FROM HORROR TO HEROES
I I feel monster and serial killer stories work best when the reader has a front row seat to the action. This is especially popular in extreme horror where the author describes every blood spatter and scream. While this is an effective method and respect authors who use it, I found it difficult to emulate. I have a character named John Klarbel, also known as the Tool Shed Killer because he kills people with power tools. I tried to dive into detail during one of his murder scenes but I was not comfortable writing that level of gore. There are authors who can make it work, but when I tried it just felt forced. So I took it out. There are still some deaths in my book, but they either happen quickly or the brutal parts are skipped.
While I removed the over-the-top bloody scenes, I didn’t want to give up on the horror genre altogether. To make up for the lost material from the murders, I emphasized other things that would make the chapters memorable. I gave the Genies special weapons and described the mechanics of how they were used. I also gave them special outfits to make them stand out. The more I worked on it, the more I realized something I hadn’t considered before: how similar horror movie monsters are to superheroes. They have signature looks, sometimes masks, along with a weapon of choice, a set of powers and weaknesses, and some have a tragic backstory. There have even been crossovers having the famous ones fighting each other. (I hope there are more of those someday. I’d pay to see Wishmaster vs. Pinhead).
After editing it seemed the main difference between a horror story and superhero story was the amount of gore the author was willing to provide, so it was not a difficult transition to make. Reading through it now I feel like it works better as a fantasy/action instead of a gore novel. There is still a serial killer and a shootout, so the publisher labeled it a fantasy/thriller on the cover, but from my perspective Soleil, Flarence, and Darren are all heroes in their own way and I’ll always see them as such.