Ginger Nuts of Horror
Horror is defined as a feeling of great shock, fear, and worry caused by something extremely unpleasant; an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. Edgar Allan Poe is not only recognized as the “Father of the Detective Story,” with his publication in Graham’s Magazine of The Murders In The Rue Morgue in 1841, but he is also the first American writer to popularize horror and the macabre. Poe is also credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.
Horror is a genre of fiction which has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft, the master of the horror tale in the twentieth century, once said that “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
The components of a good horror story usually include fear, surprise, suspense, mystery, foreshadowing, and imagination. A good storyline will interconnect these important elements together in one way or another.
Fear is paramount to any horror story. Scaring the reader with fears they may or may not have (fear of the unknown) is key to writing a spooky tale. A strong emotion of fear sets horror apart from the other genres, and expanding on that fear can contribute to surprise. If the author can’t elicit fear in the reader, then the story shouldn’t fall into the horror genre.
Surprise is important in order to connect with the reader. If the writer can make the fear(s) a surprise, then the story will be even more exciting. Many horror movies rely on the element of surprise to terrify its audience. By tying a surprise to the end of a long suspense, the reader will stay hooked on the storyline.
Suspense can be used to keep the reader’s adrenaline flowing, especially if it plays off of fear. If the story is written well, then the reader will be afraid if the character is afraid. Well-placed suspense holds the reader’s interest in the story and puts them on the edge of their seat. If suspense is intertwined with fear, then it will keep the reader on a roller coaster ride. A suspenseful story is more often than not dependent on a good mystery.
Mystery is a strong element in any horror tale. Generally speaking, the more unknowns the author has in a story, the better the read. A mystery that’s not solved until the end of the book can definitely make for a suspenseful tale. Mystery and suspense can also be used together as a hook to keep the reader’s attention. In order to surprise its reader, a story needs a convincing mystery.
What’s the difference between mystery and suspense? Mystery contains one or more elements that remain unexplained or unknown until a story’s ending. A good mystery story showcases a given character’s struggle with different psychological and/or physical obstacles in an effort to achieve a particular goal or goals. Suspense is elicited when the reader isn’t aware of what’s coming next or what the outcome of an event or conflict in a story will be. A savvy author will create suspense by keeping the reader guessing as to what will happen next. As the great Alfred Hitchcock once said, “Suspense is the state of waiting for something to happen.” A mystery story reveals the major crime or event, followed by the protagonist solving the mystery of the who, why, and how of it. A suspense story delivers twists and turns before showing the crime or event later, thus eliciting a feeling of suspense in the reader. The enemy of suspense is predictability, which should be avoided when constructing the plot. Many authors are able to create a blend of suspense and mystery in their stories, thus providing a reliable way to keep their reader’s interest.
Foreshadowing is a way of preparing the reader for the climax of the story. By leaving well-placed clues in the plot and not giving away any answers, the author can make the mystery in his book even more enticing. Foreshadowing can be used as a tie-in to a mystery as it builds anticipation in the reader. An indication for the occurrence of future events, foreshadowing is a valuable tool for any writer.
Imagination can be a horror author’s best friend when used to construct the events, characters, situations, and storyline of a book. The reader can also draw upon their imagination as they conjure up images and visions of what they’ve read. When used synergistically, fear, mystery, and imagination are crucial to any good horror story. If the reader can imagine themselves as a character in a story, then the author has succeeded in his endeavors. “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” - Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
Why is it important to include mystery in a horror novel? Most people enjoy mysteries because it’s an intellectual challenge for them to figure out the answer to a puzzle. If the narrative contains a thought-provoking mystery, then the reader will want to know how the plot is resolved. A good mystery will leave clues that should keep the reader hanging until the end of the story. Horror is tailored for those readers who wish to have their imaginations stimulated through fear, especially psychological fear or fear of the unknown. Given that the human imagination knows no limits, a cornucopia of scary characters have been created throughout time, including monsters, demons, and ghosts, just to mention a few. The genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy are usually based on fear and imagination, which is why they often overlap each other. A well-written horror novel can uncover a reader’s hidden anxiety or deepest nightmare—the more mysterious the antagonist, the more effective the horror. Adding mystery to horror not only makes for a more interesting story, but it also heightens the fear. Horror authors know that keeping the narrative terrifying is a must for any tale of horror. A horror story without mystery is like a body without a soul!
