Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Quiet Horror

A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic–nothing else. This year, I’ll be covering writing genres.

Today’s genre:

atoz-qQuiet Horror


Quiet horror stories are not about visceral violence, gore, bloody slashers. They evoke dark emotions and conjure imagery, artistically hitting your fear buttons, teasing you with clues, rather than throwing it in your face.

Tipsa to z

  1. Don’t tell–force readers to use their imagination.
  2. Show the reader the blood and gore rather than telling them about it.
  3. Quiet Horror is everything that we cannot see or verbalize and fail to feel concretely.
  4. Emphasize strong emotion rather than graphic violence.
  5. Use atmosphere and mood, rather than graphic description, to create fear and suspense.

Popular Books

  1. Anything by Charles Grant
  2. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin (classic)
  3. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  4. A Woman in Black, A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
  5. The Fall of Never by Ronald Damien Malfi
  6. In the Night Room by Peter Straub
  7. The Snowman’s Children by Glen Hirshberg
  8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  9. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
  10. The Exorcist by William Beatty

Click for complete list of genres

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for May 2017. Click to follow its progress.


63 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Quiet Horror

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  4. Yes, this is my husband’s style! Another “genre” he’s learned about is called Redneck Horror. It refers more to the isolation of the character rather than anything else. Being alone in a basement in a house in Seattle with a serial killer on the loose is Redneck Horror. No one can help you. Do not read this stories before bedtime! lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you gave that away with your #AtoZChallenge theme: 1940’s Film Noir. I’m amazed how many of the films you’ve picked I’ve seen. I would have said I didn’t like Noir.


  5. So this category is where Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist belong. I wonder if Room by Emma Donoghue would fit – definitely makes the reader imagine well beyond the walls of the tiny room in which the story begins. What an interesting genre, Jacqui. I like the definition from ordinary horror – isn’t that an oxymoron – ordinary horror!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know what that is like I was married to one for 44 years, and he started 3 days after marriage, continually getting worse, but you could feel it in the air all around him, like a cold cloud that just would not go away. Chilling actually now that I look back at it, thank goodness I worked all the time and he was not around all the time, I should have picked up on it earlier, but I didn’t as he was enacting a con game with me for 50 yrs, sad but true,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t know this was a genre! I’m learning so much from these A-Z challenges, thank you for putting the time into them! I think from the list, the only one I’ve read is Frankenstein. I’ve read one of Peter Straub’s books, but not the one in the list. The Invisible Man is definitely one I want to read, though; I love H. G. Wells.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s the scariest kind of horror. I noticed most of your examples are older ones. I found the first Paranormal Activity movie tended to leave a lot to the imagination. You couldn’t see the whole picture because it was only what was on camera. (Similar to the original Blair Witch Project.) That sort of thing terrifies me!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yep, some books stretch my imagination to the furthest depths (within my limitations) – and they don’t have to be about blood and gore. When they articulate unexpressed fears or emotions, I am gripped … thanks Jacqui!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Jacqui – I’m not usually into these sorts of movies – but now I’m older and many were made years ago I’m putting my not interested thoughts away and getting out to see a few – we had “The Hitch-Hiker”(1953) on … on Tuesday – and certainly I could imagine myself in the dark desert with the killer behind me – not nice!! He had an amazing face … born to be an actor. The film was directed by a woman – the first film noir … on top of that it was based on a real life killer! Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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