October Roundtable: Is Watered Down Horror a Current Thing?


What’s good? Nice for you to have flown in. It’s now time for my Roundtable. Due to the fact that there have been demands on my schedule (read: hibernate and write), you may not see as many of these have you used to. I guess we will discover if absence makes the heart … and whatever else … grow fonder.

Before we get to the roundtable question, I’ve prepared a little slideshow to introduce our participants. Plus, they’ve been here before, so they’re almost like friends. Key word, almost.

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Now let’s get on with the spook … I mean, show.

Here is this month’s Roundtable question:

Do you think that the elements of horror have become watered-down by the current trends of today’s writers?”

I’m just going to let people chime in wherever today.

Okay, Desire here. Let’s talk! Truth be told, I’m not a huge reader of horror, so I don’t think that I can speak on horror. All I can say is that the element of surprise factor, that transcends horror, seems to be going by the waste side. I’m not sure whether it is the reader’s inability to use one’s brain to come up with her own interpretation of what happens or if it is the author’s inability to be patient enough to build up mystery or suspense. So, at least from that angle, I can answer yes.

To the point, as usual. Who’s on next?

Greetings! Queen here. I speak from the reader’s perspective because one of my favorite genres to read is horror. Yet, I have discovered in many of my readings that the art of mystery and suspense is on the decline. It is that power that makes a work horrifying. I’m not going to take up too much time, but I will leave your audience with this.


The elements of horror are like a magician’s secrets; once the secrets are revealed, they are no longer scary but something more suited for a Scary Movie parody.


Well Queen, guess you told them!

Hi’Lo! Rosie here. I don’t typically read a lot of horror, but I do read lots of dark drama, suspense, thrillers and paranormal fiction. I like to believe that those genres share the “edge of your seat” feel as horror, per say.

With that being said, I have found that in recent times elements have been watered-down. That is to say, the “edge of your seat” feel that I mention a second ago is little to nonexistent in more books in those genres now a days. I think that this is attributed to the fact that most authors feel compelled (or even pressured) to spell everything out in the story. Of course, I can’t say for sure.

I miss the days of good old suspense. Those times when a lot of the mysteries wouldn’t be discovered until the end. We need to bring that back.

Yo Donny, don’t just stand there observing. What do you think about what Rose has just said? I swear dude, you need to speak up!

I am not an avid reader of horror, so to say that I am would be lying. I am however an avid reader and enjoy genres such as mystery and suspense. With that being said, I am able to give a bit of insight and/or my personal opinion on “watered down” literature, albeit limited in the above mentioned genre.

This is to say, while I am unable to elaborate on horror, I can speak on other genres that require the profound elements that horror shares in common.

I do believe that most genres that require absolute and deep-seated components such as horror have indeed been watered-down. One can no longer find the “edge of your seat” ingredient which keeps readers stuck to their seats and unable to put the book down. It’s all but vanished. Nowadays, most books are made up of shallow, obscure, and stodgy prose that do nothing to keep the reader invested.

If it’s too easy to put the book down, then the author has failed in his/her attempt to convey anticipation and thrill.

As of late, it’s a commonality in most books available on the market. 

Before I put my 666 on this, I’m sure that Y. Correa has a bunch to say!

Hi all! Here is my Roundtable Answer.

Short answer, yes.

Long answer, I think that all thrilling and melodramatic genres have watered-down as a whole. Yes, this completely includes horror.

I’ll share a little personal story with you–not long, I promise. 

As a child, even until my 20s, I wasn’t able to read horror because it would scare the Ba’Jesus out of me. I mean, it would scare my socks off–no kidding. Sometimes, I’d go days without sleep due to a scary book that I’d read. 

THAT, in my mind, is the sign of an honest to goodness horror story. Yet, within the last few years, reading horror is not very different from reading a dramatic fiction. It just doesn’t have the same je ne sais pas that it used to. This could be attributed to lots of different things, but the one that I think is the biggest culprit is the trend that authors have of wanting to “tell all”.

This! Must! Stop!


Most of what I had to say on this I covered in an issue of All Authors Magazine. If you give me a little under six minutes, I can dig up an excerpt of what I said on this topic.

From Issue 12 The Spooks of Imagination, article titled “Diarrhea of the Pen”

Source: pinterest

Source: pinterest

Which guru deemed that birthing full blown spoilers in the midst of writing thrillers, dramas and horror was a terrific idea? I’d like to find that person because I would resurrect Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Kruger to hunt that moron down.

This. Has. Got. To. Stop.

No. I. Will. NOT. CALM. DOWN!

Yes, the extra periods are on purpose because I want those statements to be like mental hollow points of real talk piercing through your brain.

I do not want to assume that the average reader is so dumb that the writer has to point out every point of conflict in the book. There is something called imagination—it can make the scenes in the book be as dull or as fantastic as the reader wants it to be. Why deprive the reader of that freedom with one’s diarrhea of the pen?

The moral of this write: Show me the fright.

Also known as:

“Don’t tell me who the killer is.”
“Don’t give a play-by-play on motive.”
“Don’t give a blueprint about everyone’s drama.”
“If you must say something, HINT.”

*drops sickle*



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