A story is a short narrative of imaginary events, which presents a small group of characters and appeals to the economy of narrative resources to develop a plot that is not too complex.
Terror, on the other hand, is the most intense feeling of fear, where the individual can no longer think rationally. Terror can lead to cold sweats, muscle paralysis, and even death from cardiac arrest.
A horror story, therefore, is a literary story that tries to generate feelings of fear in the reader. For this, it presents stories linked to the most frightening themes for human beings, such as death, diseases, crimes, natural catastrophes, spirits and supernatural beasts.
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The horror story can have a moralizing purpose, that is, to scare the reader so that he avoids certain behaviors or acts. In other cases, the horror story is nothing more than an aesthetic exercise that seeks, like any literary work, an effect on whoever reads it.
Supernatural creatures and assassins are frequent characters in horror stories.
References of the horror story
Among the greatest exponents of the horror story are the Americans Edgar Allan Poe ( 1809-1849 ), HP Lovecraft ( 1890-1937 ) and Stephen King ( 1947 ), and the Frenchman Guy de Maupassant ( 1850-1893 ).
In the case of Poe, many of his stories have remained in the history of the genre. “The black cat”, “Ligeia”, “The fall of the house of Usher”, “The barrel of amontillado”, “Berenice”, “The truth about the case of Mr. Valdemar”, “The tell-tale heart” and “The portrait oval” are some of his main stories.
The American Edgar Allan Poe is one of the emblems of the horror story.
Keys of this type of stories
When writing a horror story, it is important to keep in mind that there are four basic elements to cause fear in the reader, they are:
* Transgress the everyday : it is necessary that in the story a certain event takes place that breaks with the daily harmony of the protagonist(s), violently modifying their existence;
* Approaching the unknown : this event must be related to something that causes a certain uncertainty, a surprise that is not pleasant and, above all, that cannot be explained by reason;
* Use supernatural elements : that fact, inexplicable through reason, must have supernatural characteristics. It will not necessarily be a ghost, it may even be related to human attitudes that are difficult to understand by a normal mind: homicides, despicable acts, etc. The story must motivate the reader to dehumanize the individual, because through his way of understanding the world he will never be able to discern its essence;
* Highlight the condition of mortals : this is one of the elements that works best in texts; take the protagonists to the ultimate limit so that they are aware of their mortality, of their inability to survive everything, questioning their survival in the face of the horror they must face. It is not that this entity necessarily wants to kill the protagonist, but perhaps it approaches him to warn him that he is going to die or to kill one of his loved ones or even all of humanity.
Lovecraft, the horror story and the necronomicon
Surely one of the most unquestionable names in horror literature is the American Howard P. Lovecraft, who has not only created a unique universe within the genre but has known how to renew it with a terror that tends more to psychological traumas and hallucinations and that it prevents us from fully understanding what is real and what is the product of the imagination.
One of Lovecraft’s most impressive creations is his Necronomicon, a magical book that appears in many of his writings.
According to the etymology of the word, the necronomicon is the book that contains everything related to the laws of the dead. It is a series of arcane knowledge of magic that, when absorbed by a person, leads them to madness and later to death. In its pages there are tips to contact certain supernatural entities that possess great power and bring them into the world so that they rule over it.
This book, a product of Lovecraft’s literary universe, has become very famous. Not only does it appear in most of this author’s stories, but it has also been used by other writers to give their works that unique horror ingredient that Lovecraft’s work has; among these writers are August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith, who have always called themselves Lovecraftians.