Authorguy's Blog

oh, horror!

Posted on: August 24, 2010


When I started writing St. Martin’s Moon I had originally envisioned it as a mystery with horror overtones.  It’s about werewolves, after all.  The first line, the one I intended to write, was “Marquand hated turnover.”  Then I decided to make it a brighter line, which was my downfall.  Had I really wanted it to be a horror story I would have stuck with the original.  My instincts don’t go to horror.  I do mainly characters, and I realize my characters mainly through dialog.  Light witty banter.  Discussion, explanation, exposition, diatribe.  Horror is a product of setting, with dark and unpleasant acts committed in darkness.  Not my thing, I thought.

I’m rethinking.

I recently got several books of short stories, all because they had stories by Nina Kiriki Hoffman in them.  I was hoping to find another Chapel Hollow story but so far I just have the 3 novels ond one short story.  I still hope she’ll do more with Carroll.  Anyway, I’m reading these books, and one of them is quite a varied collection.  100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories has quite a few that are not ghastly at all.  (In fact there are a number that are very nice, with cheerful HEAs and everything.  This pleases me no end, since I can do cheerful HEAs.) 

Several of the stories have very little dialog.  This cheers me up because I do have one little story I was working on that I shelved when I realized there was no realistic way to put any dialog into it.  I was of the opinion that all stories had to have dialog.  By reading quite a few of these stories in a row I am broadening my horizons, expanding my arsenal, allowing myself to realize that the box I was thinking inside of was my own box. 

This is one of the benefits of being a bookseller instead of just an author.  I actually read most of the books my publisher produces, mysteries and romances and the occasional horror.  I like Echelon stories,  because they are mostly character-driven, which allows me to enjoy mysteries and such even though the type is not my favorite.  I think much of St. Martin’s Moon is a result of this, me getting away from the fantasy a little bit, although ghosts and werewolves are still a little close.  Now I’m getting even further away, by reading a collection, some of which are character-driven, dialog-rich, and some of which are not.  I mostly didn’t read horror because so much of what I found was either depressing or setting-heavy, but here I had examples of stories that weren’t either.

As soon as I get finished with Noisemaker, my contest story, I’ll get back to work on Yesternight and see if I can creep myself out a little bit.  In a good way.

Do you know of any horror stories that are completely dialog-free?

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1 Response to "oh, horror!"

Character-driven stories are what I prefer to read and always what I write. I’ve read a few books with amazing plots that have these wooden characters moving like puppets and, no matter how good the plot, I find myself saying, “So what?” There’s nothing to draw me in and make me care.

I drive my books’ plots forward with a lot of dialogue, as well. I haven’t read any horror or paranormal books without dialogue, however I have read a few that I’d consider literary psychological suspense. One author worth checking out who does this is Pablo D’Stair. He publishes his and other literary works himself. You can find him at: http://brownpaperpub.wordpress.com

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