Coffin Hop: My Formula For Writing Horror

Why do people love to be scared? What whacked-out gene(s) is to blame for fake sawed-off bloody arms in the grocery store? Horror is more than an annual trick-or-treating event; it is a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to deliver people nightmares, paranoia, and visceral fear. I believe this is an evolutionary phenomenon, our innate way of dealing with CONFLICT.

Horror is all about conflict. Suspense, atmosphere, horrible characters are all elements of horror, but the real ingredient is conflict, because conflict creates dissonance (a state of mental discord), and dissonance triggers millions of years of evolutionary fight/flight responses in our brain, which fires adrenaline in the body. Survival is always the ultimate goal. Conflict challenges survival. Questionable means to survival is horror.

There doesn’t have to be a drop of blood on your page, nor one spooky house, tree, or even a killer. Horror can happen anywhere, anytime. Have you ever choked before? It’s a horrifying experience. No bad people, no blood, and it can happen in the middle of NPR’s Antique Roadshow. It is horrifying because there is major conflict occurring, especially if the character is alone. Or what about an insect infestation in your house that starts out small, but slowly grows until the insects are biting the children, which eventually leads to infection and hospitalization? Still no blood, no bad guy, no fog. But lots of conflict. So here’s my formula:

Horror = Conflict = Dissonance = Adrenaline in Your Reader = Scared Readers!

Good luck horror writers!

Check out more on horror at the Coffin Hop, over 90 horror authors giving away prizes!

October Treats

Halloween never fails to stir up activity in the blogworld, and their is plenty going on:

The Coffin Hop Horror Web Tour
This Halloween hop starts October 24th and goes through the 31st! That means there’s going to be a ghoulish amount of chances for you to win free books and other prizes. There are already 96 horror writing authors participating, myself included with my “Of the Night Contest,” and all authors are required to hold some kind of prize for participants. Don’t wait—did I mention there were 96 of us?

“Of the Night Contest”
Well, it’s not really a contest, more like a drawing, since all you have to do is write a horror/dark fiction flash (1,000 or less) and post it on your own blog anytime in October. Send me the link, I’ll post it on the sidebar of my blog for others to view, and will then include you in a drawing for a chance to win my new horror anthology, “Of the Night.” But if you’re too busy or can’t wait, you can download it on Kindle for only $0.99 through the rest of October.

Thrillers, Killers, ‘n’ Chillers Hellicious Halloween
Quick, time is running out! You have until the 25th of October to send in your best ‘hellicious horror.’ Expect some wicked authors in this showcase!

MicroHorror 2011 Contest
This annual horror competition is sure to entice the monster in you. THE THEME IS WATER. All flash must be 666 words or less. Submissions are open until the 31st of October and the top three winners will be awarded prizes. Check the link for more details.

If you know of anymore Halloween Contests, leave me a link in the comments section. Thanks!

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