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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > May 2017 > Queer as folk

Queer as folk

Supernatural stories rooted in local lore get right under your audience’s skin, says Alex Davis


Without a doubt, of the many subgenres of horror, folk horror is among the most difficult to define. Psychological horror, body horror, extreme horror… these are all areas that are a little easier to pin down due to clear tenets and expectations. That’s not to say there are no grey areas and overlaps in those genres, but folk horror seems to be more swathed in greyness than most.

A typical definition will refer to it as horror fiction with a strong reference to the European pagan tradition – which of course to Western writers certainly retains a strong kind of power. The ethereal, earthy nature of religion pre- Christianity remains a fascination for scholars and casual readers alike, and has been typified in a wide range of texts and movies. Surely HP Lovecraft’s ever-popular Cthulhu Mythos must be one of the most famous examples in the written word, and among the best-known films would be Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man, as well as its British predecessors Witchfinder General, Blood on Satan’s Claw and The Devil Rides Out.

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Want to make sure your readers are hooked from the start? In this month's Writing Magazine, learn how to grab your readers' attention and keep it all the way to the end. • Have you completed a first draft? We show you how to polish it to perfection. • Would your life make a good story? We show you how to transform your inspiring ideas into writing material. • Read how our star interview, Lisa McInerney, went from blogger to bestseller. • Find out about the latest writing opportunities and win £51,579 in writing prizes!

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