Monday, April 11, 2011

If You Plan On Surviving... - "I"



If you plan on surviving a horror novel, then you must follow certain rules. 


Remember in the movie Scream, where a group of teenagers gave the rules of surviving a horror movie? --Don't go off into the dark woods to fool around, don't drink/do drugs, and never say, "I'll be right back."  Then they proceeded to do all of those things and get themselves killed?  Yeah, I thought it was funny too.


In order to survive a horror novel, you must suspend any ridiculous notions you learned watching horror movies...

  • Not all serial killers are nearly seven feet tall, don't talk, and carry around gardening tools with which to disembowel you. Some are not only regular looking, they are handsome and charming and often talk their way into their victim's home.
  • Not every homicide detective is an alcoholic adrenaline junkie. Yes, the protagonist is usually unique in some way, able to do more than the average beat cop, but they are not all 'on the edge' of their own personal train-wreck.
  • Not all nightmares evaporate with the morning light. One of the reasons that Stephen King is such an extraordinary writer is that he lulls the reader with the benign everyday of the setting and characters.  Then, you know, a murderous clown rips your arm off.
  • Not all women scream hysterically, fall down while running from a monster/killer, and do so while wearing lingerie. My favorite character in horror movies is Ripley from Aliens. This is because she is more a novel heroine than a movie one. Ripley had substance...
She was clearly terrified and faced with a horrific death at the hands of a seemingly invincible monster.  She kept it together because she had no choice. Either fight or be a living larva case for the alien...I choose fight.


Characters in horror novels are with you much longer than a few hours. Because of this, the reader has to be able to see themselves in your protagonist's position, making the same decisions, rationalizing the same sacrifices.  


Some bloggers on this tour are also wonderful thriller writers. One of them is VR Barkowski. You should check out of some of her stuff. There is also World Horror Con and Thriller Fest for those that want to connect with other writers of this genre.


What do you find is the major difference between horror novels and horror movies? Which do you prefer?


Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by Dave Parker.

11 comments:

Angeline said...

I am a huge horror fan. But the thing that always bugs me is when the killer enters the house, why oh why does the woman always run upstairs? Where's her escape route then? The back door, honey, use the back door!

AllMyPosts said...

I don't know much!!!

I didn't read any horror novels to be precise!! but, in general I prefer novels and not movies!!! Ha

with warm regards
http://becomingprince.blogspot.com

Linda Glaz said...

Gimme either one. Since I love film (when done right) as much as the written word, I'm not particular, but love thrillers. Suspense mostly because I like to be mentally frightened more than visually, but gimme either and back up, I can scream!

Laura Marcella said...

Neither! I can't read or watch horror. Too scary!

Mara Nash said...

I don't watch many horror movies, though I guess I'm not sure what qualifies as horror. I hate the ones about stupid teenagers and anonymous serial killers. But I love the Alien flicks and Resident Evil. Do those qualify as horror?

I don't read much horror, either, except some Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

So I guess I'm kind of picky about my horror!

Susan Oloier said...

Much rather have the novel than the movie. I do not like horror flicks. Probably b/c those I've seen are so filled with images of blood and guts that they're not as terrifying as the books I've read.

Ciara said...

Ripley's my fave too. :)

Kari Marie said...

I love a good horror movie without too much gore. I haven't read a lot of horror novels other than Stephen King, but I think I should try a few.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Lots of patootie kickin' main characters out there. I don't read much horror either.

Michael Offutt said...

In the movie Aliens, I really liked the character of Vasquez.

Shiku said...

I just recently rewatched Aliens 2 and 3, and I definitely agree with you. Ripley is an amazing protagonist... you can see the fear on her face and yet she keeps on fighting.