Sonia Gensler Discusses How To Write Monsters, Heros

April 2, 2020

Sonia Gensler, a former high school English teacher and current horror book author, came to LitFest to talk about how to build the perfect horror story hero.

Her first book, “The Revenant,” was published in 2011 and ever since then she has been writing horror books.

She began her presentation by getting everyone familiar with the different types of monsters, so it would be easier to understand how the heroes work.  

Gensler went over the basic categories of monsters, what they do and how they can function in your story. Having this primary understanding of horror story monsters helped make the rest of Gensler’s presentation easier to follow.

There are multiple categories of “horror heroes” and picking the one you want in your story will determine the entire plot. Gensler’s favorite “horror hero” category is the youth, meaning children who encounter the problem, and then solve it with no help from an adult. 

“I really like that category because you feel more attached to the characters when they are children, so the story is more emotional,” Gensler said. 

Throughout the presentation, the entire audience was engaged and attentively listening to what Gensler had to say. 

“The presentation was really fun to listen to, especially because I love horror movies,” junior Lauren Bruns said. 

The other categories of “horror heroes” that Gensler talked about were the expert, the gifted and the wounded soul. 

The expert is someone who is a doctor or professor of some sort and is supposed to know everything, but at some point in the story, they don’t know what to do. This trait is what makes them such an intriguing character. 

The gifted are people who have some sort of supernatural ability they can use for good in the horror story. The gifted are often seen as timid in the beginning, but throughout the story, their power and ability grow stronger. 

The wounded soul is an individual who has had a rough past or maybe was even once a villain themselves. Their main goal at the start is revenge or justice, but as the story develops, they find the real reason they are trying to be a hero. 

Every student in that room was craving more tips and information about horror after Gensler finished her presentation. 

“I picked this presentation because I really like horror and it was cool to learn more about it,” freshman Jahrell McMillan said. 

Gensler was able to leave LitFest knowing that she educated, informed and inspired those who attended her workshop.

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