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50

Disabled people fear losing functionality as much as anyone else. Perhaps even more so, because they need to rely on existing functional parts more strongly than others do. What you want to avoid is putting a value on it. For example, losing a limb is awful and creates huge challenges in performing tasks of everyday living, transportation, and may require ...


35

Horror works on building tension. Humour breaks it. On the face of it, you've got two cardinally opposed directions here. How do you mix the two? First, there's gallows humour. Gallows humour doesn't undermine the dark tone of the situation. If anything - it drives it home. At the same time, there's strength in being able to laugh at a hard situation, which ...


29

Foreshadowing is your friend. Your example of Harry Potter isn't quite right. Chapter One is titled The Boy Who Lived. Now that's a bit ominous. Magic is hinted at on page 1* and is outright on page 2. "You-Know-Who" is first mentioned on page 5. By page 11, when the name Voldemort is first mentioned, we already know he was a danger and now believed to ...


19

If the torture scene is happening to your MC or your current narrator, instead of focusing on all the blood and gore which can make a lot of readers queasy or uncomfortable, focus on the narrator's agony. If your goal is to both portray the goriness of torture to send a message AND show your narrator's pain, and especially since you said yourself you haven'...


17

Seeing an axe murderer at the end of a hallway is scary, but not seeing them and knowing they're somewhere nearby, maybe round the corner, or maybe behind you, is much scarier. This is because, as you said in the question, the fear of the unknown is something that the majority of people have in some capacity. I wrote in this answer about the scariest scene ...


17

TL;DR: * Fear (or equivalent shock) followed by disgust -> horror * disgust alone -> disgust A significant effort in analyzing the concepts of horror, terror and sublime times back to the XIX century. From what I recall, they are connected to a sense of fright and fear, with horror being the disgust felt after a deep a profound scare. That being said, ...


16

Four chapters in, your readers should have an idea what they're in for. Not everything that's going to happen, but certainly a hint. Once you've hinted that there is darkness, you can skirt it, turn your back on it for a while, or plunge right into it as you see fit in different parts of your story. But it can't just show up out of nowhere more than a ...


14

As a component of "horror" it has a role to play - and it can be quite effective. On it's own? No. Seeing internal organs up close can as you say invoke a disgust/repulsion response. But context will determine whether we are likely to have a horrified response as well. A dish in an operating theater containing say an appendix that has been removed in an ...


12

Having a villain lop off an arm or leg ought not offend someone who either was born without them or lost them due to accident or combat. Losing limbs is not desirable. I have some disabled friends. One has told me on multiple occasions that he envies me my kidneys. One complaint I hear is people treat him differently. They treat him like he is disabled. ...


12

how can one ensure, when writing a psychological horror, that any supernatural/paranormal or just very unlikely element is not taken face-value? Keep it ambiguous Roald Dahl used to say that “The best ghost stories don’t have ghosts in them.” That means it's often better to preserve the ambiguity, than to allow the story to declare that something is ...


11

The Novel is the authors world and only his Personally I don't see a problem in mixing genres like that. I think, that most genres could handle a bit of mixing with other genres. What is so wrong about humor in a horror novel? If I recall right, the "Discworld" Series from Terry Pratchet mixed several genres and it is a pretty awesome series (in my ...


11

There's a difference between what might be acceptable in an academic program, to the specific requirements of the teacher, and what might do well on the open market. The plain fact is that the comedy-inflected horror series Scream, and its accompanying parody series Scary Movie (horror-themed comedy) both did extremely well at the box-office. The Addams ...


11

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with mixing genres. But like many things in writing, the issue is, do you do it well or poorly. Of course I haven't read the story you wrote for your creative writing class. I have no way of knowing if you did it well and it was a brilliant story and your teacher is a stick in the mud, or if you did it poorly and the ...


10

Also draw on that fear. I read in Jeff VanderMeer's "Wonderbook" about a concept called "writing from your scar," which could also be applicable to your situation also. Basically, it means drawing on those experiences that have left a scar on you (figuratively). You could apply this to your situation by drawing on your fear, incorporating it into your ...


