the art of this aspect of horror

the art of this aspect of horror

A Lesson by UncleFossil

explaining how to do the atmospherics in a story especially a Gothic story. More details are below and this would be something that will add to a supernatural horror story because the atmospherics are just as important as character development. The atmospherics also apply to dark tinged creative nonfiction too.


Writing the atmospherics isn't an easy thing to pull off in terms of Gothic Horror because every bit of this particular dlivery is not alike in many ways.  Atmospherics are what made H.P. Lovecraft who he was in terms of horror because he was one of the few people who wrote with the atmospherics. Richard Matheson did some of this to some extent too with I AM LEGEND and Buried Talents.   The atmospherics create the setting and the setting in some ways is also a character within itself.  You got the atmospherics, the rest of the things will fall into play here.  So I am going to give you, the reader, a little exercise to work with here -- make the story 2000 words and play off the atmospherics you create, do a combination of H.P. Lovecraft with the nameless narrator like Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-tale Heart. 

         If one can do a story like this and get some high praise for it here, they are well on their way.   This is not always an easy thing to pull off, but then again nothing in the world is easy to do.  Doing a fiction story with this is a damn cakewalk, but the challenge is with a creative nonfiction story using the same devices H.P. Lovecraft does with his work.  They say truth is more frightening than fiction in some ways -- using the atmospherics will help with a true paranormal account or a near death experience story.  This will make the delivery a little more Gothic in the tone and the voice.   Atmospherics work with the archaic voice,  not an easy thing to do but something that helps with the character development too.

        I will give another example and if you're from Chicago -- this is one that will be a no-brainer, set a horror story in middle of our Chicago winters.  Picture the character slowly going into their death when caught up in the winds of January sometime in the beginning of 1994.   The reason our schools were closed out then was because of the sub-zero windchill and any exposure to this would cause the human flesh to freeze upon impact of this.  Now take your word processor,  start with the first paragraph -- this is the start of the atmospherics, but take it to a level that one can't take it before.   Use the first two paragraphs for the character and setting development, then what you do is build upon those paragraphs for the delivery.  Atmospherics are instrumental in doing a natural disaster tinged horror story because you need the setting to be as alive as the characters meaning it has to be one nasty little son of a b***h to work with.

        Descriptive horror works well here, because descriptive horror helps with the atmospherics in a story too -- you do this style with a few stories then you will be getting the right idea about how to pull this off.  The eerier the atmospherics the better, some writers can combine psychological, supernatural, and atmospheric horror all in the same story while others can do just one of the three.  Now with an example being used in the short story,  In The Reflection Of A Lens -- using a Gothic undercurrent and the key thing there is in the atmosphere within the pages of a story as that one.    I want you, the reader, to create a story using the atmospherics of an unspoken narrator using the aspect to help create the device of atmosphere -- the key thing with horror is atmosphere to make horror a stronger and even more potent genre than it is now.


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Posted 3 Years Ago

This is good advice. Rhichard matheson is a chief!
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Joliet, IL

I grew up in the Chicago area and a long time Illinois resident. I am published and a publisher of other writers. This is where you will find my samples of investigative journalism along with my wo..