All Things Writing

What is horror? What are the sub genres?

March 14, 2021 Bryan the Writer Season 2 Episode 8
All Things Writing
What is horror? What are the sub genres?
Chapters
All Things Writing
What is horror? What are the sub genres?
Mar 14, 2021 Season 2 Episode 8
Bryan the Writer

Back to horror. Horror, at least the term horror, really is an umbrella. It covers a lot of different things from the stories which make you want to close the cover of the book and put it down to the stories that cause you to sniggle wildly at something that should not be funny, but is. Like a plant, shooting its head off. That to me is impossibly hilarious. Now the implications of the story are essentially that planet earth is doomed as an alien plant is about to take over the world, but still, a plant shooting itself is hilarious.

In this episode we talk about the following examples

The Oddkins by Dean Koontz
Riapoke by Bryan Nowak
Crimson Tassels by Bryan Nowak

Gutted; Beautiful Horror Stories by various authors
Unbury Carol, by Josh Malerman
Cold Cuts, by Robert Payne Cabeen
Dracul, by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker
Paid in Full by Rachel Rawlings
Payable on Death by Rachel Rawlings
Literally anything by Ronald Malfi

We have come to an end of another episode of All Things Writing. I am going to take a week off and work on some more guests for you, but when we come back I plan on doing a show about pitches for your books. What works, and what doesn’t?

Remember, that if you like the show, hit follow so you know when new episodes are out there. If you are interested in sponsoring a show or shows, you can hit me up at my e-mail, [email protected]. Remember, that is Bryan with a Y.

Until then, thanks for listening, this is Bryan the Writer, signing off.

 

 

 

Support the show (http://paypal.me/BryanNowak)

Show Notes Transcript

Back to horror. Horror, at least the term horror, really is an umbrella. It covers a lot of different things from the stories which make you want to close the cover of the book and put it down to the stories that cause you to sniggle wildly at something that should not be funny, but is. Like a plant, shooting its head off. That to me is impossibly hilarious. Now the implications of the story are essentially that planet earth is doomed as an alien plant is about to take over the world, but still, a plant shooting itself is hilarious.

In this episode we talk about the following examples

The Oddkins by Dean Koontz
Riapoke by Bryan Nowak
Crimson Tassels by Bryan Nowak

Gutted; Beautiful Horror Stories by various authors
Unbury Carol, by Josh Malerman
Cold Cuts, by Robert Payne Cabeen
Dracul, by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker
Paid in Full by Rachel Rawlings
Payable on Death by Rachel Rawlings
Literally anything by Ronald Malfi

We have come to an end of another episode of All Things Writing. I am going to take a week off and work on some more guests for you, but when we come back I plan on doing a show about pitches for your books. What works, and what doesn’t?

Remember, that if you like the show, hit follow so you know when new episodes are out there. If you are interested in sponsoring a show or shows, you can hit me up at my e-mail, [email protected]. Remember, that is Bryan with a Y.

Until then, thanks for listening, this is Bryan the Writer, signing off.

 

 

 

Support the show (http://paypal.me/BryanNowak)

Good day to you and welcome to this next episode of All Things Writing, I am your host, Bryan Nowak. 

For a long time I have said that horror can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I think that horror got a bit of a bad reputation during the 70s and 80s where some terribly bad horror movies came out.

Also, there are a lot of times where I think people will turn their noses up at horror since they hate the idea they might be scared. Well, dear friends, on this episode I really hope to change your opinions about that.

I guess my own horror journey got started as a young child. I used to love watching things like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Creepshow, and my absolute favorite Tales from the Crypt. Still, some of the best horror out there.

Back then I just knew that I really liked the truly creepy and weird things. I loved that line in Creepshow where Stephen King, who plays the role of Jordy Verrill, exclaims, “Meteor Shit”. That was gold as far as dialogue goes. By the way, you may not know that that particular story was based on Kings short story, Weeds.

Okay, so I know what you are saying, “But Bryan, those are movies. We talked about this. This is all things writing and you talk about books. Remember?” Fear not dear listener, I have a point. You see, for those of you who do not know, and if you don’t, shame on you, behind every good piece of dialogue, narrative, or scene setting is an author who was likely paid far too little for their creativity.

