Review

AW is an Amazon Affiliate

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


paypal subscribe button

How To Support AW

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Question about 'Horror'

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW ixorv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    147

    Question about 'Horror'

    To me, the 'Horror' genre means gore or gorn. I know that it doesn't necessarily mean gory, but almost everything label 'Horror' seems to be...

    So my question is, is there a name for (or a sub-genre of) Horror that doesn't have gory gorn?

  2. #2
    figuring it all out jwhite1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    73
    I don't know if there's a horror subgenre that is specifically defined by its lack of gore, but Lovecraftian horror has very little, traditionally.

  3. #3
    The force is strong in this one. williemeikle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,359
    I've been writing horror for thirty years. I don't really do gore. Your definition may apply to the movies (but lately even that's changing) but it hasn't applied in fiction very much since the 'nasty' line of stuff in the Seventies / Early Eighties. Horror is a very broad church, and gore only a minor part of it rather than being the majority you seem to think it is.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW ixorv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by williemeikle View Post
    I've been writing horror for thirty years. I don't really do gore. Your definition may apply to the movies (but lately even that's changing) but it hasn't applied in fiction very much since the 'nasty' line of stuff in the Seventies / Early Eighties. Horror is a very broad church, and gore only a minor part of it rather than being the majority you seem to think it is.
    I did not mean to label it with such a broad stroke. My intention is to find the correct tag so I do not turn away my intended audience, or disappoint someone who came for a different kind of story.

  5. #5
    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Not where you last saw me.
    Posts
    12,073
    Willie mentioned that horror is a "broad church" and it is. There are a number of subgenres with a certain fluidity in categorizing because of overlap with other subgenres and genres. The gore you mentioned is found in Splatterpunk or Splatter Horror. jwhite1979 mentioned Lovecraftian which is also called Cosmic Horror. Gothic Horror is descriptive of tone, atmosphere, and setting and often overlaps with Romance. Then there's Apocalyptic Horror (Stephen King's The Stand is an example.) There's Psychological Horror characterized by paranoia, suspicion, and possible descent into madness. (Your reader is never quite sure whether the menace is real or imagined until the end.) There's Haunted Horror of which Ghost stories are a further subgenre, though not all Ghost stories are Horror. And those are only a few subgenres of many.

    So without knowing anything about the nature of the menace in your story—internal or external—and how it manifests and what your setting is, it's difficult to help you find your subgenre.
    Resources for Promoting on AbsoluteWrite:


  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Spy_on_the_Inside's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    693
    One thing I have noticed since I started publishing horror is that people expect it to have some sort of supernatural element. If a story is something that could conceivably happen in real life, people don't see it as horror or call it horror. It's a mystery or suspense/thriller.

    I thought it was just pretension by people who didn't want to admit that they write horror, but I'm learning that even people who publish horror don't fully consider these types of stories horror. That is what I have notice a lot more in whether or not a story is considered horror, rather than if it is gory or violent.
    Check out my latest story, Auntie_lena314, in the May issue of Tales from the Canyons of the Damned
    Currently seeking a beta reader/swap partner for short stories. Read post here

  7. #7
    I write at work... Girlsgottawrite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    235
    Quote Originally Posted by Ari Meermans View Post
    Willie mentioned that horror is a "broad church" and it is. There are a number of subgenres with a certain fluidity in categorizing because of overlap with other subgenres and genres. The gore you mentioned is found in Splatterpunk or Splatter Horror. jwhite1979 mentioned Lovecraftian which is also called Cosmic Horror. Gothic Horror is descriptive of tone, atmosphere, and setting and often overlaps with Romance. Then there's Apocalyptic Horror (Stephen King's The Stand is an example.) There's Psychological Horror characterized by paranoia, suspicion, and possible descent into madness. (Your reader is never quite sure whether the menace is real or imagined until the end.) There's Haunted Horror of which Ghost stories are a further subgenre, though not all Ghost stories are Horror. And those are only a few subgenres of many.

    So without knowing anything about the nature of the menace in your story—internal or external—and how it manifests and what your setting is, it's difficult to help you find your subgenre.
    This is a really helpful list!

    I've never associated horror with gore, but as Spy said, I do tend to think of it as having some sort of supernatural / fantastical element which is why I sometimes find it difficult to differentiate horror from fantasy.

  8. #8
    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Not where you last saw me.
    Posts
    12,073
    Quote Originally Posted by Girlsgottawrite View Post
    This is a really helpful list!

    I've never associated horror with gore, but as Spy said, I do tend to think of it as having some sort of supernatural / fantastical element which is why I sometimes find it difficult to differentiate horror from fantasy.
    That list is quite tiny and I chose those items only as easier examples.

    With regard to how Horror differs from Fantasy in the use of supernatural or fantastical elements: For me, it's simply that the supernatural or fantastical element(s) must tap into our deepest, most primal fear(s) and cause dread if not downright terror for it to be Horror. Others may have a better definition.