About G.A. Minton
From his early childhood, G.A. Minton has always been a diehard fan of science fiction and horror. Whenever a scary movie was playing down at the local theater, he was there in attendance with his friends, loudly screaming in terror alongside them. G.A. enjoys many hobbies, but the game of golf is one of his favorites, having lettered on his high school golf team. Besides writing, he also enjoys reading, traveling, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, working out, listening to hard rock music, and watching great movies—especially those genres that encompass horror, science fiction, mystery, and comedy.
Strangely enough, it was only after G.A. was rear-ended by a drunk driver and suffered a closed-head injury that he developed a newfound passion for writing (even though this story has the makings for a bizarre Stephen King horror novel, it is nonetheless true). After numerous visits to a neurologist and months of taking medication used by patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, his injured brain slowly began to mend itself. When the damage to his brain finally healed, G.A. noticed something very different in his thought patterns. Now, there was an overwhelming urge, a compulsive drive to put on paper fascinating stories that had formed de novo in his mind. That’s how Trisomy XXI, his first novel and recipient of multiple awards, was born. One could surmise that the damaged neurons in G.A.’s frontal cortex had rearranged themselves into a different pattern, thereby enhancing the creative elements in his brain (a rare medical condition, known as “acquired savant syndrome”). God only knows… stranger things have happened! G.A. is now referred to as “the savant horror writer” by many of his friends.
G.A. has recently completed his second novel, Antitheus, a dark supernatural tale of horror that takes Good vs. Evil to a whole new level. Currently, his brain is busy at work, meticulously processing the text for another story of the macabre that will both entertain and horrify its unsuspecting reader. One of G.A.’s trademarks is that his stories contain an O. Henry or Rod Serling surprise ending that would baffle even the likes of the great Sherlock Holmes! G.A. lives in Texas with his wife, a son and daughter, and two Bengal cats named Phinneas and Shamus.
Trapped by a blizzard in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a group of clergymen attending a religious conference find themselves thrown into a gruesome battle with evil incarnate itself. One by one, the holy leaders are being brutally slaughtered by an unknown, malevolent entity. Facing impossible odds and running out of time, the survivors must work together to match wits against their deadly adversary. It’s an epic battle of Good versus Evil, with the winner taking all. . .the fate of every man, woman, and child on Earth hangs in the balance!
Conjured up from the vivid imagination of G.A. Minton, the award-winning author of TRISOMY XXI, comes a tale of unspeakable horror. Akin to Seven, The Prophecy, and Angel Heart, ANTITHEUS takes the forces of light and darkness to a whole new level—holding an unforeseen ending that will both surprise and amaze its reader. Prepare yourself for a terrifying trip into the world of infinite evil!
“ANTITHEUS is a masterfully executed story that will entertain fans of horror and stay with them for a long time. Couldn’t put down!” – Christian Sia’s 5-STAR Review from Readers’ Favorite.
“ANTITHEUS is written to read like an irresistible spell for fans of thrillers and realistic tales of horror.” – Readers’ Favorite 5-STAR Review from Romuald Dzemo.
You can find out more information about G.A. Minton and his books at:
G.A. Minton Author Website
G.A. Minton Author Webpage at World Castle Publishing
ANTITHEUS on Amazon
TRISOMY XXI on Amazon
G.A. Minton Facebook Pages:
Barnes & Noble link for ANTITHEUS
Goodreads webpage link for ANTITHEUS
I leaned closer to examine the designs and was startled to discover that they depicted, in grossly caricaturised form, human sexual organs. Yet this was no simple gallery of antique erotica, for not one of the organs in the pictures was shown to have a human owner. They didn’t even seem to have human skin: the phalluses were covered in interlocking plates much like a suit of armour, while their female counterparts – which more than anything resembled a maniac’s attempt to copy a diagram of the female reproductive system from a biology textbook – were translucent enough for the viewer to discern a tangled network of blood vessels and nerve fibres beneath the surface of the uterus. This network became more or less visible depending on the angle from which it was viewed – a singular quality which I spent a minute or so experimenting with. But when I started moving away to inspect the reliefs on the other side of the tunnel, one of those uterine tubes suddenly throbbed, and an unidentifiable black fluid appeared to surge through it…!