So, that does beg the question, what is horror exactly. Before we get into all of that, I owe you my weekly segment on who is who at the zoo that is All Things Writing. While Jefferson Davis is credited with saying something like, “The South Will Rise Again”, here at all things writing, it is Atlanta, Georgia which is proving that to be true. They took the number one spot in terms of listeners. And it is like heads and tales over others too. Thank you Atlanta, I promise to get back to Fat Mack’s rib shack soon. If you have not gone, you really should.

In a tie for second place is our good friends in Columbus, Ohio, then Broadview Heights, Ohio which is just south of Cleveland and not too far from where I stop for the night when I drive out to Indiana in Elirya. And the good people of Chesapeake, Virginia round out our three way tie for second place. In third, we have a tie between San Jose, California, which actually holds the title for most shows watched since I started all things writing, but are tied for third for the most current episodes. Then we have Hanford, California. Lots of Californians on here. I love it. Then The Canadians at North Vancouver, British Columbia, and our good friends in Clichy, France.

It fascinates me seeing where the listens are coming from every week. It is gratifying to see people listening, so I thank you so much for that. Now, if you like the show and enjoy what we do here, please hit that like button so you know when new shows come out and you can check out all the past shows as well. There are quite a few of them, 44 to be exact.

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Back to horror. Horror, at least the term horror, really is an umbrella. It covers a lot of different things from the stories which make you want to close the cover of the book and put it down to the stories that cause you to sniggle wildly at something that should not be funny, but is. Like a plant, shooting its head off. That to me is impossibly hilarious. Now the implications of the story are essentially that planet earth is doomed as an alien plant is about to take over the world, but still, a plant shooting itself is hilarious.

The scariest thing I think I ever read was a book called the Oddkins by Dean Koontz. I have been perpetually looking for a signed copy for years. So, Dean, if you are listening, I would love one. Have your people get ahold of my people. Well, I guess that would be just me, but I digress. I would love a signed copy.

What struck me as so impossibly terrifying was the idea of toys with murder in their eyes. I mean, granted they were evil toys, but toys, nevertheless. But what made that book so impressive was how realistically I took to the idea of a toy committing murder. I feared for the good toys. That was insane. 

Again, that is what makes horror an umbrella really. Different things are freaky to some people and are perfectly fine to others. Case in point, there are people out there who are terrified by the works of Dean Koontz. I find them relatively tame. Some people would consider him horror, but I would not. There are people who find Stephen King to be tame.

An interesting side note, my own mother could not sleep after reading one of my novels. But my children read the same book and didn’t find it scary at all. By the way, my book Riapoke has found pretty much something for everyone to be creeped out about. That, as a horror writer, makes me super happy. It is not that I intentionally want to scare people, it is that I want to cater to those who like that kind of thing. 

For a quick review, my horror novels are No Name, Riapoke, and Crimson Tassels. No Name was my Freshman novel and really is something that I want to go back and fix some days. While it is not a technically perfect book, far from it, the story line is still amazing to me.

Riapoke is a psychological thriller with some monster elements. It is just freaky, and I have had people come to me and say that it would make an amazing movie. Crimson Tassels, really is a true paranormal thriller. Maybe I will talk about elevator pitches on the next show, and I will give my Crimson Tassels elevator pitch as an example.

I am about to dive into the different types of horror here in a moment, but I am going to go get some water first. Until then, listen to a word about Buzzsprout and find out how you too can get started with your own podcast.

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So, I promised, before the break to talk about the different types of horror.

As far as the Horror Genres go, they can be broken down into the major subs of Gore and Disturbing, Psychological, Killer, Monsters, and Paranormal; or Paranormal Thriller is what I prefer.

We know what Gore is where we see it. Gore is the true blood spatters on the wall, organs being removed, people being cut in half, and all that wonderful stuff. As a matter of fact, Gore can easily be looked at in terms of Torture, splatter, cannibal, and extreme. All of those are pretty much easily identifiable by their titles, but I want to point out that extreme has a lot of fun in it.

Those of you who have known me for a while know I love the anthology Gutted; Beautiful Horror Stories. It is a great example of the extreme horror genre. Take a close look at some of the stories and you will see how the sheer gore is mixed so cunningly with the idea of love. I know I have gushed about the story before, pun intended, but Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave, by Brian Kirk, is my favorite short story in that collection.

