If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Unavoidable Genre Blending


I’m not a horror fan, but I find myself constantly running to Edgar Allan Poe as a reference in my writing. There are scenes in mystery writing that require elements of horror. Just as romance is a common element in mystery supporting a subplot, horror, I think, is the second most common genre that is blended with mystery. Not until I took a course in which I submitted my synopsis and the instructor commented on its horror elements, did I realize what I was writing. Consider writing the following scenes without an element of horror.

·      Your protagonist is being chased by the villain
·      Your unsuspecting protagonist finds a body in an unlikely place, charging the atmosphere
·      Your script includes the death scene from the POV of the victim
·      You present the mental state of villain, who is an unlikely murderer
·      Your protagonist realizes the identity of the unlikely murderer, someone who maybe near and dear.

When a writer blends romance or horror into a mystery script, he adds emotion. Mysteries are rather analytical by nature. The sleuth discovers facts, which leads him to supposition until he finds incriminating evidence or entraps the villain using a variety of methods. Action-adventure can be added, but aside from a rush of adrenaline, this ingredient adds little emotion. It may put a character in a dangerous situation, but when the danger is shown and experienced, horror techniques better demonstrate the character’s emotions.

Poe’s techniques are similar to what is now called “deep POV.” When writing a scene, the writer must get inside a character to show his visceral experience, real or imagined. Remember Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart,” in which the protagonist can hear the victim’s beating heart, driving him crazy. Poe shows his protagonist’s deteriorating mental state, creating horror within his character and readers.

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People love cheap thrills. Consider the concept of rollercoasters, which puts the rider in a position of helplessness and pushes the envelope of his physical safety. Near Halloween, thrill seekers watch horror films to experience poltergeists, ghosts, homicidal madman and demonic possession. Audiences are scared silly all the while being safely ensconced in a public theater or in their home. It is that anticipation, along with some hokie background music, that pushes people’s scare button and creates suspense.  

As a victim of a dangerous ride at a fair in my youth in which my physical well-being was put into jeopardy, I do not share in the thrill. I have no fascination with horror. But rarely am I attracted to books that don’t blend genres. When I find myself writing horror scenes in every book I write, rather than reinvent the wheel I depend on the originator, Poe, to teach me how to write these scenes.

What writers do you rely upon?   

6 comments:

Gloria Alden said...

Good topic, E.B. I am not a fan of horror books, but I agree a little horror in all mysteries adds to the suspence and increases the enjoyment of a mystery. I read over your list and realize I've employed all in my cozy mysteries with the exception of the pov of the victim at the scene of the crime.

E. B. Davis said...

Horror is a natural element in murder, I think, because murder is unnatural. There is danger evident. When I place myself in the position of my MC, in many different situations that occur in murder mystery, writing their reactions, capturing the tone and the atmosphere is so important to putting your reader in their place. I can't help but to turn to Poe. But, do other writers do this? Do you go to a story or passage written by someone that you've been attracted to because of how they wrote a scene?

Kara Cerise said...

I use Dean Koontz’s early novels as reference. I think he has a unique ability to blend the genres of mystery/thriller, horror, science fiction with romance. He is able to write dark stories and end with a happily ever after.

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, I like Dean Kootz also, Kara. I read his golden retriever series and really liked it. You have to suspend your disbelief, but I can do that easily.

Warren Bull said...

Steven KIng is another source for the use of horror in a mystery. I am influenced by Ray Bradbury in using elements of fantasy.

E. B. Davis said...

I love Ray Bradbury, Warren. I have to admit that I didn't think of him as a source. Some of my favorites are his later shorts that depicted real life sorrows--not his fantasies.