Saturday, January 24, 2015

Soft Horror

I accidentally discovered a new niche for my writing. I thought I was writing paranormal romance, but that brings vampires and werewolves to mind. As I analyzed the components of Possessing Karma, I found paranormal and suspense/thriller attributes overshadowed the romance. Yes, there is still an emotionally satisfying happily ever after, but the mystery and threat implicit in the ghost story is dominant. A judge in an unpublished author contest classified it as soft horror and things clicked.

My husband teases me that I write romance at all. No, not because he undervalues the genre, but because I am not romantic. I don't believe in soul mates. I do believe that you choose your love and then love your choice. I have a very pragmatic approach to relationships and, unfortunately, that has shown in my work. He says that readers want magical love, of people being sure of their feelings, etc... and I don't write that. Love overcomes because my main characters choose to work for it. I try to avoid reader-eye-rolling moments, but in doing so I might be removing some of the fantasy that appeals to readers of the genre. That's not to say I don't tell good stories, but maybe I'm not writing romance.

That said, I just wrote a chainsaw accident scene into my work in progress, Touching the Past. If it's horror I'm going for, the danger has to be more prominent instead of simply implied. Yes, my main characters will still find love with each other if they can learn to let go of the past and trust, but the paranormal elements (psychic trees) is no longer benign. The external stakes are more dominant than the internal stakes.

My contemporary work is straight up romance. Now that I've identified my problem I'm not worried about being able to make the emotional/internal components be worth everything. But as for my paranormal, soft horror it is. 


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Soft horror. I think you may invented a genre!

We grow into a new person day by day, so we must choose to love the person we selected who also is evolving daily.

I do magical love with my Victor and Alice -- but that is because their minds merged momentarily when they first met. In such a contact, there is either hate or love at first meeting!! :-)

A chain saw accident? Brrr. Where is Bruce Campbell when you need him. (And if you haven't watched EVIL DEAD or ARMY OF DARKNESS) -- that joke fell really flat. Sorry.

I wish you the highest sales with your next book. Let me know what you think of my latest come the 2nd!

Bobby Hermsmseyer said...

Erin, it was great chatting with you! I'm glad you're thinking of changing category-type instead of thinking about how to change your book.. I thought that book was great! You go girl.

Bobby Hermsmseyer said...

Why does my computer think I'm Bobby!? Grrr...that kid changed my default settings!!!

Erin Kane Spock said...

@Roland - Got the joke. Totally love the Evil Deads. :)
@Bobby? - I was thinking, "Bobby read my book?" and a little awkward about it. :)

Stacy McKitrick said...

I would think discovering what you actually write would be freeing (and may make writing a bit easier). I've never heard of soft horror, though. I figure it's horror or not. Is it soft because there IS love in it? Or just not that scary? Maybe your books fall under paranormal/supernatural thriller?

Erin Kane Spock said...

@Stacey It's like a supernatural thriller love story. It's scary and heavy on the suspense, but not gory and still emotionally satisfying. The term soft horror was suggested by a judge in one of the competitions I participated in. BTW, I really appreciate you popping in here. :) Sincerely.

Susan Kane said...

I love the new genre. What a genius jump.

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