Moving on from there, I get into the psychological horror realms. This is where the heebie jeevies of phobias, paranoia, and sheer madness lie. 

This is a great point to stop and mention that there is really no purity here. Horror authors, I included, will take some from column A and mix with column B. In Crimson Tassels, I am not only pulling from the Paranormal Thriller category, but also the psychological as I toy with the mental stability of one of the main characters.

That leads, almost naturally to the idea of the Killer genre. You find, nestled under that books about slashers, crime, home invasion, which can also fit into the categories of phobias and paranoias under the psychological banner. 

Unbury Carol, by my friend Josh Malerman, yes the Bird Box guy, fits in this category sort of. Although Unbury Carol could also fit in psychological a swell. Under killer we also have the Bumpin/Redneck category. I don’t personally write a lot in that category. In terms of movies you can think of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Think car breaks down in front of an old farm house where a man and a woman live. And then the main character ends up strapped to a wall where pieces of their flesh are being cut off systematically.

I would also point you to the work of Betsy Ashton who wrote the book, Eyes without a Face. What I particularly love about that book is that it takes you into the mind of a serial killer who is, for all intents and purposes, not someone you would anticipate being a serial killer. It throws the idea of the traditional “Sterotypical” serial killer and flips it over. Totally worth a read.

The next major category to discuss is Monsters. I will argue that we can easily fit almost all horror books into the category of Monsters in one way or another. It just depends on how we view the idea of Monsters. You have classic monsters like Dracula, Wolfman, etc., zombies, serial killers, or you can have things like the unseen monsters that H.P. Lovecraft would write about. I am thinking of his story The Statement of Randolph Carter, which I consider one of my personal favorites. You never see the monster, but the way he writes it makes it clear that the monster is to be feared.

Monsters can include things like, animals in nature. If you have never read the book Cold Cuts, by Robert Payne Cabeen, you are missing out. It is an odd little book, but highly entertaining and will cure your itch for a wild ride filled with terrifying strangeness. Check it out, I will include a link in the show notes to check out the book.

I am writing a book right now on vampires. And you know, for this category to work, you don’t have to necessarily stick to one thing or another. My vampire, while sticking to traditional parameters we have come to expect of the vamps, also has a supernatural element to him as well. In the first book in this series, and yes it will be a series, I don’t really explain where he gets his supernatural powers outside of what you expect from a vamp. I will in the next book.

I would also offer up that the book, Dracul, by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker as a great offering in this category. Not only is it a great book, it also stays true to the Bram Stoker 

The last genre and sub genres we are going to talk about is my absolute favorite. The Paranormal Thriller is my favorite for a bunch of reasons.

To start off, I think it is the most versatile. There are almost no bounds to the paranormal horror realm. If you can think of it, you can write it. You want demons, ghosts, leprechauns, the devil himself, his under demons, supernatural powers, etc.

I recently reviewed Rachel Rawlings books Paid in Full and Payable on Death and those fall into this subgenre since we are looking at demons, Satan, and hell.

Even with things like ghosts and spirits there are all kinds of cool things you can do. For example, do you have any idea what hell looks like? No, well in this vein you can mine all kinds of things. And remember, that just because it is not traditional, that does not mean it isn’t good. I have always wanted to write a short story about hell being a place of nothingness where you are forced to exist in a world where you interact with nothing but are acutely aware of time passing. Perhaps a sort of Twilight Zone kind of story where the main character is forced to be by themselves for all eternity.

Of course, my own books Riapoke, and Crimson Tassels are in this paranormal thriller subgenre, but I also want to highlight books by Ronald Malfi who writes in this same subgenre. But there are no shortages of authors in any of these genres. You can literally find bunches of authors to wet your proverbial whistle on.

If you go to local book show you will be amazed who you can find out there. There are tons of indies out there who are writing amazing horror. Not only do you get to find some amazing books, but you also get to meet the author who will be more than happy to sign the book for you.

Well, we have come to an end of another episode of All Things Writing. I am going to take a week off and work on some more guests for you, but when we come back I plan on doing a show about pitches for your books. What works, and what doesn’t?

Remember, that if you like the show, hit follow so you know when new episodes are out there. If you are interested in sponsoring a show or shows, you can hit me up at my e-mail, B[email protected]. Remember, that is Bryan with a Y.

Until then, thanks for listening, this is Bryan the Writer, signing off.