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What Hasn’t Been Done

October 2, 2008

In the horror genre, everything that could be done has been done. Bram Stoker brought vampires from the darkness to the light. Anne Rice gave it a new twist. Now, some magazines/e-zines won’t even consider vampire fiction. It brings a real challenge to horror writers like myself to find the next new twist. In order to do this, one must avoid the old cliches.

Willie Meikle wrote an article titled “Horror Fiction – Ten Cliches to Avoid” available at Fiction Factor. As the title states, he runs through ten common cliche scenerios in the horror genre as well as give possible alternatives. Sometimes the slightest diversion from an old idea can make all the difference. Examining my own writing, I don’t believe I’ve fallen in to the cliche trap yet (that I know of). I wrote a short story titled “The Phantom House” about a couple in search of their dream home. It was my attempt at taking real reports of ghost houses/buildings and putting a new twist on the haunted house idea.

I realize horror writers are not the only ones plagued with this problem. What are some cliche scenarios in your genre? Have you succeeded with staying away from them?

  1. October 3, 2008 8:03 pm

    I write dark poetry and a lot of people tell me that mine is different…which is good. I think with dark poetry everyone’s into the gore aspect of it where I try to stay away from that. Some gore is good, but there are other ways of getting your message across without body parts hanging from the ceiling. Mask it and put a new twist on what already has been done.

  2. October 5, 2008 5:44 pm

    I’m a horror writer here, and have tended to move away from the cliches of the genre and my style is now more entwined with other genres like literary fiction.

    I think the survival of genres is going to be in there ability to be influenced by other genres.

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