We all know Horror is not for the faint of heart, and you should be expected to steel your nerves when diving into a book of that genre. Writing a book around those themes can be rather difficult, and it isn’t for everyone, but elements of horror can be incorporated into any genre. Here, I’m going to talk a bit about different aspects of horror, and how you can blend them into your stories for a more adult, slightly darker feel.
Horror is not a monster. It’s not a simple thing that can be defined as any one subject. It’s not what we put into the story that makes it horror. It is a state of being. It is the feeling of unease. Making sure the reader isn’t completely comfortable even though they’re sitting in a plush armchair. It’s taking the status quo of the world and twisting it. This can be done in two basic ways. Physical, and Psychological.
The physical horror are things that go bump in the night. Monsters that come for your children, or a bloody wound. It’s great at shocking the reader or creating an instant reaction of unease. This can be done by adding in a bit more description on an injury. People don’t like to imagine our bodies being broken. A healthy, whole human body is the norm. It is the status quo. But a mangled body, one that has been torn at and even possibly damaged for life, will cause your reader to shiver. No one wants to imagine that could be them.
Psychological horror is my personal favorite. This is not a shocking element. It’s not something that will be obvious to your reader immediately. Instead, these elements of horror are things of the mind. Things that make someone question people, reality, or their own sanity. This can easily be done by adding in a character with a mental illness of some kind. It’s very important to do a lot of research about what malady you’d like to show before you try to write anything. It’s a very serious problem and should be handled with respect. But if you do respect it and research it, then a character portraying a mental illness can add so much flavor to a story. Someone who doesn’t see the world through a status quo, because their world has been warped and flipped. Someone to make the reader question what the mind really sees, because they see something so different. Psychological horror are the things that stay with the reader even after they’ve put down the book. That chill that stays in their spine long after walking away because something might have changed in their own minds.
There are many other examples of physical and psychological horror, but for the sake of a short blog, I’m not going to get into all of them. Horror is a great genre, just like all of them, but you shouldn’t be limited to simply one genre when writing any book. Putting elements of horror into your story is a great way to add in some unease and tension. Just a little something to send chills down your reader’s back.
"6 stages of Grief" series was drawn by me, Marlena Hancock
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We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.