Earlier this year I was moaning about my dissatisfaction with contemporary horror fiction. It was a bit of an inarticulate thrash around the subject to be honest. I just wasn’t able to put my finger on why I rarely found horror fiction never to be satisfying. Thank goodness, then, for Nina Allen.
Over on her own blog, Nina has been talking about a similar dissatisfaction and, not only has she netted the elusive creature, she’s neatly dissected it and nailed it to a board. I’m not going to repeat everything that Nina says here, but I pretty much agree with it all. Yes, I see a lot of movie tropes attempted in prose fiction and, no, it doesn’t work. Absolutely, when I start reading a horror story that has been written for the purposes of being Horror, I’m 90% sure it’s not going to work for me. And, without question, Zombie is the single most disturbing book I’ve read in years. It places you so effectively in the mind set of a genuine psychopath that you start not only to feel pity but to identify with their motives. And, at its darkest, it’s also funny as hell.
Horror fiction has the potential to be explosively powerful and viscerally emotional, and can instigate the deepest, least comfortable kind of self-examination. When it’s done well. Which is why I’m really looking forward to Nina’s new stories.
3 thoughts on “Horror, Eureka!”
Ooh. I read and enjoyed her piece the other day and was thinking of writing about it on my blog too. Maybe now I will. I largely agree with both her and your post.
Well, my post was largely just to say: YES! THAT’S IT EXACTLY! But it’s so true. There’s no point in setting out to write a Horror story unless you mean to lampoon Horror in some way. Start out with the intention to write a story about people in whose lives horrific things occur and you’ll have a chance.
I’d love to read your thoughts on the subject, Lynda.