Ask Me Anything: Cuyler

Cuyler made a great catch using the “Ask Me Anything” submission form.

Hey, Kaitlin,

Your writings about Sean Coyne’s Story Grid have helped me immensely.

I just had a question.

On the chart you’ve created of the 5 Leafs of Genre, you’ve listed the sub-genres of Horror as Uncanny, Supernatural, and Superuncanny.

Sean doesn’t include Superuncanny. He has Ambiguous instead. And when I read your post on the Horror Genre, you listed Ambiguous as well.

So, I’m wondering what your thoughts were on this, and why you listed Superuncanny instead of Ambiguous?

And, what is Superuncanny?

If I can base my past experience with your amazing writing advice, I’m sure your reasons for this will also be helpful.

Thanks for all the help you give us new writers.

Thank you so much for pointing out that discrepancy!

Super uncanny is Robert McKee’s word for the sub-genre Shawn Coyne calls ambiguous. In the ambiguous/super uncanny subgenera, the reader isn’t sure whether the supernatural is at work or if the protagonist is losing their mind.

I prefer the term ambiguous, because to me, the term super uncanny indicates to the reader that the plot is both supernatural and uncanny not that the audience is guessing between supernatural and uncanny. But from a writing standpoint, you would need to hit both sub-plot conventions to keep the audience truly guessing, so either name can work.

I hope that helped clear things up, but please let me know if there’s anything further I can clarify.

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