By: Pat Verducci
This weekend I went to see CRIMSON PEAK. Yes, I love Guillermo del Toro, and yes, I was looking forward to being scared. The trailer looked amazing and was clearly selling a genre I love– Gothic Horror. Mia Wasikowska with a long blond flowing wig, wearing a white nightgown with gossamer sleeves, runs through a house of hell carrying a candelabra and screaming.
For me, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Part of the deliciousness of loving a particular genre is the expectation of seeing all the elements and conventions that come with this kind of story. With Gothic Horror, we expect many of the things I just mentioned. A young virgin, coming to a dark and creepy haunted house. Ghosts. A romance. Dread. In fact, during the period that gothic books peaked in popularity, they were called “Pleasing Terrors.” The genre combines the sensations of romantic pleasure with total abject fear (paging Dr. Freud!)
Whether you’re writing a novel or screenplay, it’s important to know your genre. Even if you’re writing a quirky story that defies most conventions, don’t kid yourself. You’re in the “quirky indie” genre.
Here are some things to consider as you write your book or movie…
Know your genre. If it’s clearly chick lit, or a romantic comedy, or action adventure, great, it’s clear cut. If it’s harder to pin down, think about it. Does it combine elements of different genres? If so, which genres does it touch?
Figure out the conventions of your genre.
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