Tag Archives: Horror Writing

Library Writers’ Group: THE HORROR!

30 Sep

A lot awaited post about writing! I know it’s been a long time since I was able to put one of these together and I apologize to those who like my writing posts. Please don’t panic (Douglas Adams anyone?) as there should be some more of these coming up.

In keeping with the Halloween season, our group talked about horror writing this month. The obvious question is why do people read horror? Personally, I don’t read a lot of books I would consider horrific (or didn’t before this meeting, more on that later). When I do read, it’s an escapism. I want to experience something different from my daily life and books help me do that. But a horror book isn’t exactly the place I want to go. The horror readers among us weren’t as escapist as I am. Not many people want to live in a world saturated with killers and ghosts. Many didn’t consider themselves pure horror readers, but commented that the horror they’ve read is blended with other genres, especially SciFi and fantasy.

Horror writing has existed for longer than it has been considered its own genre. It began to come into its own with Gothic literature, but we can see traces of it as far back as Beowulf and classic fairy tales. In the 80s, the modern horror genre emerged with Stephen King being a prime example of the resulting genre.

We read an article which you can find here on the ten elements of horror. We went through them and talked about situations in books we’ve read and enjoyed which could fit into these characters. For example, some story lines that fall into ‘helplessness and isolation’ could be a new family situation or being stranded at sea. For ‘urgency,’ persecution and war are good examples.

Reading through these elements, I realized that a lot of recent dystopian fantasy have similar themes and situations. When I thought about it, they seem to fit the horror genre really well. It hooked back to the comment about genre being combined with other genres and I’ve come to see that I might not mind horrific literature after all.

We reviewed again why our horror readers liked horror books. Mostly, it was for the thrill they got from reading it. But also, it helped them not be as afraid of the unknown, unexpected, and unnatural.

Until next time, write on.

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