What Is Horror Fiction

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Submitted By lillepigen2
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What is Horror Fiction?
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Before reading the text:
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- How would you define Horror?

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From: The Horror Writers Association.
(http://www.horror.org/horror-is.htm)

That's a difficult question. In recent years the very term has become misleading. If you tell people you write horror fiction, the image that immediately pops into their minds is one of Freddy Krueger or maybe Michael Myers, while you were hoping for Shelley's Frankenstein or Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The popularity of the modern horror film, with its endless scenes of blood and gore, has eclipsed the reality of horror fiction. When you add to that a comprehension of how horror evolved as both a marketing category and a publishing niche during the late eighties -- horror's boom time -- it's easy to understand why answering the question of what today's horror fiction actually is has become so difficult.
But let's give it a try, shall we?
Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives the primary definition of horror as "a painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay." It stands to reason then that "horror fiction" is fiction that elicits those emotions in the reader.
If we accept this definition, then horror can deal with the mundane or the supernatural, with the fantastic or the normal. It doesn't have to be full of ghosts, ghouls, and things to go bump in the night. Its only true requirement is that it elicit an emotional reaction that includes some aspect of fear or dread. Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is therefore just as much a horror novel as Stephen King's Salem's Lot. Tim LaHay's Left Behind series is just as full of horror as Dan Simmons' A Winter Haunting. By this…...

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