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H. P. Lovecraft (1 Viewer)

The Thing

Senior Member
I've been working my way through an anthology of Lovecraft short stories. Some of them are a bit hit-and-miss, while others are spot on increating the sense of dread that he is famous for. But, one thing that struck me was that the majority of his stories seem to be nothing more then detailed idea sketchs.

For example, Dagon is about a navy officer from World War I who is captured by the Germans. He escapes from the U-boat and is washed ashore a mysterious island where he climbs a mountain simply to witness the god-like Dagon emerge from the water to pray to a stone tablet. That's it. The narrator has no name and the story could be developed further. It was a rather unsatisfying tale.

Another thing that convinces me that they were ideas rather than full-blown stories is the fact that most of them are free from any kind of dialogue. The ones that do have dialogue, like From Beyond, do seem more complete and satisfying in their resolution.

But on the other hand he has some great dialogue free tales. Eg, Polaris, The Cat of Ulthar, and Celephais which are written in a myth-like fashion. This style works in these tales, but in others it fails.

One thing I would like to ask is would it be proper to rewrite these tales that I feel are unfinished? To adapt them to a more modern style? Not in any commercial way, just as a hobby, to share with friends and to post here.

Aside from that, if anybody is thinking of writing horror and wants to learn the art of creating dread (as opposed to violence and gore) in the reader - and if you have patience with his antiquated, overly-descriptive, dialogue-less writing - you could do far worse than reading some Lovecraft.

Spread the Lovecraft. :)


I'm a huge fan of Lovecraft, having found his works way back when I was in either 7th or 8th grade. When I write horrror, I try to remember some of the techniques he uses to create true horror, instead of gore and violence. He is definitely a notable author in the horror field to study if you want to write classic horror instead of the hacker and slasher stories that dominate the movies.

As for finishing any tales you feel to be unfinished, I say go for it. Posting them here on WF isn't an option though, as this would fall into the same category as fan fiction (which isn't allowed). Check out the post Daniela made for sites that let members post fan fiction.

Good luck with it, and have fun.

simon woodhouse

Senior Member
I've just started reading a Lovecraft collection as well.

Someone in another thread said The Colour of Space was a bit scary, but I didn't think so. It was good, but not really scary. The Statement of Randolph Carter, on the other hand, did give me the creeps. If it was rewritten in a modern setting, and used mobile phones with video calling, it would add a whole other dimension. Not sure if it would make it better though, because as it is you have to use your imagination.


Senior Member
If you like the Cthulu mythos, and want a better written story, I'd suggest Brian Lumley's Lovecraftian styled writings.


Senior Member
Lovecraft didn't write a lot of dialogue because he wasn't very good at it. He recognised his limitations, which is good.

But for mood, atmosphere and pure menace I don't think there's anyone better. He's a great primer for young horror writers.