Aaron Hughes of Fantastic Review Blog liked my short story, "A Game of Lost Boys" (from Linger Fiction) so much, it's his story recommendation of the week. That's pretty cool. Fantastic, in fact.
So I've been thinking...and maybe because of the horrific outing my Chiefs had in yesterday's playoff game...
I don't care what "genre" you read/write: you are engaged in horror fiction. Don't deny it--I know horror writers often receive a bad rap, but the truth is, quite simply, every story is a horror story.
Since today is a snow day (yay!) which means I have to wrangle my kids (er, yay?), I'll keep this quick:
For a story to work, there must be conflict. Internal or external, implied or explicit, I don't care. Conflict has to happen. A story simply isn't a story without conflict.
Conflict creates suspense (will the conflict resolve favorably for our dear protagonist). Suspense is driven by fear. Fear is the central emotion of horror.
Need I say more?
Okay, Aaron, you might say, what about the Formula Romance? Well, the story revolves around the central will they/won't they conflict. The fear might not be Horror (capital H), but it is suspenseful, at least a little, or otherwise no one would read it. Suspense drives the reader to the end of a story. The best stories have loads of it, even where the big threat (death) doesn't exist. But I'd say every good story carries elements of the big threat...at least derivatives of it. If my seven-year-old is asking questions about whether Harry Potter ever dies after book 1, well, the big threat is there. Derivatives? Think lost love, lost family member, lost job, lost respect...all those "losses" are surrogates for death.
Something to think about while I sit in my nice, warm house, hoping the heater keeps doing its job as the world slowly fades to white.