read your horror draft out loud.

My partner and I share a long commute downtown. After a day of writing, I’ll read my rough draft during the drive home so that he can share in my writing process.

With my guy trapped in the driver’s seat, I warn him before I read horror prose out loud. “Seriously, this one’s really dark,” I’ll say. “Are you sure you’re ready?”

Be prepared for his inevitable “What the hell is wrong with you?” response.

4. Use a Little Geek to Offset the Squidgy

If you spend all day Saturday watching the miniseries of Stephen King’s The Shining then be prepared to spend Sunday watching an entire season of Babylon 5.

This technique works best if you both have some work due Monday, so that you can spend the occasional “slow part” paying attention to your computer rather than the television screen, while insisting, “I’m listening. Don’t pause it for me.”

5. Read a Book Aloud Together

Recently, my partner and I read Joe Hill’s novel Horns together.

Horns starts out exciting and has plenty of dark humor to offset the scary parts. It’s a great book to share with your SF&F-loving partner.

Feel free to sneak-read ahead. If you know your partner will have an issue with a particular scene, then insist that it’s your turn to read aloud and then you can “edit” on the fly.

6. Embrace the Cute-and-Fluffy

I collect Teddy Scares teddy bears.

“They’re agorable!”

When monsters are presented in cute-and-fluffy packages, they’re easier to tolerate. Think of this technique as a tool in your battle to wear down your partner’s defences.

Here’s a selfie of me wearing my Teddy Scares hat:

Ugly Dolls are another tool for your cute-and-fluffy arsenal.

7. Learn How to Say “Horror” Correctly

One of my author-friends from Alabama pronounces “horror” so that it sounds like “hor-RAH“.

The next time you’re at a dinner party, and another guest asks you the inevitable, “What type of fiction do you write?” it’s best to enunciate as clearly as possible.

Like my southern friend, answer, “I write hor-RAH.” Otherwise, make sure you CLEARLY pronounce that second “R” as in “hor-ROARRR.”

Trust me on this one. First impressions are very important.

8. Read, Read, Read

Besides the usual benefits of reading — like literacy and adventure — the added bonus is that all of the words entertain you inside your brain. While you’re scaring yourself silly with The ‘Geisters by David Nickle, your partner can be blissfully unaware of the details.

If your boyfriend gets particularly squeamish over cover art, feel free to hide any creepy book covers under something neutral like The Hobbit.

9. Send Him on an Errand

I’m often pressed by a writing deadline.

My kind-and-thoughtful partner is usually willing to run a few errands while I slave away at the keyboard.

But if I take an hour (or two) to watch a little horror, I’m not exactly lying about my hard work. Technically, watching Zombieland or 28 Days Later is research for my zombie novel.

After all, I need to be thorough, right?

10. Promote “Light” Horror

Plenty of horror fiction isn’t all that horrific. I find classic novels are the best go-to examples.

Try pitching him with a statement like:

“You’ve enjoyed dark fiction before. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a scary.”

or:

“Did you know they based the movie Stand by Me on the Stephen King novella The Body? That movie’s aimed at kids.” (**Bonus** If you use this reference, you score extra geek-boy points for mentioning a Wil Wheaton movie!)

That’s the inside scoop, ladies-with-a-penchant-for-horror. Remember these tips and you’ll keep your SF&F-loving boyfriend horror-happy.

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