I have decided to write in the horror genre for my first experiment. I found this genre interesting mainly because of the context of my piece. I had to do a visual analysis for an English 225 essay, and the photograph I used evoked a strong feeling of terror. One of the first ideas I wanted to explore was how to write a horror story without using the clichés that have been done over and over again. However, as I researched more into it, several sources claimed that it is perfectly normal to use those clichés- that is, if you do it in a way that is unconventional and fresh. Part of this involved drawing from your own personal experiences and moving on from there. In my essay, I wrote about how Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s Threshold communicated a stronger argument about the current mental health crisis. As someone who has experienced mental health problems in the past, the idea of fleshing out my struggles and expanding on them in my writing was extremely compelling. Anne Rice, an author of the horror genre, explains that horror is more believable when the author is invested in both their truth and the continuing relevance of that truth.
One of my favorite horror novels is Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper. It is a murder mystery with a clever twist- the main detective Cassie Neill is a psychic. She can enter a killer’s mind and see through their eyes. However, if the killer can “sense” her presence inside his mind, he can “trap” her in there so she cannot escape. The main reason that this novel was so interesting to me was its incredible unpredictability. I was never 100% certain on any theory I made as the plot progressed. It gave the sensation of being out of control, a common but effective method in the horror genre. The common theme of psychic mind tricks also proved to be both thought provoking and genuinely terrifying, and I think it would be cool to incorporate similar themes as I experiment with this piece.
Here are my sources!