Sunday, 15 December 2013

Horror without the supernatural

I've just finished the read through for my latest book (down to 109K if you're interested) so while that's with a couple of people for a critique, I need to be thinking about the next book. I've got the odd short story planned (one in particular I'm really looking forward to writing), an older book to tidy up and send to a publisher I'm a big fan of, and probably a month or two of rewrites for Pandemonium once I've got the critiques. After that, though, it's time for another book.

I've got the ideas for a few. Whichever one shouts the loudest will be the one I go for first. And while they're shouting, I'm thinking about what a writer like me can do with horror and all its wonderful tropes. Basically, I'm considering a horror tale without any supernatural elements. Take Stephen King's Misery. Horror without question. Nothing supernatural in there. It's a human horror, and as as that's the strongest, darkest and most frightening part of the horror world, it makes sense to explore it on occasion, but the thing is, you say you write horror and a lot of people assume that means ghosts and demons and monsters. It's the same for fantasy. That means you write about dwarves and elves and goblins, right? No. Not at all. There's a lot more to both genres than the obvious stuff. I love my ghosts and demons and monsters, but I also love using all the tools of horror I can find. If that means writing a book where we're the bad guys and the things we've done create a hellish world without anything supernatural crawling and sliming all over it, then that's where I'm heading.

Of course, if another story shouts louder, then I have to tell its tale. Otherwise, it might creep up on me one night.

In the dark.


  1. Sounds intriguing. I've never read Misery (don't hate me) but I've seen the film. And human-horror could be interesting because it would show how monstrous human beings often are. Just as long as you don't write any rude words in the book.

    1. The film of Misery is decent, but the book's better. One of his darkest.
      And I don't know any rude words.

  2. Lordy lordy, it's gotten bloodier in here since I last visited. AND I LIKE IT!

    Have I ever asked you how long your first drafts are? My first book was 135k, my second was 100k, my third was 85k. My first drafts are getting sparser and sparser.

    1. Good to see you again. As for my first drafts, it varies. First draft of current book barely clocked in at 70K. Substantial rewrites took it up to 112K. I cut about 4K for a final copy. With the book before that, I added probably 15K, but the one before that needed trimming by 10K.

      So, yeah, it varies. :)