Clichés in Horror

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers!

Last time, I went over the three elements of a horror story as defined by Orson Scott Card—dread, terror, and fear. To read that post, click this link.

Sticking with that theme, today, I thought I’d continue with ways to make our horror fiction stand out by discussing clichés in the horror genre.

Furthermore, we’re going to go over some ways to avoid them.

Below is a list of clichés and their potential solutions.


  • Haunted houses (especially with Victorian murder history or Indian burial ground)
    • Solution: Set your story someplace not traditionally thought of as haunted. Someplace with no history of burials at all.
  • Forest chase 
    • Solution: Turn the tables and have the would-be victims start chasing the antagonist through the forest. This would require a major shift in power-position, but it does avoid the cliché.
  • Dystopian zombies, vampires, werewolves/shifters, clowns
    • Do a search for cryptids…

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