Stephen Graham Jones
I attended a writing workshop Saturday with Horror Author, Stephen Graham Jones, who has nearly half a dozen books coming out in the next year and teaches a class on zombies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
How cool would that class be?
He recently did an interview about zombies with US News & World Report in light of the new World War Z movie and discusses the nature of zombies and whether or not WWZ stands up to the zombie genre.
As a writer, he isn’t a scheduled, plotter type.
He likes Apple Pages to help him keep his work organized between computers.
The following are questions he was answered to stimulate thoughts about the horror genre and how it might be incorporated into other genres.
What is your favorite horror?
Mine is The Shining. Most people seem to pick Stephen King.
He’s good too but my daddy made me lock him outside the house when I was in Middle School.
So, there ya go.
Revulsion is a delivery service to the horror.
Where thrillers evoke a rational fear of something potentially real; horror evokes an irrational fear of something not potentially real.
Why do we watch or read horror?
We want to think about how we would handle the situation.
It keeps us on edge in a good way … that “safe” adrenaline rush.
That’s why I watch it or read it.
Suspense is the anticipation of the convergence of two ideas. We see one thing and we see another and waiting for them to get together keeps readers on edge.
What emotions are evoked in horror?
Dread and fear.
Dread is anticipation of something that is going to happen, whereas fear is an emotional response.
I’m rationally not afraid of the book, movie or story.
But I do dread watching or reading what’s going to happen and then am thrilled with the adrenaline rush it brings.
Juxtaposition is key to the emotional response. For instance, an innocent child actually being the monster.
What type of characters can be used in horror?
Two dimensional characters work well as long as they are realistic enough for the reader to engage.
A lot of times, those caricatures allow the reader to identify in some way with them.
Everyone has a dad or a mom or a best friend who might be one of the main characters.
How would your dad handle the inevitable slashing?
First horror movie I ever saw was The Shining and it continues to haunt me today.
But my goal is evoke that strong an emotion with my writing.
Even if you aren’t chopping bodies up, the tension, anticipation and adrenaline found in horror writing can easily be tapped into your work.
Consider realistic characters, juxtaposition and anticipation of events and turn them all on their head.
Check out his site for more information from the workshop.