Horror and suspense are genres of fiction that is intended to scare or haunt the audience. It can deal with the both the mundane and the supernatural as long as it elicits an aspect of fear or dread. Today, horror and suspense films and novels have become very popular among young adults. Two popular and contemporary horror/suspense novelists, Dean Koontz and Stephen King are very different writers, both in style and plot, but are able to run chills along the spines of their readers. Other than differences in style and plot, King tends to write with a slower pace, to slowly build and unfold the plot while Koontz dives straight into the action and has a faster pacing. Many devoted horror and suspense readers tend to group King and Koontz together as authors but if the two have contrasting styles, but what is the similarity that connects them?
The subject matter of a King novel is often associated with the supernatural world and because of this, his plots are usually unrealistic. His first published novel, Carrie, deals with an teenage outcast who develops telekinetic abilities and uses them for her ultimate revenge on the society that has cast her aside. Although the plot of Carrie was very bizarre, the book was still suspenseful and haunting. Stephen King’s It was another example, one of many, of his novels that dealt with sci-fi and fantasy. This story revolves around a group of adults who all shared a gruesome experience with a monster named It, a being from outer space who takes on the appearance of its victim’s darkest fears. Clearly, this novel is not very practical but it embodied the themes of childhood trauma, the power of memory, and the darkness that sometimes lie beneath the unsuspecting.
Throughout time people have been interested in fear. The average reader thinks of fear they probably think of werewolves and vampires. The average movie viewer will probably think of Freddie Krueger or Jason Voorhees. The reason people want horror and suspense is to be scared or paranoid. Lots of people want to be scared in safe ways. The authors job is to find the persons biggest fear, put it ...
Dean Koontz often writes in a realistic setting, a setting that his audience can often relate to. This is part of the reason why his stories are so chilling and compelling; the plot is so plausible that you can believe that something similar can happen to you. Koontz’s Velocity deals with an everyday guy who discovers a letter that forces him to choose between the life and death of two people he doesn’t know. Although at first the main character thinks it’s a joke, he does nothing, only to realize later that the note was real and is now demanded to play a dangerous game with a psychopathic killer. The practical settings but astonishing events and plot makes for a horrific story. Intensity, is another book written by Koontz and it starts off in a slumber party between two close friends who are interrupted in the dead of the night by a murderer. The murderer kills everyone in the household except for one person. The survivor, or main character, decides to stop living in fear and follows the killer and is tangled into life-threatening situations. In these examples, the plot and setting is real enough to be applied to one’s own life and this is what Koontz does that King does not.
Generally, King’s pacing in his novels is rather slow because he slowly builds the plot and also slowly unravels it. Almost every detail is well thought out and interesting but in some occasions, the plot is filled with boring fillers. For example, in It, nearly every other chapter took place in a flashback of the main characters’ own experiences with It as a child. However, by the end of the novel, you realize that the book as a whole was satisfying. Also, in King novels, the closings are often enigmatic and mysterious. In the end of The Stand, the main antagonist, Flagg, in a new incarnation and finds himself on a tropical island. He simply leaves it to the reader to decipher.
Koontz, on the other hand, usually ends his stories happily; the main character is successful in his or her endeavors and solved the problem or mystery. Velocity’s main character was able to kill his stalker and save the love of his life; The Door to December’s main character saves her daughter who was lost from her mother and herself; and Intensity’s main character kills the psychopath that killed her parents and saved the girl that he kidnapped. After a riveting and suspenseful plot, a happy and typical ending is such a let-down for a horror novel. The ending is well concluded so that you will never feel that the story has been cut off, which is bittersweet for most.
THE BLUEST EYE The Bluest Eye is a complex book. Substance wise it is a disturbing yet relatively easy read, but Toni Morrison plays with the narrative structure in a way so that complexity is added to the hidden depth of the text. From the beginning to the end of the book, the author takes the reader through a series of point of views that take turns in narrating the story. But by the end of the ...
Dean Koontz and Stephen King are both well-known authors of horror/suspense novels and employ elements of the macabre, but this is mainly where their similarities end. King writes of the horrors and hauntings of a being from an outside existence; Koontz describes the fear of what is inside us, a fear from within all of us. King paces his story slowly, so that every detail will build up to a satisfying ending; Koontz makes quick pacing to compel the reader to read until the end. However, what makes Koontz and King so well-known for their works is their greatest similarity, their ability to chill you to the bone.