View Full Version : Dark Horror
06-19-2004, 07:15 PM
I know there are many kinds of horror out there now but I was wondering if anyone out there writes dark traditional horror.
06-19-2004, 08:11 PM
This question is probably better asked at Critters workshop. Crowds of traditional-horror writers walking around there. Better not visit the site at nighttime. :jump :snoopy
06-20-2004, 09:19 AM
Oooh, I have a soft spot for dark horror. I have written quite a few myself, and they're almost always a buzz to read.
06-20-2004, 06:22 PM
I would have to send you some of my work then. I just got done writing one with a lot of poetic interludes. I was looking around at Spicy Green Iguana.com for where I can send this kind of writing to and what not. I got published online via the websites templeofdagon.com, house-of-pain.com, and next month with a dark creative nonfiction story titled The Hand Trembler.
06-20-2004, 10:07 PM
there are a lot of semi-pro horrormarkets around, but the mainstream is a bit weak. I am writing a bit of 'horrotica' at the moment, but not so much horror per. se.
06-21-2004, 04:21 AM
I write traditional horror and there is a new story I have up on a journal I kept now for a few years. I see it as this, it is more of a challenge to write horror without the sex. And you have to find a way to make it creative and dark from there, hence go more on discriptive elements or create some atmospherics. Perhaps add a few poetic interludes in there here and there. I come from that influence of Edgar Allan Poe. I don't think I can come close to a Telltale heart type of story.
06-21-2004, 07:19 AM
I *live* for dark horror.
06-22-2004, 12:35 AM
I never thought of it as easier to write horror with sex! Fear and getting it on not being a natural combo in my book :eek
I get a few small press horror zines -- Dark Animus, Whispers of Wickness etc.
06-27-2004, 12:43 AM
I wrote this story awhile back, it is titled The Fandom Writer (http://www.fictionpress.com/read.php?storyid=1639110). Read at your own risk because of the strong conservatism in horror in this story. I was being a complete smart ass when I wrote this one. Veingloree, you will really hate this story. But others who like Ray Bradbury appreciate this one because I show that influence; it is a dark story but one that does have some funny moments.
06-27-2004, 03:15 AM
Thanks for the abusive and homophobic PM and this new jibe -- please refrain from addressing me further in any form, manner or place.
06-27-2004, 11:05 AM
to be honest, the story could use a good bit of line editing, and some punctuation help, but it's an interesting piece, and I read it all the way through, something I seldom do.
06-27-2004, 11:30 PM
Everything I did with the story was intentional. James I am influenced by an older style of horror though I would use modern english. The description was from a time that was before me. I am working on another story right now that is a Science Ficiton narrative. I sent this one out to a few publishers, cross your fingers if it gets in. The story has a conservative message. The style is something one had not seen in years.
06-28-2004, 02:17 AM
Not that I'm looking for abusive IMs, you understand, but it's difficult to believe anyone would intentionally include a barrel-load of errors in a story and attribute this to style.
Methinks this particular story provides a fine example of why the dry, plodding, uninvolving Poe style has fallen out of favor. His readers just didn't know any better. Even as I read it, I couldn't help but think that a modern presentation of the subject matter would have produced a much better story.
Big shrug, each to their own. Back to lurking...
-----------------------My Home Page (http://hometown.aol.co.uk/DPaterson57)
06-28-2004, 02:19 AM
I didn't particularly like the story, though the idea itself is interesting--a vindictive writer has a hand in sending to hell the person who's ripping off his work. James is correct in saying that it needs a good bit of editing.
I'd also add that I think it's a bit jumbled, the focus of the narrative is off, the theme is there, but it's covered by eerie proclamations, weak characterizations, and weak dialogue.
06-29-2004, 12:22 AM
All I can say is that if all the grammar and punctuation errors are intentional, you need to change your intentions. The problem isn't with the description. There are severe grammar errors, particularly many run on sentences that are almost unreadable. Some of your sentences would have to be made into three sentences to be grammatically correct. Understand, it isn;t the length of the sentences that's the problem. Sentences can be extremely long and still remain grammatically correct, but what they can do is change subject in mid-stream, then change it again.
There are also many punctuation errors, and a large number of sentences with words that are, at best, redundant or unnecessary.
I'm a fan of old horror fiction, and those writers didn't make mistakes in grammar and punctuation. Style is something altogether different. Style is a matter of word choice and gramatically correct sentence length. A change in style doesn't mean you can suddenly vioilate rules of grammar and punctuation.
