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8.28.2007

Talking Horror

Two questions: What is the next big thing in horror fiction?

Also, what type of horror writer are you? Do you go for the splatter side of things, or do you prefer to give your reader the creeps?

With the announcement of Justin Cronin's three-book deal for an apocalyptic vampire deal (Agent Lori Perkins nicely details the deal here-second post from the top), I think it's kind of fun to attempt our predictions of the next big trend in horror fiction. Zombies have been strong over the last decade or so, and I'm noticing more trade paperbacks leaning toward supernatural splatter (just finished Brian Keene's Ghoul). I also read Ray Garton's The Folks this week. Ick. Well written but flat-out gross.

I received a batch of pleasant rejections from my agent yesterday, and one editor did say that he tends to purchase more of the "splatter" variety of horror. I wrote Bernadette back and told her I don't know that I'll ever write that style of horror effectively. I tend to want to create a sustained tone with my audience, and I tend to shoot more for the psychological aspects of fear as opposed to the visceral side of it (I never got into rotting bodies, festering boils, teaming maggots and the like).

I think of the division between lots of early Stephen King (although Carrie and Salem's Lot both buck this trend) and his later stuff (Bag of Bones and Lisey's Story). The early stuff was high on the gross-out factor, the writer's equivalent of the on-screen carnage in most modern horror films like Hostel and Audition. The later stuff points to the veiled horror that happens either off-screen or in the plot set-up. In my novel , when the Wendigo awakens to find a few hunger pangs in his belly, he sets off to get a bite to eat (or three). In the opening chapters, he takes a number of Astorians from their homes, and while I find this horrifying, I don't glamorize their deaths, nor do I use hyperbole in my depiction of the monster. It's his human form, the ghost of French trapper Louis Bascombe, that's most frightening. It's his gluttony and selfishness-and the act of cannibalism he committed that cursed him to become a Wendigo-that gets under my skin. Maybe it's just me, but I often find that when horror is executed well, less is often more.

As for my first question up there, I'm going to finish the haunted love story I'm working on, and then it's on to my ode to the haunted house. Only this won't be a house, it'll be an apartment building. And it won't be haunted so much as alive.

Neat.

What do you guys think? Where are we going, and which brand of horror fiction has a greater impact on you?

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