10

Not a traditional zombie There are many ways to label this kind of creatures. Zombie doesn't quite fit, as they normally only regenerate once in the sense that they are coming back to life. But their bodies are still the way they were when they died and they normally can't regain lost limbs. Zombies tend to be quite dumb, too. Many opportunities depending ...


10

If you want to be PC, stick to symptoms of infectious diseases, where the sense of body horror would reinforce prevention and be justified as a mean towards avoiding contagion. As the OP suggests, body horror is about body transformations that go in undesired directions. Thanks to evolution, and sometimes thanks to human activity, we have a very large pool ...


10

All scenes have more than one thing going on. Scenes are never just a series of sequential facts, there are negotiations and compromises, misdirections and sacrifices – yes it's all scaled down to the one scene, but there is still the thing the character wants conflicted with the thing the character has. This is what the scene really is about. The horror of ...


8

Which is the primary focus of your story: the villain, or the investigation? Is the investigation a tool to learn more about the villain, or is the cunning villain a means to complicate the investigation? Is the duel between the investigator and the criminal the focus, or is it just means to display the twisted mind of the criminal in all gory glory? Answer ...


8

The greatest human fear is the fear of the unknown. What's more scary? A gremlin chasing people in the streets, or a moan that's heard every summer in the depths of a basement? Exploit this. I recommend you to read House of Leaves. There are no monsters, there's no blood, yet it's one of the scariest novels I've ever read. It's the story about a house ...


8

There are a couple of ways that might help. Do not be alone when you write. You don't have to sit in a room full of people. Just sit somewhere (preferably in the park) where there are many people around but not too close. Do not base you story setting on the location you are in. If you are writing a horror story about something terrorizing people in the ...


8

I would start with the same premise that Galastel mentions in a previous answer - that horror and humor are both about tension. However, I don't think they are opposed. In fact, both horror and humor rely on building and releasing tension. Humor releases tension with a laugh, horror releases tension with a scare. Both can also work with setting up an ...


8

You might find it helpful to look at the Torture Porn trope, to have a clearer idea of what to avoid. A work would be called "torture porn" when it appears to seek to disgust the reader/viewer while at the same time giving visceral thrills. Consequently, it would be full of "lovingly described" details of the torture. Descriptions of pain and agony too can ...


7

Seek medical advice. Find a medical or health care professional who will answer your questions. If you can't figure it out from a book, find a doctor, nurse, EMT, etc. who is willing to sit down with you for half an hour.


7

Doesn't all of this depend on what you are trying to achieve with your guts and gore? You might be trying to: Convince readers that a murderous character (or group) is sadistic, evil, callous, etc. (perhaps so that they want to see that character brought to justice) For example, if you are writing a story about a psychopath, your description of the corpse ...


7

As you mentioned, what a reader feels when they read about a gory sight - more generally, what a reader feels when they read anything evocative - is strongly influenced by what comes before. If you think in terms of horror films, the effect of the reveal is heightened by the tension leading up to it; it's why we have things like slow, lingering shots of the ...


7

There should be no problem with mixing genres. Genres are merely a publishing convention. That being said, some readers will dislike it, especially horror and humor. However, one of my favorite series is Charles Stross' "Laundry Files." This is horror with dark humor. It mixes world-ending horror with spies with the bureaucracy of the civil service with ...


7

To the best of my understanding, the main problem with the zombie genre is that it positions decay-disease-disability as non-human evil to be eradicated, and as a threat to humankind. (I don't necessarily agree with that statement, but that appears to be what the guy in the video you link to is saying.) If we accept that premise, the way to write more PC ...


7

Less is more. The reader will imagine enough horrors if you give them broad brushstrokes to work with. If I were writing this scene, I would choose to use the intermediary as PoV. The crone will be inured to this process and see it as but a necessary stepping stone to her ultimate rebirth as something so much greater. The victim will be terrified and ...


6

The type of mental illness the character is suffering from is important, if you want to be convincing. I agree with @what about doing research at the library on some case studies. But also important is, why are they suffering from this illness - is it genetic? Damage from a head injury? Addiction-induced brain chemistry changes? How does this illness ...


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