The Plasmatic Writer

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What Defines Good Quality Horror?

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Horror, the great core of things that scare us. Horror is known for it’s many sub-par words and genres that make it so and there’s no denying horror is not only what scares us but also what thrills and excites us. It is no wonder as to why horror has seemed to bloom and take off as of late, people just can’t seem to get enough. While movies can be explained as the same the question here is what makes a good horror book? Or what must be done for it to be good horror? Sure we all may enjoy a good cheesy horror film or book every now and then but when it comes to true horror we want the real thing. So how where does true horror begin? Well there are a few basics that all writers and authors or even directors and producers need to take into account before getting started on their latest horror project. These are not standards or rules but again basics that every person should know before they consider taking on horror and all of it’s sinister ways and plays. The first thing to consider when attempting horror is not to work on what you find scary but what others will find scary. Which brings me to the first tip.

Targeting an Audience- Your audience is one of the most important for anything whether it be readers or movie watchers however when it comes to horror fans they tend to want and expect a lot more. You want to appeal to them by making horror what it is..scary, gory, creepy, etc. What want to add a scare factor, something that will not only have them gripping their seat but freaked out or grossed out wanting more. A horror audience will expect to see twists and turns and everything that is to scare and horrify. Not everyone is going to be a fan of not only the horror you have in mind but horror in general so this is why your appealing to the fans, your general horror audience. Decide what direction of horror you want to target specifically and then take the right steps accordingly to determine the type of audience your aiming for.

Element of Surprise- Even if your horror isn’t going in the mystery direction it’s still good to keep people guessing and wondering so a surprise every once in a while will keep them wanting more. It doesn’t have to be a big surprise it doesn’t have to be a shocking revelation just a little twist that the reader or viewer didn’t see coming. Throwing in a surprise keeps the plot fresh and it keeps your readers entertained. This way they not only feel as though they are really into it but you have them wanting more because they don’t know what will happen next. Again whether big or small make it stand out, a little turn can lead to a big event or even a big event can lead to a realization that reader thought was big but they were surprised into finding out that something wasn’t as great as they thought.

Detail to Scare- When writing about horror especially in the sense of something scary write about it in detail. Not just the scary thing whatever it may be but the characters getting scared. Describe their emotions and feelings. Are they one the verge of crying? Having a breakdown? Let the reader take in your thoughts when you wrote it. Let them appreciate every detail about the scary thing and the person being scared. If you describe something with enough detail you can give the reader a clear image in their own heads of what the thing looks like. This not only shows your imagination but the readers as well and if enough detail is given then you’ll make the reader just as scared as the characters in the book/film.

Bring on the Gore- If you want your readers grossed out or just want to quench their lust of reading of blood then make the gore extra gory. Turn it up and give them something good. The gorier it is the more horrific it will be. Chances are however that not every reader is into gore, so while you want to pertain to the readers who enjoy it you may want to consider whether or not you want to do this or write about another type of horror with the gore to accommodate for those who don’t like it. When your adding the gore it’s the same thing above, you want detail. So describe the blood, describe the effects something is having on a person, really develop a presence that can be imagined and taken in by the reader to be enjoyed.

Stay away from cliches- This one is pretty self-explanatory. A reader wants something new something fresh(no pun intended). If your going to go in the direction of a cliche put your own spin on it so it’s not totally the same. Sometimes a cliche is fine but in horror it needs to be done carefully as in putting a spin on it. Horror cliches tend to get boring and redundant rather quick so taking on something new is better than taking on something that’s already been done. Taking on something new means for bringing in new people whereas taking on a cliche means you may pertain to the same general audience you’ve always had. Then again if your writing is good enough you’ll always hope and look to bring in a new audience.

Everyone has a tolerant level- Those who don’t enjoy horror this certainly does not for them. Everyone has a certain amount of horror they can take. Some have tastes for all kinds while others draw a line somewhere at some point. As a writer you cannot possibly know where your readers draw a line so this is where you write about what you like. As a horror writer you want to write your horror level to about the middle, not too much madness but not too little either. This way everyone gets an equal amount of horror without being turned on of off.