How Horror Can Improve Our Writing in ANY Genre – Written By Kristen Lamb

Horror is in the HOUSE today…and over the weekend for many since, um, HALLOWEEN! So, today I’d like to talk about horror as a genre.

Horror gets a bad rap. Most people automatically default to brainless, low-budget slasher movies. People somehow forget that we can thank horror for some of the greatest works of literature from Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein to Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

***For the record. Horror as a genre is still very much alive. It’s just that, after all the 70s slasher movies, these books have been re-shelved as speculative fiction. Books once listed as ‘horror’ we can now find under mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, paranormal fantasy, etc.

Horror has always pushed boundaries while shining a light on what we as a culture fear the most. If we can forget the chainsaws and college coeds who trip a lot, horror can teach us all how to be better authors…no matter which genre we write.

This genre fascinates me simply because (as I mentioned earlier), I believe it is the most difficult genre to write. Sure it was probably easier back in the days that movie audiences ran screaming from the man in a really bad plastic ant outfit. But these days? As desensitized as we have become? Unsettling people is no simple task.

That’s why I’d like to talk about it today because no matter which type of fiction we write, we can learn a lot from what horror authors do well.

Horror Evokes Reflection

Powerful fiction mines the darkest, deepest, grittiest areas of the soul. GREAT fiction holds a mirror to man and society and offers messages that go beyond the plot. A really great story should, ultimately lead to some form of self-reflection.


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