What Is the Draw of a Horror Fiction Book?

Why are we as a group of people so completely fascinated with horror fiction? Realistically, there is quite likely not one clear-cut explanation for that, but the answer lies, for most people, on the responses they get from their own body. For the same reasons perhaps that we’re intrigued when we think of haunted houses and experience this type of dread, horror fiction books draw us in.

The fascination of the haunted house, that little prickle of fear at the back of your neck, is something many of us actually enjoy. In fact, the least brave among us may be reading the most horrific science fiction or horror fiction books. What causes an average person who may be no braver or intrepid than anyone else to seek out this kind of literary environment?

That nagging feeling of foreboding that tells you that something or someone else is in the room with you, something unknown and unseen, is the feeling that you can literally come to crave. It can be likened to the same feelings of dread when you are a ghost chaser or paranormal investigator.

That sense of chilling fear is the same feeling that you can achieve by reading a good solid horror fiction book. The difference is that in the horror fiction books, while you are experiencing the same physical and psychological responses, we sense, in a conscious way, that we are in no real danger.

When we enter into a book that is horror fiction, incorporates elements of romance, horror, magic or fantasy, the limitations of the world are removed. The fantastic can, and quite frequently does happen. There is the expectation that we will be hit with the unexpected–as it were.

Horror fiction, much like visiting a haunted house, or paranormal studies, incorporates an element of physiological as well as mental response. We’ve all read the stories that can literally put us out there on the edge of our seat.

Each of us has quite likely read a book that had us locking the door and hearing–even feeling–every small noise in our house because the book had us attuned to it. That is what good horror fiction can do for you and why many people read it. Experiencing a story, as opposed to just reading it, is what good writing and reading great horror fiction is all about. Those stories actually draw on your emotions, pull on your physical responses, and build the tension dramatically.

When the story pulls us in, has us on the edge of our seat, sometimes even evokes physiological responses such as sweating palms and that tingling of fear–well, we know we’ve found a good book, and a great author.

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