Thriller, Horror, Terror — Oh My!

[found on writersdigest.com]
The three types of terror:
  • The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm.
  • The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one:
  • Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there …”
— Stephen King

“The horror genre is something that I’ve always been fascinated with. Luckily, I don’t think I’m the only one. People like to be frightened. If they didn’t, Stephen King wouldn’t have a thousand novels and you wouldn’t find every horror film ever made running on AMC at this time, every year. Seriously. Click over to AMC, I can almost guarantee Halloween, or one of its sequels, is on right now.

And horror has adapted. Yes, you can still find the slasher movies and those “gross-out” moments that King references. But it’s mental now. “Found footage” movies can be terrifying because it seems so normal, so everyday. The more real, the better. And the scarier. It’s the dark basement where the only thing you can hear is the beating of your own heart. That’s real horror. The kind of stuff that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, as if someone was standing inches behind you.

But writing horror isn’t so easy. With any type of fiction, it’s difficult to think of something that hasn’t already been done. With horror fiction, it’s especially true. Creepy basements, loud noises from the attic, hidden rooms, Indian burial grounds, old hotels, multiple personality disorder, etc.—it’s all been done before, and it’s all out there. These clichés shouldn’t restrain you, however. They’ve simply defined the space you’re working in. You know what’s there, now create your own story.”

For more tips from Writer’s Digest on writing thrillers, click here.

[found on http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/the-horror-genre-on-writing-horror-and-avoiding-cliches]
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