In horror-fantasy novels there is no such thing as a colorful world. They’re often set in bleak, unforgiving worlds, confronted by terrifying monsters that serve as worthy nightmare fuel. With plenty of slasher films, poltergeists, hauntings, possessions, serial killings, and massacres, bridging the horror and fantasy genre offers a new reach and exploration of more interesting narratives. It utilizes the worst of our imaginations as a vehicle to terrorize readers. Horror-fantasy, or dark fantasy, combines fantastical and supernatural devices with a tone that is eerie, somber, and also sinister.
Horror delights in scaring readers with probable and real circumstances. But merging it with fantasy stirs our imagination of the many horrifying possibilities there could be in the world: whether it is Cthulhu, sea monsters, or magical creatures. This cross-genre invites anything and everything that can happen. There are far more things we haven’t discovered in today’s world, and we may never know for many more years to come. And for that, authors would exploit childhood nightmares, monsters under the bed, and imagined worlds of fairies and other magical creatures with hidden masks and ulterior motives. However, horror-fantasy serves as a foreboding experience for readers without the threat of imminent death or gruesome imagery, unlike a horror-centered novel.
Joab Stieglitz’s The Old Man’s Request, Stephen King’s The Stand, and Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth are just some of the great works under this category. These cross-genre novels will thrill, terrify, and delight readers at the same time. Hence, unlock the mystery and revel in the art and craft of writing horror-fantasy. Learn from this post and be the next best-selling author keeping readers up all night long. Be a master of horror-fantasy and learn the secrets to success in one of the scariest genres of all time!
Explore the Wicked and the Malevolent
Characters in this genre are thrust into stories about unearthly creatures; some are transported to realms where witchcraft, demons, and all things preternatural exist without question. In this category, exploring the evil or wickedness of characters, deeds, and phenomena is a common feature. This sustains the sinister goings-on in your story and keeps readers guessing why unsettling things keep happening. All of this is to frighten readers as almost everyone is scared of the unknown.
Don’t Hold Back from Writing
One of the most interesting things about horror-fantasy is that anything and everything could happen. It doesn’t ensure that heroes all go home happy at the end of the day; rather, dumps them in life-threatening situations. Authors don’t hold back death from the characters readers like. If you can’t kill the main character, then you can still kill the second lead, the best friend, the lover, or a family member. Death is somewhat a part of life in horror-fantasy always used in service of a higher motive. No deaths are rare and if you have them, introduce a far worse fate than death. This is one reason why many read books as such because it has a tense edge that is usually missing from other genres.
Tap into Common Human Fears
The point of most horror-fantasy is to arouse fear, shock, or disgust, think of the things people are most commonly afraid of. Creating antagonists is extremely important because, without conflict, there is no story. At its best, a horror-fantasy taps into our fears by combining the ordinary with the unnatural and the grotesque. Sometimes the thing we are scared of the most is entirely the ones in our imagination, like scratches on the trees by something unknown. This subgenre extends back to ancient folktales centered around mythical creatures to otherworldly species and all manner of bad things. Not only does this increase the pace of the story, but it also creates tension and gives readers a reason to be fearful.
Be Creative With the Horror and Fantasy Elements
There is an overuse of vampires, werewolves, witchcraft, and sorcery—and at this point, it’s tough to do something original. Most books flop because the author relies too much on these characters to darken the plot, not giving their story an edge over others. As a horror-fantasy writer, it is your duty to try something unusual, branch out into something, and something off the beaten track. Keep in mind that horror-fantasy is about contrasts between the comfort of the familiar and the discomfort of the unknown.
All in all, horror-fantasy is all about weaving invisible threads laced with horror, magic, and supernatural through plots that enchant and terrify at the same time. Authors write these stories to make you question your reality. However, there is no defined step to writing this cross-genre. It is always up to you how you approach writing stories under this category. The methods above are only tips you can follow to write a tremendous horror-fantasy story.