Have you ever read a book that makes you fear your own shadow? Have you read through words that are so intense that the hair on your back stands up? Wouldn't you love to write a book that makes other people feel the exact same way? We will teach you how to write horror, so grab a pen and get ready to start writing something so scary that you will even scare yourself!
To write a horror story:
- Write about what scares you: One of the most important writing tips for a horror story is that you cannot produce a good horror book or short story if you are not willing to confront your own fears. To write a scary story, you must be willing to dig deep down inside of yourself. You also have to force yourself to daydream and imagine yourself in a frightening situation. If you allow yourself to be the main character, then you will make that character appear more real because you are pouring your fears, anxiety and emotions into her. Some of the best novels are real life horror stories so if you a scary event or situation has happened to you, then write about it.
- Study the craft: If you have the desire and drive to write horror stories, then you should have the passion to read horror novels and watch horror films. Do not bother trying to write a horror novel or short story if you do not like to read this type of story. Reading is the foundation of good writing. From reading works by other authors working in the horror genre, you will develop yourself as a writer in substance and style. If you want to read a very well-written book that will help you get more acquainted with horror writing, Stephen King's On Writing is great. It is also a good idea to talk to other aspiring and experienced horror writers. You can chat and make friends with other writers at sites like Horror Writers Workshop.
- Timing and pacing: Some horror authors have been successful by creating their own timing in their novels, rather than following the typical rules. The typical rules for scary stories, however, are great ones to follow. A great way to start your horror novel is to jump right into suspense. Do not have the scariest scene be in the beginning; you have to build up to it. Just begin with something that will grab the reader's attention.
Take the time necessary to establish creepy moods and capture the fright of your story's surroundings and scenarios. Many writers want to rush through descriptions in the belief that a fast pace is always the goal. While fast-paced storytelling is great at times, you have to slow down to savor the horror of quieter moments as well. Without the slower parts, the quicker moments would not be so explosive.
Throughout the story, you also want to tease your readers. Put in scary scenes that end up not being so scary after all. Give your readers the feeling that something scary is coming -- then when they least expect it, spring on the scariest climax of the story. Before or during the climax, it is also a good idea to clearly describe the monster or villain.
- Avoid horror clichés: A black cat lurking in an alleyway. A strange noise coming from the dark woods surrounding a campfire. The high school quarterback and head cheerleader smooching in a convertible when suddenly a monster rips her head off. All of these scenarios instantly conjure up memories because they are a few of the obvious horror clichés. Explore original ways to create fear in your story. Maybe your scenes will involve classic horror elements done with a unique twist, or maybe the scenarios do not resemble past works at all.
- Write realistically: What makes horror stories so scary is how real they seem. Even though the majority of horror is fiction, it still has to seem like it could actually happen. Beginning horror writers can try writing about their home towns and personal experiences. Then add in a frightening element, such as a murderer or ghost. Starting with a real place, person, or even situation will make your horror story sound real right away.
- Writing habits: While writing a horror story, you will lose some of your emotional momentum if you take days off in between writing. It is crucial to stay in touch with your characters and keep the intensity high by writing every day.
You may also discover that you write horror better when you are personally afraid of something. Try writing in your musty basement or squeaky attic. Or write at night when all is quiet. That should heighten your horror writing.
Horror writing takes time, practice, and some imagination. Remember, the best way to know whether your novel will scare your readers is if you are scared writing it.