Horror: A study on Cliver Barker part 18, A recap.

Published by OJB in the blog OJB's blog. Views: 63

Having dove into 16 of Clive Barker's short stories has so far been an experience, and we still have 15 more short stories to go before we start diving into his larger works!

I wanted to reaffirm and go over what we have learned so far by studying Clive Barker.

1. The Use of personification. Describing a scene (like a city, or a mountain, or forest) always seemed dull to me to write and read. What I love about Clive Barker's style is that he uses personification when he describes a nature/city setting. Wanting to bring this idea into my own style I want to show a setting description before and after we use personification.

Before: The mountain was covered in pine trees, and it always rained, thundered, and lightning at its summit. (Kinda boring, right?)

Personification: The mountain was mean and grumpy with its wild pine-tree hair; it always cried rain, shouted thunder, and struck things with its lightning-bolt fingers. (Not perfect, but far more interesting than the above.)

2. Monsters as Allegory. I can't stress this enough. You want a monster that will be forever remembered? Make the monster an Allegory for something. Clive Barker goes this is Rawhead Rex, Scape-goats, and Human remains. What is an Allegory? It is a theme -an idea- that the monster represents.

Let's take something famous: Is not Frankenstein an Allegory for the result of Man trying to play God?

3. Imagery. Through reading Clive Barker's work, I've noticed he does something really interesting with his imagery. For lack of better term (I am sure there is a correct term for this), he does something that I call 'double imagery.' His two best examples are as followed.

1. Firefly Cigarette (both a firefly and a Cigarette glow.) [Human Remains]
2. It smelled like a rotting meat stuck in a drain pipe. (Both rotting meat and a drain pipe stink) [Scape-gaots.]

Trying my own hand: Massaged with kisses (Both Massages and kisses are physically pleasant.)

I have to practice to do with this concept, but I like it a lot.

4. The use of Subtext. Clive Barker's stories Pig Blood Blues, and Sex, Starshine and death, both have great examples of using subtext. Subtext is a hard thing to teach, I understand it when I see it, but putting it into my works is very difficult for me. It is the unspoken things that are going on in the background.

5. The use of Theme. Clive Barker has a strong understanding of Theme. Theme is not just the moral of your story, but it is also the philosophical concepts you put into your story. One of the principle themes that appears in a number of Clive Barker's works is that people trying to escape everyday life, or trying to gain some unspoken of, forbidden pleasure, are punished, often brutally, for their desires. Not always by monsters either, sometimes by their own design.

A central ideas I've put into my own works is the horrors that occur in family life. In Mystics, Bartlett's father murdered her Mother. In Nerium, Nerium's husband leaves her for a prettier woman. In an untitled short story I have thought out, the Heroin is beat by her husband. Each of my stories shows the horror that everyday life can throw at us, and that type of horror in one of my central themes.


I hope this brief recap has given you guys some ideas in regards to your own writing.

If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or like!
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