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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2016 > Fantastic realms: Shut the crypt door

Fantastic realms: Shut the crypt door

A new generation of horror carries the scares out of graveyards and deserted mansions and across genre boundaries. Author and publisher Alex Davis shows you how it’s done.

As a reader and viewer, I’ve long been a fan of work with a fantastical element, or work that, a little lazily (even by myself ) gets categorised as ‘genre fiction’. Fantasy and science-fiction I have often engaged with over the years, but horror has always been a huge part of my life. And what sets horror apart from its genre fellows is that it is probably better described as an effect. In that sense it probably has more in common with comedy than SF or fantasy – if it’s deliberately frightening, it must be horror. If it’s deliberately funny, it must be going for comedy – an effect that we often see employed in all sorts of genres and styles. Fantasy and science-fiction are hugely varied in the kinds of effects and emotional impacts they aim to have on the reader – if you were looking to settle on a definition of those two fields (as we occasionally have in this feature!) it could be their habit of looking backwards to history or forwards to the days of the future respectively.

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Slow down! Why word counts and targets aren't always good for your writing Synopsis secrets: The single page that will sell your book Top tips for every genre:- • Crime: Perfect pacemaking • Five ways to grow creatively as a children's author • Explore the new trend for genre-blending fantasy Masterclass: Study the style and stories of Henry Fielding, James Thurber, Rudyard Kipling and Roald Dahl Star interview: Anne O'Brien, the challenger to Philippa Gregory's crown WIN! A PC worth £600

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