Shona's last post was about erotic horror and in this month blogging on genre I'll follow on with some thoughts on romantic horror.
When I subbed my first romantic horror piece I was told that no one reading a romance wanted to be scared - for this person, the sub-genre didn't exist. But a good fright should be able to end with a HEA. The key is managing both plot lines.
We're familiar with the romance plot ending with a HEA, but what about horror? Masters of the horror genre say there is no premise theme for horror.
Here's some elements that can make horror work.
- find common ground with the reader - use things familiar to the reader to create horror
- use primal fears - we all have them to some degree
- use a standard story structure - you'll need it for the romance plot as well
- like romance, horror is what happens while the characters are pursuing other goals
- use detailed description for horror
- funnel time
- deliver a final blow...and wrap up the romance in the final scene.