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Into the mind of the monster (characters in horror and crime fiction) - 12 Month Course

In the horror and crime genres, the readers’ thrill often originates from their first meeting with the ‘monster’. They become objects of fascination, offence and abjection. These types of emotions are challenging to evoke in the readers, but it is the monsters who tend to become the focal point in novels and short stories. When they are formed correctly, they develop a myth-like quality as they secure their place in our culture for years to come; think Dracula, Hannibal, Frankenstein and Norman Bates! This course aims to work on perfecting these characters and ensuring they become the most notorious monsters in history!

1) What is a monster?

This section discusses general definitions and conventions of monsters as well as their place in the crime/horror genre and the impact they have on the readers.


Analyse a traditional ‘monster’s’ effectiveness? (500-800 words).

2) Motivations, mo and physicality.

This section explores the monster's motivations, mo and physical appearance. These traits tend to be unique and ensure the readers become fascinated by the monster’s appearance or behaviour.


Write a detailed character profile for the monster in your story (500-1,000 words).

3) Vicarious victims.

This section enables you to develop a further insight into the monster through the role of the victim. Often, the reader will analyse the monster’s victims in order to gain more understanding of the monster itself.


Write the moment that the monster and victim meet (1,000 words).

4) Fear fear.

In this section, the methods of approaching fear through description, atmosphere and dialogue will be explored.


Complete a piece of writing which builds atmosphere and description (dialogue is optional).

5) Dealing with the monster.

In this section, the discussion will focus on solving the problem of the monster.


Write the final scene of your story (1,000 words).
 Discuss your choices in this final scene (500 words).

6) Polishing the story.

In this section, there will be guidance on structuring, proofreading and editing your story.


Complete your short story (3,000 words).



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