    While many (maybe even most) Horror stories today contain an explained supernatural or fantastical element, it isn't a requirement. Terror can be found by looking at the unexplained "what-if" in the mundane as well. Richard Matheson excelled at finding the uncanny, the weird, the abnormal which inspires terror in everyday events and things, as did Ray Bradbury. Stephen King's good at doing so, too.
    Resources for Promoting on AbsoluteWrite:


  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW ixorv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by Ari Meermans View Post
    Willie mentioned that horror is a "broad church" and it is. There are a number of subgenres with a certain fluidity in categorizing because of overlap with other subgenres and genres. The gore you mentioned is found in Splatterpunk or Splatter Horror. jwhite1979 mentioned Lovecraftian which is also called Cosmic Horror. Gothic Horror is descriptive of tone, atmosphere, and setting and often overlaps with Romance. Then there's Apocalyptic Horror (Stephen King's The Stand is an example.) There's Psychological Horror characterized by paranoia, suspicion, and possible descent into madness. (Your reader is never quite sure whether the menace is real or imagined until the end.) There's Haunted Horror of which Ghost stories are a further subgenre, though not all Ghost stories are Horror. And those are only a few subgenres of many.
    This is an excellent summary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spy_on_the_Inside View Post
    One thing I have noticed since I started publishing horror is that people expect it to have some sort of supernatural element. If a story is something that could conceivably happen in real life, people don't see it as horror or call it horror. It's a mystery or suspense/thriller.
    I would definitely see a story about a serial killer on the loose, as horror (even without the gore). Especially with Ari's definition below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari Meermans View Post
    With regard to how Horror differs from Fantasy in the use of supernatural or fantastical elements: For me, it's simply that the supernatural or fantastical element(s) must tap into our deepest, most primal fear(s) and cause dread if not downright terror for it to be Horror. Others may have a better definition.
    This works for me.


    So, to ask the obvious... If I have a very detailed outline of a hero's journey against malevolent fantastical forces. If stylistically I focus on the adventure it's (in a broad sense) fantasy, but if I focus on the fear and horror (ceewutididthar) then it's (again, broadly) in the horror genre? Right?

    Cause that makes perfect sense to me. Thank you all for your fantastic explanations.

  10. #10
    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Not where you last saw me.
    Posts
    12,073
    Quote Originally Posted by ixorv View Post
    So, to ask the obvious... If I have a very detailed outline of a hero's journey against malevolent fantastical forces. If stylistically I focus on the adventure it's (in a broad sense) fantasy, but if I focus on the fear and horror (ceewutididthar) then it's (again, broadly) in the horror genre? Right?
    Depends. If your intent is to scare the bejesus out of your readers by enhancing a fear or dread or instilling a new one—and your execution supports that intent—it'll probably qualify as horror. Bonus points if it causes your readers to avoid storm drains (thanks, S. King) or oozing liquids (thanks, W. Meikle) or dread taking a shower when alone in the house (thanks, A. Hitchcock) for the rest of their natural lives. Yeah, big time bonus points for anything like those.
    Resources for Promoting on AbsoluteWrite:


  11. #11
    Been Here A While Feidb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    605
    Horror just has to be horrifying, scary. You can do that without gore. There's a trend for gore and splatter, splatterpunk or how many other names you now have for it. None of it is necessary. You can have the creep factor, the scare factor, or just the horror factor without a drop of blood. Just the suggestion of such things is all it takes. You don't need the instant gratification which seems to be expected now from many people.

    On the other hand, you can also bore a lot of readers if you don't get to the point with said suggestions or creep factor as well. Better make it damned interesting, the story better move, and stuff needs to happen or you're going to lose the reader.

    I can go either way, gore or suggestion, as long as the story moves and is not too literary. Personal choice. My writing has some gore but I don't overdo it. There are gory parts, but they're not the main focus, the story is. They're just the aftereffects of the "icky bug" (monster, bad guy, entity) doing it's thing. The focus is on the good guys overcoming the obstacles and prevailing in the end. The creepiness is in discovering the icky bug exists, how the icky bug develops, discovering the first corpses, the big battle at the end, etc.

    You can write a story with suggestions and threats, but never actually show any of it. Some might call it boring, while others might get scared out of their pants. It all depends on how you grab their attention and keep it until the end.

    Action/Adventure/Thriller
    Icky Bug (Horror)
    Fantasy (D&D plot driven)
    Science Fiction Thriller

    Web site: http://www.fredrayworth.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeleenasAdv...homepage_panel
    Twitter: @FredRayworth_Writer

    Rejections as of Dec 10, 2015 = 689
    Good icky bug is a monster that eats half the characters, they say f***k a lot, and there is gratuitous sex that has nothing to do with the plot! LOL.
    Seriously, Treasure Of The Umbrunna (fantasy) Out now!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search