Presentation on theme: "Why is horror so popular? Parallels our sense of alienation, helplessness and fear as Stephen King observed, the reading of horror and supernatural tales."— Presentation transcript:
Why is horror so popular? Parallels our sense of alienation, helplessness and fear as Stephen King observed, the reading of horror and supernatural tales is a form of preparation for our own deaths, a "danse macabre" before the void, as well as a way to satisfy our curiosity about the most seminal event in our lives except birth. We LIKE to be scared! –Adrenaline rush! Way to act out fantasies like meeting ghosts, aliens A way to explain the inexplicable– why is that guy in math so weird? Maybe it’s because he’s secretly a vampire! (I know, it’s been done. )
Where do the ideas come from? Stephen King: “I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it's seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question 'What if?' 'What if' is always the key question.” Dean Koontz: “Everything I believe about life and death, culture and society, relationships and the self, God and nature– everything winds up in the books, not in one more than another, but equally, title after title.” Poe: his stories came from grief, experience, and visions of places he visited. LIFE---Life is VERY scary
What makes a good horror story? SUSPENSE Believable characters we CARE about. Descriptive, believable setting. (again, stay away from the cliché) Twists—be CAREFUL, don’t add twists for the sake of twists, don’t make a story too convoluted. Keep up the pace—if you’re bored, so are your readers. Leave out the boring!
Checklist by David Taylor Here's the checklist for writing horror novels: The Grabber. Have you opened with a prologue or short chapter which provides a brief but tantalizing (and usually violent) glimpse of the secret horror which will propel the story forward? Backfill. Within chapters 1-5, have you introduced the main characters and their problems, then isolated them in one locale (a town, resort, swamp, etc.) along with the horror? Turn Up the Heat. Do your middle chapters show increasingly weird/violent events which threaten the protagonists and force them to investigate and eventually confront the horror (usually ancient or occult) that has been triggered? Flash Slash. If the pace slows, have you flashed to a violent scene to show the horror at its gruesome work?
Continued… Final Jeopardy. Does your final climax scene contain sufficient pay- off for the reader? When things have gotten as bad as they can get for the protagonists, with seemingly no way out, just as they are about to be overpowered by the superior horrific force, something enables them to triumph—courage, ingenuity, imagination, a tool or piece of information previously planted. It Lives! A short final chapter or epilogue shows the main characters at peace, resuming their normal lives but changed forever by their encounter with evil. But have you also hinted that the victory is a temporary one, and that the horror has merely gone back into hiding and could rise again someday—possibly in a sequel?
Horror Writing… Other conventions to keep in mind: Cupid Strikes refers to the romantic subplot in horror novels wherein the hero and heroine meet and join together (spiritually and physically) to fight the evil besetting them. – Think: Edward & Bella in Twilight Bang for the Buck means that readers expect the horror novelist to offer well-researched information on a legend or myth, occult or psychic fore, exotic geographical location, sport, profession, etc. Body Count The level of violence in a story affects its readers; some people can handle some violence, while way too much will turn lots of readers off. Keep it suspenseful without making it too gory.