L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami August 22, 2014 - 7:08pm

What exactly is it that makes something horror? When I used to write it, I didn't really think of it as a genre, so much as a general feeling I wanted the reader to get. Genre wise it might be anywhere from dark contemporary, local ghost story, vampire stories, whatever.

I feel weird calling my work horror, just because the approach is not really about jump scares but more about the build up. Then we handing it over to beta, they always called it science fiction. Which was weird, as I don't generally allign myself with Heinlien, Card, or Asimov.

When I read, it was always Lovecraft, Dracula,  Even More Short & Shivery. I think the only time (until recently) where I really read anything was .horror. Unless I read UFO Abduction books. Then I read one book where this pot smoker went through a portal being chased after by sentient bipedal jack rabbits in the middle ages. Still don't remember what book that was.

When I wrote the one story I discovered as I went, it reflected more what I read. Traditional ghost stories. Now granted, it might be a ghost in the computer.

I found one book, I think it might be older but not ancient I might check out.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 25, 2014 - 5:22pm

I think of it as mood and tone more mood and tone than anything else. Another aspect of it is transgression. A friend of mine defines horror by its ability to defy the rules. Certain things that are "rules" of sorts don't apply in horror. The protagonist can be the bad guy. The good guy can die. The world can end. The hero can fail. I don't define it in terms of tropes. Jack Ketchum is a horror writer, but so is Peter Straub. One writes about real people and the other writes about supernatural elements. If you look at pure story elements, they have nothing in common. They share tone, a sense of impending dread, and transgression of some sort.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami August 25, 2014 - 7:38pm

So someone could write science fiction or hell magic realism or even more out there Timepunk and still technically fall under horror as long as it fits under the mood and theme of transgression?

Of course I think of tragedy even as more of a downward plot progression, and not necessarily the complete destruction of the protagonist.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 26, 2014 - 4:48am

Yeah, I think horror can really be anything. One of the things I have written about Ira Levin in the past is that his books are horror even if they can fall in other genres. The Stepford WIves and This Perfect Day could be science fiction. A Kiss Before Dying could be a crime thriller. But they have certain aspects that make them fit the horror genre. 

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK August 26, 2014 - 10:48am

Horror is anything that horrifies the reader. It is horrific.

By the way, does anyone know where I can find some sexy women Halloween dresses? I'm looking for cheap ones, probably wholesale.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 26, 2014 - 11:37am

Seb, but that logic Twilight is a horror novel to me.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami August 26, 2014 - 6:01pm

Beat me to the punch, spammers are horrifying indeed.:D

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK August 27, 2014 - 1:25am

Dwayne, I think that's fair.

To be honest though, who cares? Just write, let other people worry about genre. Write whatever you want, don't be tied down.

KarenRunge's picture
KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness August 27, 2014 - 9:06am

Horror is hard to pin down purely because it is the most flexible of all the genres. It can slot neatly into any other genre. Horror doesn't even need blood--it only needs to do what it says and horrify. Overtly, covertly, deeply, cheaply, whatever. A story about incest is as valid here as a story about a serial killer, or a werewolf. This is exactly what makes it so special, so beautiful. Jump-scare horror really is a sub-genre. The supernatural, too. This is why The Lord of the Flies belongs just as much as The Exorcist.

(And by the way, the Twilight books terrify me because they're classified as horror--but from what I can tell have nothing to do with it! Except of course for the words 'vampire' and 'werewolf' flying around in them. I want to know how that happened. Scary....)

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 27, 2014 - 9:38am

@Seb - No it is a romance that should have been a monster hunting story, focused on Charlie Swan's realizing his life is a lie surrounded by monsters who lust after his child's blood.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami August 27, 2014 - 4:21pm

I mostly torn between upbeat MG Epic Fantasy (like Grandia if you played it), and cynical NA Cyberpunk (like Neuromancer if you read it). With some of the tropes of "psychological horror."

Like if I could find a book that's Post Modernist or Post Post Modernist Epic Fantasy.