I’m very happy to introduce today’s guest poster: Kathleen Collins.
Kathleen is the author of the Realm Walker book series and is bringing to you her insights into what ingredients go into making a Horror story you can’t tear your eyes away from.
When I was asked to write this post, several different topics came to mind, but I kept coming back to what draws me into a horror film or novel.
Below you’ll find my list of the top five things that draw me in.
1) Someone to Root For
I need someone, or something, to root for in the story to keep me engaged. I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s the monster or the bad guy that I’m hoping will win.
In most cases I’m sure that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing but that just tells me the writer didn’t do as good of a job making their characters relatable as they probably should have.
2) The Unseen
This works better in film than on the page usually but when our characters can’t see what’s hunting them like we can, it never ceases to make me watch from the edge of my seat.
The best example of this I can think of if Thirteen Ghosts. If you haven’t seen the film, ghosts can’t be seen unless the character is wearing special glasses. So we, as the audience are treated to all these delightful, horrible images that people in the film have no clue are taking place.
3) Horror in the Everyday
What I mean by this is when everyday objects or events become the origin point for the horror story.
Stephen King is a master of this with stories like Christine, Cell, and Cujo. Even It had this element. While it was an outside creature doing the tormenting, it was the characters own imaginations that fueled it.
4) A Love Story
This relates in a way to number 1, but for me it gets its own number.
I like a little love in all my stories. It doesn’t have to romantic love. It can be the love between a parent and child or even between friends. But it raises the stakes in the story.
Suddenly there’s more to be lost than just lives.
5) The Unexpected
This is a big one for me. Some of my favorite books and movies have made that list specifically because I didn’t see some of the big twists coming.
I’ve watched the Scream franchise again and again for this very reason.
Though I’ve memorized what happens by this point, I can still remember the first time I saw each film and the moments that surprised me. This is what a good story is supposed to do.
So what’s a must have in your books or movies? What do you find sucks you in again and again?
About the Kathleen:
Kathleen Collins lives and works in Missouri. By day, she labors in the local prosecutor’s office. At night she writes while surrounded by her husband, two boys and two loveable mutts. She is constantly thinking of her next project and loves to connect with her readers. You can find her most often on Facebook or on her website.
Where to find her: