Notes on Writing Weird Fiction – H.P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, circa 1934

 Horror and the unknown or the strange are always closely connected, so that it is hard to create a convincing picture of shattered natural law or cosmic alienage or “outsideness” without laying stress on the emotion of fear. The reason why time plays a great part in so many of my tales is that this element looms up in my mind as the most profoundly dramatic and grimly terrible thing in the universe. Conflict with time seems to me the most potent and fruitful theme in all human expression.


As to how I write a story—there is no one way. Each one of my tales has a different history. Once or twice I have literally written out a dream; but usually I start with a mood or idea or image which I wish to express, and revolve it in my mind until I can think of a good way of embodying it in some chain of dramatic occurrences capable of being recorded in concrete terms. I tend to run through a mental list of the basic conditions or situations best adapted to such a mood or idea or image, and then begin to speculate on logical and naturally motivated explanations of the given mood or idea or image in terms of the basic condition or situation chosen.


Some more of H.P. Lovecraft’s (it stands for Howard Philip, by the way) ideas, his thinking about “weird” fiction and horror. Just thought I’d share it with you. H.P. Lovecraft’s Notes on Writing Weird Fiction.

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4 thoughts on “Notes on Writing Weird Fiction – H.P. Lovecraft

  1. That’s very insightful. I think that’s a lot of why I’ve been fixated on writing horror lately. Once the more becomes much more interesting, it becomes less familiar and explicable. Once it becomes less familiar and explicable, it becomes more horrific.

    • Yeah, there is so much of horror fiction that can come across as blasé and uninspired – but so much of it is, like science fiction, a way to explore humans and our lack of humanity. Thanks for stopping by, and if there’s anyone you can trust when it comes to knowing horror and speculative fiction, it’s H.P. Lovecraft.

  2. Robert Holm says:

    The P stands for Phillips, not Philip.

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