Tuesday, September 3, 2013

styles change

I recently reread "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe. You can read it for free here, among other places. Wow! Writing styles have really changed since 1839! Check out the beginning:
DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country ; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.
If one of my critique partners started a story with a lot of telling setting description, I'd recommend otherwise. I'd say, this is a cliche.

Of course, you can't say that about "Usher" because it was written before all those other stories. When you're one of the first, you can't be a cliche. :)
"Usher" is the quintessential gothic horror story, the story that influenced all others that came after. What exactly is gothic fiction? Some say it's the mode of literature that combines elements of romance and horror. The name gothic supposedly refers to the medieval or pseudo-medieval buildings in which the stories take place. What is horror fiction? This one is harder to pin down. The Horror Writers Association says horror is fiction that elicits fear and/or dread in the reader. Thus, horror can be about or include anything as long as it elicits the desired emotional reaction(s).

Are you a horror reader? A horror writer? What do you like best about it?

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