Partridge India Writing Tips| 4 Tips for Writing Cosmic Horror

Sep 28

Partridge India presents, for interested authors, 4 Tips for Writing Cosmic Horror.

 

The author Howard Philips Lovecraft, or H.P. Lovecraft, is widely remembered for two things. One, he was the founder and primary author of what is called the Cthulhu Mythos, a body of short stories and novellas about monstrous alien entities called the Great Old Ones, who once ruled the earth. Two, he is the patron father of an entire sub-genre of horror fiction. This genre, called Cosmic Horror, is a subset of horror fiction often but not necessarily bearing elements of fantasy and science-fiction.

 

Cosmic Horror
Cthulhu, High Priest of the Great Old Ones, H.P. Lovecraft’s most famous creation and a mascot of Cosmic Horror.

H.P. Lovecraft wrote during first quarter of the 1900s and while not the first author to incorporate the mainstay themes and concepts of cosmic horror , H.P. Lovecraft is credited with having popularized the genre into the current day alongside and through his Mythos. While cosmic horror bears some of the usual elements important to horror, as Partridge India outlined in previous entries, cosmic horror contains elements that set it apart from the rest of the horror genre.

 

 

 

 

 

Tip #1: The Insignificance of Humanity

A recurring theme with cosmic horror is the insignificance and unimportance of humanity or individuals in the larger universe. Cosmic horror works on the idea that even in the face of natural forces and natural history, humanity is but a minor and recent development.

 

Then there are the unnatural and supernatural elements, and next to such forces and beings the sum of the human race is as important as an insect. Cosmic horror can work with both mundane and supernatural elements. Protagonists can find their efforts futile against the greater power of a criminal-political conspiracy or an alien power from the void between stars. What matters is that the protagonists and the reader realize their actions and intentions do not matter in the greater and darker world of the author.

 

 

 

Tip #2- Madness out of Truth

Another important tenet of cosmic horror is the idea that the truth itself can be a source of dread and insanity. Often in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, protagonists go mad the more they learn the secret truths of the universe, of the terrible beings inhabiting their world, and the horrific acts done in said beings’ names. It is not uncommon for protagonists or characters the protagonists have encountered, to become insane after learning the truths of their world.

 

Partridge India will continue in part 2.

 

Partridge India trusts this helps

Please make sure to check out the Partridge India site for more advice and blogs, and to follow us on Partridge India Facebook and Partridge India Twitter.

By Ian Smith


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