cliches, Horror Writing

Cliche: The senses

Monster Cliches

Today I am writing to talk to you about monster cliches.

These three cliches can apply to almost any kind of monster, or a protagonist having to circumvent the monster in question. They are sensory cliches, and they pop up in a lot of horror stories.

Now, like with all cliches I can understand why they are used. Like, character cliches which are used to establish character traits quickly these are used as short cuts. But like character cliches which can work well for background or side characters that you don’t want to spend tons of time developing because you’re basically using them to make a point or be cannon fodder, sensory cliches can work well in small doses.

The sensory cliches are a bit different to character cliches though, while they are used as a short cut the same way character cliches are their shortcut is a shortcut to stakes not personality.

Sensory cliches attached to the protagonist will be used as a way to raise stakes and sensory cliches attached to the monster will be used to lower stakes. As they will always be used to establish a weakness for either the protagonist or the monster to exploit.

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Horror Writing

Horror Writing: Writing a Great Setting

What makes a great horror story?

Today I want to talk about a difficult question.

There is no one perfect element that makes a great story. It’s almost impossible to break this question down into just a few elements. There are lots of different elements that make a story a good horror story. Things like characters, are they believable? The setting, is it well thought out? Does the story tap into common fears? It is suspenseful? Is it predictable? Does it strike the right atmosphere?

There’s so much to consider that to do so in one go would be madness. So with that in mind, I’m breaking it down, today I want to talk about setting.

A well-crafted setting is crucial to a great story no matter the genre. In horror, in particular, you are likely to want your setting to be oppressive in and of itself. A strong setting will add a great deal of tension, atmosphere and challenge the protagonists in such a way that the characters develop and evolve compellingly and engagingly.

But how can we craft an engaging setting, a setting that oppresses the characters and adds to the tension of the story?