I have never been the biggest fan of the horror genre. I cannot even remember ever seeing a horror movie over my entire life. But recently, I have become somewhat fascinated with the genre, so I set out to discover more about it.
Literaryterms.com defines horror as a fiction genre made to inspire feelings of fear, dread, repulsion, and terror in the audience. It feeds on ideas that have bothered humans for centuries, and delves into our deepest fears.
There are many different types of horror; gothic horror, supernatural horror, and non-supernatural horror are listed on the website. If you want an example of a horror story, read practically anything by Edgar Allan Poe.
Masterclass gives you a few tips on how to write horror. They say that you should use your own real life experiences, remembering things that used to be creepy to you, or other things to put a more sinister spin on. They also suggest you write the title first so you can draw on a whole host of ideas from it. You might also want to write the ending first so that you know what will happen and can put twists and turns throughout the story to both mislead your reader and set up the conclusion. They also say to use cliffhangers and plot twists to keep your reader hooked, but those tips could be argued that unless done right they become a bit annoying.
Other sites have other tips, for example Nownovel.com talks about word choice and creating an unsettling tone or mood. They also advise that you read plenty of horror so you can observe how others write. It also compares the horror and tragedy genres, and the same elements both use. Tragedy is born out of character flaws and the choices they make, and so is horror.
So, now I had to wonder, why do some people like this genre when I normally avoid it like the plague? Science Daily suggests that people actually enjoy feeling scared and other “negative” emotions in horror films, not just waiting for the payoff, while other arguments seem to be that people enjoy the payoff. Instead of feeling fear, some people feel excited, or full of adrenaline, and that makes everything more vivid.
Even now, after reading multiple articles on why people like horror, and how to write it, I am not fully sure I understand it, but I am definitely going to keep looking into it.