I was so alarmed that I dropped my Zippo, which stayed alight for a moment after it struck the ground. I looked down at the area thus illuminated and saw that the soft grass I had slept upon wasn’t grass at all – it was curly, wispy hair, sprouting from a smooth grey surface whose spasmic twitching beneath the naked flame suggested a monstrous kind of flesh…!
I choked with fright and ran, choosing to abandon my lighter rather than risk direct contact with that abhorrent parody of turf. As I pelted through the tunnel – following it around to the left, then to the right, down a slight declivity and at last sharply upwards – I commenced going ‘La la laaa’ at the top of my voice in a desperate bid to drown out the slapping of my trainers against that repellent sod, and clenching my fists as hard I could lest I became too acutely aware of its loathsome undulations. Eventually I was able to make out a patch of light in the distance which seemed too pale and bright to have been created by those hellish bas-reliefs, and the further I ascended the more certain I grew that it was daylight. Daylight! It was the first time in my life I’d ever been genuinely excited by the prospect of going outdoors.
The light was streaming from an opening on the right-hand side of the corridor, and as I drew nearer it became apparent that this offered my only possible escape route; the tunnel I had been following terminated in an impassable barrier of fallen rock a few feet beyond it. In view of this I stopped beside the aperture, which was more or less twice the size of a standard doorway, and cautiously put my head around it.
What I saw then was enough to make me doubt my own sanity, yet it was so palpably real that my first instinct was rather to doubt the sanity of the universe.
'The story I’m about to tell is true in every detail and you must try to believe it, no matter how hard that may seem, because it proves that my "impotence" was never anything to do with me not loving you, or not thinking you were gorgeous, or being a secret gaybait. It was to do with primal forces of inhuman evil.'
That’s how I put it to my ex-girlfriend. I’m not quite sure how to put it to YOU – let’s face it, you’re capricious – but that doesn’t alter the fact that you MUST read this book. Not only does it relate the full story of how I met and fell in love with the most extraordinary woman who ever lived, it also offers a genuinely plausible explanation for all the terrible wickedness in this world AND exposes a monumentally revolting cosmic conspiracy that implicates the whole human race, as well as several others you’ve never even heard of.
But I wouldn’t want to alienate you, so please try also to keep in mind that it’s basically just a lovely light romantic comedy for much of the time, with lots of droll observations about university life in the 1990s blah blah rites of passage blah blah end of innocence blah blah beautifully evoked. It only really starts to go all H.P. Lovecraft about halfway through, and even then you’ll need your sense of humour as much as your strong stomach (it IS strong, isn’t it? Oh do please say that it’s strong!). Moreover, I can promise – in fact positively guarantee – that you will never, ever be able to forget it...
Ginger Nuts of Horror and The Mega Liverpool Horror Con have joined forces to give you the chance to win one of three pairs of tickets to the event on the 7th and 8th of October.
Fans of the fear-provoking prepare yourselves, Horror Con is coming to Liverpool and it’s looking FRIGHTfully good!. Meet a range of authors, film & TV guests, and shop with a huge array of traders selling everything from prints to films and masks to movie props. View the exhibits and get your photos taken within our special features to enhance your day. Collect your autographs and photographs then relax and unwind, watching film screenings or listen to the panels and talks with guests discussing their previous and current work. This two day event promises no-stop fun this Halloween on October 7th & 8th.
Full details of the event and the stellar lineup of guests appearing at the Con can be found here
For a chance to win one of the three pairs of Tickets all you have to do is head to their Facebook Page and give it a like, share this post
Tagging The Ginger Nuts of Horror in the share so we can keep track of who is sharing it. The three winners will be picked at random and announced Thursday 14th of September.
Anthologies are not a new idea. If anything, they are becoming two a penny. Every week someone is releasing another anthology filled with authors who are hungry for their name to be seen in a book that they, wrongly, believe will be seen by more people than if they released their story on their own. If you hadn’t guessed, I am not a fan of anthologies in general. Too many publishers out there prey on desperate, mostly-new authors - give us your work for free and new readers will come flocking to you. It doesn’t work like that though, especially in this day and age.