There is, I think, a good story in there somewhere, but as an editor, I'd reject this story after reading no more than a paragraph, not because it's a bad story, but simply because the grammar and punctuation errors are so excessive they hide the story. This is the number one reason stories get rejected quickly.
06-29-2004, 12:25 AM
Oh, and I don't agree at all with the Poe comments. His writing is still incredibly popular today. More so, in fact, with nearly every passing year. And I think he's a masterful writer, and nothing I've read of his has struck me as dry or uninvolving. I think he's one of the best of all time, and just about every professional horror writer I know claims Poe as one of their main influences. But this story reads nothing at all like Poe.
06-29-2004, 06:28 AM
Oh, and I don't agree at all with the Poe comments. His writing is still incredibly popular today. More so, in fact, with nearly every passing year. And I think he's a masterful writer, and nothing I've read of his has struck me as dry or uninvolving. I think he's one of the best of all time, and just about every professional horror writer I know claims Poe as one of their main influences.
I'm not saying Poe hasn't inspired and influenced, and that his writing hasn't drawn admiration. And since there are fans, there must be markets for this type of horror fiction. But still... the thought that anyone would consciously try to emulate his stuffy, out of date style seems odd -- more of a pretention than a positive goal, perhaps, and certainly not a path toward better writing.
Needless to say, those "stuffy, out of date, dry, plodding, uninvolving, etc." comments are all my humble opinion and nothing more. As mentioned previously, each to their own. If we're talking older horror fiction then I personally prefer Lovecraft, tho' not every story in the collection appeals to me any more than some of Poe's stories do, not that I'm suggesting a direct comparison of authors who wrote almost a century apart.
I only replied so as not to appear rude or unappreciative of your reply, no hassle sought, personal tastes apply.
-----------------------My Home Page (http://hometown.aol.co.uk/DPaterson57)
06-29-2004, 07:15 AM
>...his stuffy, out of date style ...
Hmm. Not sure I agree with this. 'The Tell-Tale Heart'? Stuffy? Say it ain't so!
>But still... the thought that anyone would consciously try to emulate his stuffy, out of date style seems odd -- more of a pretention than a positive goal, perhaps, and certainly not a path toward better writing.
But this I agree with whole-heartedly. The effect produced by his stories is something I'd like to achieve, but I don't think it can be done by imitating the writing.
Same would apply for Lovecraft, I think. Like you, I'm a fan of his work, but imitating his prose? Urgh. No thanks.
06-29-2004, 11:15 AM
Actually, Poe is still admired for his style, and it's a pretty modern style, at that. Emulating it is a great way to sell a story. The only thing you really need to change to make Poe a modern writer is to update his dialogue a bit.
Lovecraft truly can't write. He can tell a mean story, he he has a great imagination and builds great characters, but he's one of the worst stylists in the history of the free world. And a horrible dialogue writer. But he knew this and did everything possible to avoid dialogue.
06-29-2004, 06:56 PM
All I can say after having read the offering is that it may pass muster on Fictionpress, but there's a whole different animal hanging out in this dungeon. Not to be contentious, mate, but the work is subpar.
Meandering, redundant, poor word usuage and sentence structure. The ability to spell seven letter words isn't necessarily an indication that one can correctly use them in a coherent sentence. Passing this off as an imitation of Poe's style is a cop-out. I've read Poe, as have many of the good folk that lurk in the shadows, here. That wasn't Poe-like, in any shape, form or fashion.
I do think you have a knack for visualization. You can "see" what you want to write, but you just haven't gotten the crafting part down tight.
06-29-2004, 11:25 PM
Imagination aside, I sometimes think the ability to write well on the craft side is no more than the ability to accurately compare your own writing with that of published writers. If you can look at the sentence structure, the syntax, of other writers, and see where you own goes wrong, you're way ahead of the game.
The same can be said for story structure, characterization, dialogue, etc.
If you can't do this accurately, you're probably in a world of trouble.
And while we all make mistakes, there's simply no excuse for poor grammar and poor punctuation. These are seventh grade skills, and anyone who really wants to should be able to learn them from scratch in no more than a month or two.
07-01-2004, 04:39 AM
damn, but it got quiet in here.
07-01-2004, 06:42 AM
>And while we all make mistakes, there's simply no excuse for poor grammar and poor punctuation. These are seventh grade skills, and anyone who really wants to should be able to learn them from scratch in no more than a month or two.
[I know we're not supposed to add 'me too' comments, but this deserves one.]
