Thursday, March 28, 2019

Jumping From Hearts to Horror

After many years of writing romance, I am now in the midst of creating a horror novella.

Is this a weird switch?

It might seem that way. Jumping from hearts and happy-ever-afters to horrifying creatures, death, and destruction, might make some folks scratch their heads and say, "What the hell?"

But for me, it's not that odd. I have always enjoyed a weird--dare I say quirky--bunch of interests. 

Botany, horror movies, puppies, science, art, comedy, nature, sci-fi, and the list goes on. Some of the things are cute and cuddly, and some of the things involve exploding zombie heads.

You get my drift.

My love affair with horror has been going on since childhood. Started with JAWS and Stephen King, and it just kept growing. I especially love sci-fi-horror (ALIENS is a favorite) and horror/comedy (think SHAUN OF THE DEAD).

Anyhow, I am finding the switch from Hearts to Horror wonderfully challenging as a writer.

Stuff you need to think about with romance...

1. Main purpose is creating a satisfying romance/love story. May include sex or not.

2. Character-driven stories are best. Readers will forgive a story that really has no plot if the characters are fabulous, but they will not forgive a plot-driven novel with flat/underdeveloped characters. Characters make the romance.

3. The relationship between hero/heroine drives the book. Pulling them apart, pushing them back together. This guides the story.

4. Book must end with satisfying resolution to relationship conflict, and a HEA (happy ever after). Happy ending, for those of you not up on the romance lingo.

5. Characters need to be likable or at least redeemable by the end. 

Different things to accomplish with a horror story...

1. Book can be character-driven or plot-driven, or some combination of both. I personally believe creating very strong, well-developed characters strengthens your story no matter what genre you are writing.

2. Need some mystery, unknown, question mark. In other words, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?

3. Suspense is critical. Author has to build suspense over the course of the book. Can be a slow build-up, or come in fits-and-starts. Whatever. Must be there.

4. Horror is critical. Can be subtle, or bash-you-over-the-head shocking.

5. Ending does not necessarily need a well-defined resolution. Could be vague, open-ended. Could be all wrapped up. Might be shocking. No matter what, the novel still needs to be engaging and satisfying as a horror story. 

My favorite part of switching from romance to horror, as I discussed in this blog post, is the freedom to create warty characters. They don't need to be perfect. They can be cruel and vindictive and really awful people. And let's face it, after years of creating "nice guys" it's pretty fun to make a warty character pop off the page.

I have always loved creating an alternate, paranormal universe (see my Klaus Brothers Series). It's so much fun to stretch your imagination and creativity with other worlds. With horror, I can continue to do this, just with more gruesome outcomes. *insert evil laugh*

Will I ever write love stories again? Sure. I have a lot of up-coming options on my current "writing menu" including YA fantasy, paranormal fiction, love stories, etc.

But for now I am digging into a bit of the macabre. Maybe it's a better fit for my current emotional state? Or the state of the world? Or maybe I just love Halloween? Whatever the reason, LITTLE SHADOW MAN is floating my horror boat right now.

For a sneak peek of LITTLE SHADOW MAN, check out this post.

Happy and Horrible Writing to all!