5 ELEMENTS OF A
Some surprises come at the end of a long suspense. The best scenario consists of someone waiting for something to happen, and when it does it's completely unexpected. An expansion on the same scenario includes fear. We might even know what will happen to character based on their fears, but there's still the anxiety of waiting.
If things are constantly popping out in order to scare or surprise, we'll eventually grow wise to the act and find it less appealing. While King is credited as the Master of Horror, both the book and mini-series Bag of Bones let me down. Both the written story and TV movie series relied on POP-OUTS too heavily and too often in the form of a dream. We've all had terrifying nightmares before, so to live someone else's is a bit passé.
A better horror story is one that builds up the suspense. We don't just want minor chords and POP-OUT scary faces, we emotional connection with the characters and we want to live out their stress rather than face obstacles akin to a garden snake popping out from behind some vegetables.
Of course, a nice touch to suspense is a good mystery.
However, more simplex mysteries seem to be the breaking point. Whether small or large, we like not knowing a few things about a character. In general, horror stories featuring a group of innocents will wait until the mid-point or even the end to tell you what the main character - the leader in this case - fears. It will surprise you by the way they encounter their fears. And it will keep the suspense until the very end, at which point to mystery is solved.
Now preferred over mystery, spoilers have always been an important part to every horror element.
The main character freaks out at the sight of a spider, so you know they're gonna face one at some point. This can be positive anticipation with surprise and suspense.
You might realize there's a false sense of identity in a novel. Therefore, you suspect the narrator might be a little unreliable. This adds to every element, especially mystery.
But spoilers are the little nothings authors give away at the very start of the tale. Batman is Bruce Wayne. Freddy Krueger can kill you in your dreams. Fears, anxieties, dislikes, etc.
This study reveals people like spoilers more than anything else in a good story. When a reader or viewer knows something about the story from the beginning - a something that would traditionally be in the climax of the story - they are unable to look deeper into the story itself. Their eyes will be open to detail. This is like rereading a novel, only without rereading it.
I like stories that force us to pay attention to every word written or said. When you notice a focus item, you might expect what's to come, but there can still be elements of fear, surprise, mystery, and suspense.
My ideal story spoils how it's constructed, still holds several mysteries, keeps my suspense based on fears, and surprises me by going beyond tradition to create new views on horror and the way it can scare someone.
What Do You Like In A Horror Story?
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Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.