07-01-2004, 05:51 PM
Stating that Lovecraft can't write and that Poe can, frankly just doesn't cut the mustard. Both can write and both have carved significant niches in the genre, so let's just file that topic under "Outrageous Personal Opinions" and move on to less contentious trivia. ;)
The problem with Poe for me is that all too often he assumes the persona of an hysterical woman in a bad stage play:
Almighty God! --no, no! They heard! --they suspected! --they knew! --they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now --again! --hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!
Urk. By comparison, Lovecraft's relatively sane and stable narrator persona is affected by events in a far more realistic and, to this reader, comprehensible manner, and usually without running around like an overmelodramatic chicken with no head. Maybe his dialogue is poor but Lovecraft is a better story and character builder. That's my "in a nutshell" interpretation anyway. Opinions are bound to differ, but I'm going to stick with my original stuffy and outdated assessment as far as Poe's work is concerned. I read Poe first and Lovecraft second, and I certainly know which I prefer. Not everything, mind, but some stories are highly memorable and when I think horror, I think of HPL. Poe's reputation benefits much from the film industry's treatment of his work.
-----------------------My Home Page (http://hometown.aol.co.uk/DPaterson57)
07-02-2004, 12:23 AM
I'll stick to Lovecraft can't write and Poe can.
Lovecraft can tell a good story and build good characters, which is why he was successful, but he can't write a lick when it comes to style, and even he knew his dialogue was God-awful.
Preference is the key, but I think the movie industry has harmed Poe as much as helped him. He's one of the better writers I've ever read in just about every way. Though in a way he's even more of an influence to mystery writers than to horror writers.
The Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget, The Purloined Letter, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Tell-Tale Heart are incredible stories in every sense of the word, though maybe more so to a msytery writer than a horror writer.
Anyone who wants to read Poe or Lovecraft can find their work, and the work of most classic writers, in several formats at www.blackmask.com/page.php (http://www.blackmask.com/page.php)
It's a great site for catching up on the classics in every genre.
07-02-2004, 01:42 AM
Great link, James. Thanks. Just as an added note, I think if we were to poll 500 prolific readers, then another 500 prolific "writers" about this issue, I bet we'd find that the concensus supports the notion that Lovecraft was a visionary storyteller with a demonstrated weakness for writing dialogue. We'd also find that many wish they had Poe's knack for over-dramatizing scenes. The thing with Poe, is that he possessed an uncanny sense of timing. He could introduce that whining, cringing, wringing of hands at the most opportune moment and make it seem an appropriate gesture.
Poe's style could be described as moody/trendy, and overly dramatic at times, as was the custom and practice of his horror writing peers of that period. But he also knew what scared us and used it to that end. He raised an already steep dramatic bar for that genre and made it work. A neat trick.
Lovecraft, on the other hand, made us think "ut oh" and "what if..." Another equally hellacious trick.
This takes us back to the "storyteller vs. writer" issue of old.
Both have niches. Rare are the people who can master both elements for these are the true masters of crafting fiction.
Just my 2$...(adjusted for inflation)
07-02-2004, 03:50 AM
If you can only be one or the other, a good storyteller or a good writer, not both, then it's best by far to be a good storyteller.
Good writing style is gravy. It's great when you get it, but it's the potatoes under the gravy that editors buy. Few can do both well. Those who can usually lead cushy lives.
Good story, good characters, and good dialogue sell stories. All the writing has to be is competent.
07-02-2004, 07:01 AM
Amen, James. I'll take the storyteller every time.
07-02-2004, 08:45 AM
A good storyteller for me.
09-22-2004, 05:29 PM
I also like Benchley's approach to writing horror, for as conservative a person Benchley is -- basically caused people to stay out of the water with JAWS, The Beast, and White Shark. He knows how to build that uh oh kind of horror then really get them. As for King, knew how to do it and say, "hold it right there mother f--ker, this isn't over yet."
09-23-2004, 12:46 PM
I confess I've never really thought of Benchley purely as a horror writer, tho' I appreciate the horror origins of his preferred strategy: big character buildup, then isolate the leads and expose them to something the audience wouldn't ever want to meet -- usually something that prefers its next meal to be warm and wriggling.
09-23-2004, 11:51 PM
That is what made his approach to horror so damn good. He wasn't always coined as horror, but writing JAWS and White Shark he very much deserves to be called a horror writer. I'm working on a supernatural shark story because I am reading JAWS and the true story that inspired it.
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