There are few action stars as iconic or that have enjoyed as much longevity as Keanu Reeves. Although he established himself as a star in the stoner comedy, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, he quickly rose up in a series of brilliant action films such as Point Break, Speed and of course, The Matrix. About two decades after these legendary roles, Reeves is still at the forefront of the genre, partly thanks to the success of the John Wick series, which reminded many people why they loved him in the first place. To celebrate the home release of John Wick: Chapter 2, we thought we’d round up his greatest action roles from over the years.
I recently tried to explain to my girlfriend why I felt that a certain album was “important” to me. I gave it an off-the-cuff shot, floundered, lost my way, and then gave up without satisfaction.
It got me thinking: why exactly did I think of the album Panopticon by the band Isis as an “important” feature of my life? Why not just say, “It’s awesome”, or “It’s ace”, or any one of the other overused complimentary adjectives that I apply to the things that I enjoy? The conclusion I came to was what gave me the idea for writing this article: because, for every one of those 59 minutes of the record’s playing time, Panopticon takes me away from the horror.
This isn’t going to be a journalistic article, where I describe the band’s intentions, the album’s concept or where it hit in the Billboard charts; it’s simply going to be my own personal reflection of what will no doubt be my lifelong love for 7 pieces of devastatingly affecting music.
Curtis M. Lawson's debut collection is a menagerie of supernatural horror and weird fiction that drops imperfect characters into an uncaring universe, inhabited by malevolent deities. In these pages you will find devouring gods of the yawning abyss, Japanese demons who sway mortal souls, and digital hells of man’s own creation.
Follow into the darkness and walk among the gods of the Black Pantheons. There is magic where they live, in the emptiness between the stars.
I read a lot of weird fiction and weird horror. Since I was drawn into reviewing the stuff for Teleread.com and elsewhere, I’ve been reading it not only constantly, but semi-professionally. A while back, I was lucky enough to land a detailed interview about my own new book, and horror in general, from John Linwood Grant on his greydogtales blog, where I came out with some statements, largely inspired by all that reading, which I’d like to qualify and clarify. I also digested some extended comments on the interview on the Facebook group for Thinking Horror, which nudged me towards saying more...
Today's book excerpt is from R.H. Dixon's latest novel Emergence R. H. Dixon is a horror enthusiast who, when not escaping into the fantastical realms of fiction, lives in the northeast of England with her husband and two whippets.
When reading and writing she enjoys exploring the darknesses and weaknesses within the human psyche, and she loves good strong characters that are flawed and put through their paces. Her favourite authors include: Shirley Jackson, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Joe Hill, Susan Hill, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King and George R. R. Martin.
When not reading and writing she enjoys travelling (particularly wildlife-spotting jaunts involving bears, wolves and corvids), painting and drawing pet portraits, collecting skulls and drinking honey-flavoured Jack Daniels.
R. H. Dixon primarily writes horror fiction, but also has a set of three light-hearted paranormal fiction novels published. The Sunray Bay Trilogy is a foray into the whacky world of vampires, werewolves and zombies, each episode coloured by her cheeky sense of humour. (See under ‘Paranormal Books’ tab)
Her debut novel, Amazon UK Best-selling Horror Comedy ‘Slippery Souls’ (Sunray Bay Trilogy, Book #1), was short-listed for the Writing Magazine’s Self-publishing Award 2012.
If you enjoy dark, psychological horror – inclusive of disturbing nightmares and ghosts – don’t miss this haunting story of a father’s downward spiral into despair and questionable madness. 'When his six-year-old daughter Seren starts talking of a ghostly woman who visits her room each night, young widower John Gimmerick isn’t too concerned. After all she already has an imaginary friend. But when his own nightmares begin to merge with reality and when unexplainable things start to happen around the house, he realises that by revisiting the home of his childhood he’s stirred up things he’d tried hard to forget – as well as something that should never have been stirred in the first place. In order to save his little girl from an evil that speaks only of death, reclusive John must now face up to the horrors of his past. And what he discovers runs deeper and is far more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…'