1. mad_hatter
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    mad_hatter Active Member

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    Horror Sci-Fi/Horror = Sci-Fi or Horror?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by mad_hatter, Dec 15, 2014.

    Confusing thread title, I know. Apologies for that; I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate. Anyhow...

    Just had a thought, which has led to a bit of a dilemma. Hoping to get the thought of some other writers on this.

    Horror is my thing. I love horror; it’s what I want to write. If I could be known solely as a horror writer, I’d be extremely happy.

    However, one of my better ideas for a novel-length story, and one that I’d like to begin work on sooner-rather-than-later, would most likely fall into the Sci-Fi/Horror sub-genre. It’s very much a horror, but it’s set in space. In movie terms, think “Alien” as opposed to “Star Trek”.

    As an author who wants to establish himself in the horror genre, should I leave such a story until I’m a few novels deep? All my other ideas for novels feature the staples of the horror genre; you know, werewolves, vampires, ghosts... Would having a Sci-Fi/Horror story (that may well appeal to both Sci-fi and Horror fans) for a debut novel cause confusion when it came time for the second novel? Would it be better to establish oneself as a straight-up horror guy, to build an audience, before veering off into Sci-Fi territory?

    Taking Stephen King as an example, being the most well-known horror writer there is, he established himself with a handful of horror novels, before venturing into other genres with the likes of “The Stand” and “The Tommyknockers”. Is this the best route to take?
     
  2. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think you're thinking too far, but that's just me. If your heart is now in writing the sci-fi/horror thing, go ahead and write that. If it's accepted, pubbed, and sells well, the transition to "pure" horror might not be that difficult. Who knows, you might even have different interests at that point and want to focus on e.g. urban fantasy.
     
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm with KaTrian, if you want to write it, write it. If it sells, you've got something on your CV, and if you really feel that it puts you too much into the Sci-Fi camp, use a pen-name. Your publisher will know who you are!
     
  4. mad_hatter
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    mad_hatter Active Member

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    I know I’m getting too far ahead of myself; the chances of me actually writing something good enough and getting it published are slim. But, I don’t see the harm in thinking ahead!

    So, let’s assume that I wrote an amazing Sci-Fi/Horror novel, it got published and it sold pretty well. Do you believe that the audience that bought the Sci-Fi/Horror novel would transition over to the pure horror novels? That’s what I’m not too sure about. Despite the fact that it would be horror, the fact that it’s set in space, I think, would immediately push it towards the Sci-Fi crowd, as opposed to the Horror crowd. That Sci-Fi crowd probably wouldn’t then buy a pure horror novel, despite it being by the same author. However, a horror audience, who’ve read a few horror novels by one author, would be more likely to delve into a Sci-Fi/Horror, if that’s the way that author took them.


    I’ve never been too keen on pen names, but actually, this seems like the perfect reason to use one; to not isolate your audience by flipping from one genre to the next, so they don’t know whether they’re coming or going. That’s a possibility.

    I know writing it is the right thing to do. The reason I want to write it is because it’s the most complete idea I have at the moment. I know how the story begins, I know how it ends, and I know a lot of what will happen between. Those things aren’t going to go away, so I could just sit on the idea for a few years before trying to do anything with it. The other ideas aren’t as fully developed, but they easily could be. I just need to work on them.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think the audience would translate over well. I read a lot of horror, and I also read SF and SF/Horror. I know horror readers who don't read SF as a rule, but would read books like the movie Alien, that are more horror than SF.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Personally, I think the idea of sci-fi horror is pretty ripe for an audience. It's like an offshoot - like paranormal or gothic romance. Everyone loves a niche(y) offshoot. I say go for it. Your biggest worry would be to nail the sci-fi story as sci-fi readers are pickier than horror readers. ( no offence but it's true - horror readers can read about killer dolls while sci-fi readers would scoff the logic ) If you don't get the sci-fi angle right you won't interest them as readers and some horror readers might not venture into the sci-fi section blowing the whole idea. As long as you put in some thrills, chills and atmosphere - the horror readers will be happy. Maybe a bit of gore - ( yuck I, always skip those parts.:) )
     
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  7. mad_hatter
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    mad_hatter Active Member

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    None taken; you're absolutely right! I'm a horror reader and I know that the genre, for the most part, is pretty nonsensical. That part of why I love it!

    I think there's enough Sci-Fi in my story to keep Sci-Fi readers interested, but that's not really the point... It's not a really Sci-Fi story at all, it's a horror story that just so happens to be set in outer space. The worry would be more that neither Sci-Fi or Horror readers would pick it up in the first place, as they would probably be concerned that it was in the other genre. If I were an established horror writer, it woudn't be an issue; my audience would most likely to expect the novel, despite it's sci-fi setting, to be horror. As a first time writer, I thin that's where the danger lies.

    Regardless, I think I've been convinced... I'm going to write it (when I feel ready to dive in to novel writing!!!) and see how it pans out. If I'm not entirely happy with it, I'll put it to one side and move on to something else.

    Cheers!
     

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