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Genre Writing: Story Crafting in Horror Movies

It has been a while since I wrote anything in the horror genre, and as a horror writer I feel as though that is repugnant. Which is why today I announce a rather new endeavour in my genre writing segment which has been on hold since October 2017 (where has the time gone?) You can read those previous iterations here to catch up.

Story Crafting in Movies

The idea for this particular series was borne from two thoughts merging into one. The first is my desire to watch more horror movies as a source of inspiration for future works. The second is the lack of horror content on this blog connected to the sad truth that I haven’t actually written any bone-chilling tales in a while – or rather, haven’t published them to the public.

The idea itself will be simple. Each week I will watch one horror movie and from it, look at the story and how I feel it was crafted, why or why not it worked (in my opinion), look at character and character development, and see what kind of horror trope it falls under if any. I hope to look at as many types of horror movies too, from the old to the new, from slashers to supernatural to psychological and all others in-between. I predict many nightmares in my future.

So Movie Reviews?

The purpose of this genre writing segment isn’t so much to review the movie, as it is to draw out the narrative being told. To see how those elements of story telling were woven together to craft the final work and how it can be applied to your own writing (or mine). It will also include segmenting it into some of the elements I highlighted in Genre Writing: Horror – World Building which looked at the following:

  • Writing style
  • Atmosphere
  • Fear Factor
  • Character Flaws
  • Twists
  • Realism vs Logic
  • Emotional vs Psychological
  • Gore
  • and Cliches

From here I hope to see how they could be applied to writing, and then hopefully craft a story for Friday Fiction to show how I would apply those elements into my own little flash fiction.


On that note, if you know of any horror movies (good or bad) let me know in the comments please, you will definitely get a shout out.

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About Nthato Morakabi

Nthato Morakabi is a South African published author. He has short stories appearing in both international and local anthologies, and has published his first book, Beneath the Wax, which opens his three-part novella series "Wax". He is an avid reader, blogger and writer.

18 responses »

  1. I gave up on watching horror movies due to a bad experience with one in my earlier years that led to an irrational fear of the tooth fairy for a few years. So for that reason I’m not the best person to recommend a film but I will however commend you on your approach to observation. I am learning from you and I hope it all goes scarily well for you.

    Reply
    • Oh I’m pretty sure I know which movie it is you’re talking about haha. Horror does have a way of messing your with mind, especially from a visual perspective, intermingled with that sense of paranoia. Understand completely.

      Thanks, hoping it goes scarily well for me too haha.

      Reply
  2. Good idea, looking forward to it. 🙂 I used to do movie reviews on my blog based on writing and writers, but haven’t done it in a while. Watching movies in the genre you write is a great idea.

    Reply
  3. One of the creepiest movies, and one that still gets me to this very day is The Sentinel. I watched it for the first time when I was 13 and some thirty years later, it still manages to get under my skin.

    Reply
  4. Check out the criminally underrated FRAILTY. Its structure is interesting, and it deftly plays with perspective. Great column!

    Reply
  5. My vote goes to Evil Dead. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. My favorite thing about horror movies is the atmosphere, I love stories surrounding the woods and the fog, both of which are nailed in this one.

    A bit graphic, a bit goofy, but an old school winner for certain.

    Reply

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