Horror writing, Lesson 2 – Introductions to Horror Writing. Sub-Genres



Introduction to Horror Writing:

The horror genre encompasses many sub-genres, we will go over most of these in this part the syllabus. No matter which sub-genre you choose to concentrate on they all are meant to scare the reader. As the author you may choose to write in many of the sub-genres or just one, it is all up to you. 

Psychos, Slashers and Serial Killers:


This type of horror books is like the movie “Psycho”. A psycho is someone that is mentally disturbed, and they may be a serial killer, kidnapper, or someone who terrorizes someone in one form or another. They do not always have to be a killer. 

In the movie Psycho Norman Bates is haunted by his mother’s torment of him. He ends becoming her and kills anyone he has any interest in. This type of mental disorder is called Dissociate Identity Disorder. 

In the movie Misery the female protagonist kidnaps her favorite author and holds him captive to make him finish his book and the character she was in love with. In this movie she does bodily harm to the author to make sure he can’t get away. This metal disorder is called fandom. 

There are many psychological disorders that can leaned themselves to the sub-genre “Psycho”. As well as many types of horror they can be placed in. There is no right or wrong here, as the author you can make this genre whatever you envision. Who knows, you may write about a person who does nothing more than stalks another. 



This sub-genre almost explains itself. Here the author writes about a character who kills in the bloodiest ways. Slasher horror can be fun and daunting, it just depends on the writer. The killer can be either a serial killer or a one-time murder, but in either case it is always premeditated. There are slashers of opportunity or spur of the moment. However, most slasher like to take their time with their victim’s, it doesn’t matter if it is a one time killing or they’re a serial killer. 

Slasher of opportunity or spur of the moment is someone who usually kills out of desperation, like someone who kills for protection. They are being tormented or threatened in some way and feels like they have no other choice but to kill to end the torment. Their have been many books and movies where this type of slasher has been portrayed.


Serial Killers:

This is R.K.’s favorite sub-genre.  He concentrates his writing efforts on fictional serial killer. When he started writing there wasn’t any books out there about how serial killers thought. There were books out there on psychological profile, types of psychology of serial killers, but nothing on how they actually think. This lead him to create his first serial killers and allowed him to figure out their thinking process. Every serial killer thinks differently but they all have some of the same traits. Most have a predefined victim type, and the victim is envisioned as someone who has hurt them in some way. 

That is not to say that all serial killers are like this. In R.K.’s book “Time for a serial killer – A lifetime of murder” the serial killer has been killing for over forty years. This type of serial killer would be considered the perfect serial killer because he has no victim type, and the mod of killing is different in each murder. He kills for the pleasure of killing. If there truly was someone like this in the world, they would be almost impossible to catch. Each murder would have no apparent connection to any other, therefore making this type of serial killer unstoppable. 

The serial killer in your book could be any type you wish, be inventive in your creation. The serial killer you write about may envision his or herself as a hero of sorts. The may be killing to end the torment or actions of others. Like in the remake of the movie “Deathwish” the protagonist wife was killed and he becomes a vigilante. What makes him a serial killer is he kills those people who are drug dealers not only those responsible for her death.

Make the serial killer you write about what ever you want. R.K. finds this to be one of the freest forms of writing. It has no constraints other than the writer’s imagination

Monsters, Paranormal, and Aliens:


Everyone knows a good horror story that has a monster in it. Well, here we will talk about that in some detail. 

Monsters can make a great subject for any horror author we can allow our imagination to run wild or use some historical monsters for our needs. As the author it is all up to you on the approach you want to use. 

You may decide to create a monster that may have haunted you from your childhood imagination. There have been many monster types use through the years, there is nothing to stop an author form making a new one. Maybe, it will be a winged demon, a hellish creature, a pretty monster, an ugly monster, or something so out if this world no one has thought of it before. 

You are the creator; your stories monster is what you envision it to be. Some monsters aren’t monster at all, rather they are people. They may be pretending to be a monster or they themselves are the monster. There are no constraints as to what the monster is or is not, other than your imagination. 

Who says the monster is the scary figure of your story, you might have a human as the scary figure and haunts a world of monstrous creatures? As the author you make your monster as you envision it. 


The paranormal can be a fun to write or it can be a daunting task, it depends on how much research and work the author puts into it. 

What is the paranormal? Well, it is usually a person that has some sort of physic ability who use it in a malicious way, or that is R.K.’s understanding. Like all horror genres the paranormal has had its fair share of books, stories, and movie created. 

In the book Carrie by Stephen King, the protagonist is a young girl who has telekinesis. She finally lets it out when her mother tries to stop her from going to the prom, also when her classmates play a practical joke on her. This is most definitely one of the best know stories. The author here uses this psychic ability in his horror tale. 

Clairvoyance is another psychic ability that has been the focus of many horror books, movies, and short stories. In movies and books where the character uses their ability to torment others in ways only the imagination of the writer controls. The character may be able to read other people’s minds, control their thoughts in ways they make others do things they normally would not. 

In another movie Dreamscape written by David Loughery. In this movie people with psychic ability are taught to control their dreams and use this ability to control or harm other people in their dreams. These are but a few of the types of psychic or paranormal abilities used in this fascinating horror genre. 


Ghost and poltergeists are also considered to be in the paranormal horror genre, although they are a genre of their own. We will touch more on this subject later. 


This must be one of the most fun horror genres to write. Here an author has all the freedom they can imagine in creating a creature no one has ever seen. Aliens have been the figure focus of many horror tales. The depiction of an alien is as sub-genre allow your imagination run amuck and create something never seen. 

These are but a few of the horror sub-genres, we will go over each in detail in the video lessons.