To Read Between the Lines: Help! What am I writing?


How many times have you started to write a story and wondered quietly to yourself what genre your story falls in? None…not even secretly? Yes…I thought so, me too.

Since you are reading this from the Horror Tree; I take it that you love to read and write horror.  Is that an obvious observation? Nope, it’s not.

As an author, I run a writing group at my local library.  It wasn’t all that long ago that one of my members, though a very good and successful writer asked me to read her story and try to decipher what genre it is.  I said it was horror/fantasy.

It is easy to get mixed up between genre’s, especially when they are so close to each other. Particularly Horror, Fantasy and Sci- fi.

When Bram Stoker decided to write Dracula, do you think he was writing a horror novel or a dark fantasy? Bearing in mind that vampires don’t exist, not in the human world anyway? He could have been trying to write a science fiction novel, after all there are animals out there that feed on the blood of others and as seen as anything to do with animals is classed a science surly putting a fictional balance on it we could call Dracula a horror/ Fantasy/Sci – Fi novel.

Science Fiction has to stay on the trajectory of real science. One hundred years ago people really believed that there were little green men that lived on Mars – welcome HG Wells and War of the Worlds.

What about Star Trek, they had hand held devices in which they used for communication – hello – Mobile phones.

Jules Verne and 20,000 leagues under the Sea.  What was that about, let’s see…a underwater ship…now let’s see – welcome the nuclear submarine.  You get my drift, right?

Horror can either be the genre or the element of a story.

Can anyone here think of anything more scary than the prospect of the end of the world? Could you ever think of putting this terrifying concept into a comedy? No? Douglas Adams did in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Again Sci -fi.

Am I confusing you yet?

All these questions, all these genre’s, OMG, how am I ever going to write another story again and know exactly what I am writing…aaaarh?!

Look at the history of the Genre.

Sci – Fi has to be on the trajectory of real Science.

Fantasy includes all of those characters that are NOT real…i.e monsters, dragons, fairies, wizards, werewolves, vampires, etc.

Horror scares the hell out of you. A haunted house, a man with a chainsaw and a mask trying to kill everyone because he was not hugged enough as a child.  A dead neighbour that comes back to life to take revenge on the people that killed him.

It does not take a genius to figure out that the people who originally came up with the idea’s of these three genre’s started their works a million miles away from one another.

Next week, I would like to speak to a writer that writes in these three genres and get his/her point of view. I would also like to hear your views. You can contact me via my website



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