1. staceylouise
    Offline

    staceylouise Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Bristol

    Horror HORROR!!!!!

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by staceylouise, Feb 16, 2014.

    So guys, writing horror?? Just wondering those of you who have written horror - do you start with a juicy piece of terrifying horror to kick start the story? To open it up? Or do you build up to it? Which is best? Obviously based on the back cover of the book the potential reader is going to be aware that it's a horror from the start, so what do they want???
     
    bakinpowder likes this.
  2. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    Mad slashing on line one might be a bit hard to carry off, unless you are going to focus on the killer/monster as the central character and he/she/it reveals something of the monster's motivations, even if it is just "Humans yummy. Mother always say humans best food."
     
  3. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Horror's all about the pacing. The impending danger... what might happen. Not what is happening - though the fright or gore scenes are important. If you didn't have them the whole book would be just a tease.

    But if you want to start off with a blast you might try a prologue.
    A lot of prologues in horror start with a murder to show you somethings afoot in this town. Then Chapter 1 usually bring you up to this century or months later the mc moving into town or the cursed house or something.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  4. Thomas Kitchen
    Offline

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,258
    Likes Received:
    422
    Location:
    I'm Welsh - and proud!
    It can start with horror, but only if it needs to. Not slasher-type stuff, but more psychological. "I raced down the hall, my breath visibly swirling in front of my face." Obviously not particularly scary, but you understand what I mean. I think that if you were to start with horror, make it so we (the readers) never see what the horror monster/person/thing actually is, and then contrast the horror at the beginning to just someone's normal, perhaps mundane life. It will keep readers interested, as although they have seen some horror, they have not actually seen the horrible thing, and so will keep reading to find out what it is.

    As peachalulu said, it's all about pacing. Only use horror at the beginning if it's useful for your story - don't use it just because it's the standard way of doing it, or that someone has told you to do it. Most genres require first-time authors to play it safe, but with horror I don't believe this is true, as it needs to be kept fresh. Do what scares people the most! :)
     
  5. staceylouise
    Offline

    staceylouise Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Bristol
    Thanks guys. I felt that about pace too. I like a good pace building up ;) so going to go with that. Thank you so much for all your replies
     
  6. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I think it's harder for the reader to care if it starts before we even had a chance to get to know the character.
    Now, I admit I don't read those kind of books too often, but I think it would be better to start with threat, or rather a character becoming aware of a threat. That would make at least me start to read to find out what happens next. My advice is to study the best writers of that genre to see how they do, and see for yourself what you prefer as a reader.
     
  7. Lae
    Offline

    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Messages:
    508
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    UK
    i dont really like horror that much, especially in movies or tv because i find it a bit boring. If something has a good tempo then id definitely give it a go, decent plot and a real threat. (not some maniac with a chainsaw or a single stab happy gimp mask wearing weirdo)

    Slashers and gorefests for me are beyond boring.
     
  8. staceylouise
    Offline

    staceylouise Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Bristol
    Yeh I get what you are saying here. I'm not a particular fan of horror myself as it tends to be the same kind of things, but I have a niggle about an idea, but not sure of a story or how it would plot out. I'm just taunted by this image and idea for the basis of a plot, if that makes sense? X
     
  9. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Australia
    I wrote a horror script that did very well and almost, almost, got picked up by Sony. I started it slow and built up the tension, but my dumbass producer insisted I add an opening kill, which I did. It worked, but it wasn't needed, and took some of the bite out of the later violence.
     
  10. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,758
    Likes Received:
    1,299
    @Selbbin Is it too late to find a different producer and try again on the original script?
     
  11. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Australia
    It's not, but it's a lot of effort and I'm working on other stuff atm. I'm certain to revisit it. However, that producer was good at getting our feet in the door.
     
  12. Marcus Burzum
    Offline

    Marcus Burzum Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2014
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Paris
    Like Thomas Kitchen as say in his article, the first line always count (I really liked your post about FOCUS, Thomas)

    But, as an horror movie lover, I to admit that some very well made movies don’t fit to this rule, like The Den, Serbian film or Megan is missing. The best example is Serbian film. The movie start very slowly, giving you the feeling than a something really sick will happen. And after thirty minutes without any violence, the horror start. Oh god. THIS SCENE.

    Watch the Den or Megan is missing. Please avoid Serbian film, because this movie is really offensive.
     
  13. Garball
    Offline

    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,846
    Likes Received:
    1,332
    Location:
    S'port, LA
    I think the most important part about horror is making sure the seed is planted well enough that the reader's imagination is what drives the horror. This can't happen without strong character development and knowing when to stop showing and start leading.
    The best way I can think to put it is by using creature flicks. I have yet to see a movie where the reveal of the creature lives up to what I imagined, in fact it becomes a disappointment.
     
  14. novemberjuliet
    Offline

    novemberjuliet Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Seoul, Republic of Korea
    The less the reader knows, the better. Don't risk starting with a bang if you think it will reveal too much. This is typically why horror works better in shorter stories, as you don't have to use a lot of filler in building tension, which can lose the reader's interest.
     
  15. Devlin Blake
    Offline

    Devlin Blake Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    31
    You might want to read the Fun House by Dean Koontz. It has the best prologue. A woman is kills her deformed baby because she believes it's a monster. After she kills it and runs away, the father vows revenge.

    The rest of the story takes place almost 2 decades later; After the woman thinks she's safe. No one knows anything about her past, and she has two children. Turns out, the 1st baby's father has spent the last 2 decades searching for her so he can take his revenge.
     
  16. DeadMoon
    Offline

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Messages:
    756
    Likes Received:
    441
    Location:
    fargo, ND
    I am a much bigger fan of old horror movies. Most modern horror relies on jump scares and those get boring fast. I love the black and white non CGI ones the best.
     
  17. theoriginalmonsterman
    Offline

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    [REDACTED]
    It depends on what kind of Horror you're writing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Horror_genres

    It can get a little complicated when actually looking into it. Usually my horror stories are just the basic horror fiction.
     
  18. phillip.wilkerson
    Offline

    phillip.wilkerson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Tesoro. As with any story, you want to make an immediate connection with whichever character is coming onstage first. That said, you can create that connection with a genre-appropriate line or situation. "I was eight years old the first time a giant hand came out of the closet." Not very good, but maybe you get the idea...
     
  19. theoriginalmonsterman
    Offline

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    [REDACTED]
    Horror is when you're able to scare someone, so bad they have trouble sleeping at night. It's going to be a long night for me... never watched a video titled "Top 20 TRUE horror stories". :meh:
     
    Lancie and Boger like this.
  20. CrowOfCalamity
    Offline

    CrowOfCalamity Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    18
    I like writing about psychological horrors. It's good start off with a terrifying event that way you can draw in readers but the trick is to keep that the readers interested. If you're gonna deal with a fantasy type horror, then it's important to create something that is character driven, so that your story doesn't seem like so many horrible horror movies.
     
  21. Boger
    Offline

    Boger Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2014
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    The Dome of the Slate
    I like it graphic, tactile and momentous. But the questions are just up to you to decide.
     
  22. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    I've written two SF/Horror novels so far and I've started off the books without an immediate burst of gore, although it did turn up soon enough :)
     
  23. Sipsik
    Offline

    Sipsik Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2015
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    9
    I woudn´t open cards too early. The core of horror is slowly developing really. It is something to look for, that keeps the reader going on. It is essential to keep up intence feeling. Study Poe, the horrormaster;)
     

Share This Page