How To Write Horror Short Stories

Horror stories are of course, meant to elicit extreme fear from readers. There are a lot of horror books catered to different age groups, with plots revolving around prominent vivid and gory monstrous creatures to disturbing phenomenon that are hard to believe. Kids and adults alike seem to be very fond of these scary stories as they make imaginations run wild. Reading and listening to horror stories can also be great past times and bonding activities with families and friends. If you plan to write horror stories, it is important that you understand the personality and character of your target readers. There is such a thing as good horror and bad horror. If you know how to play around the story elements with the fear factor and subtleness, then you can be an effective horror storywriter.

Follow these steps in writing short horror stories:

  • Imagine and brainstorm. If you are a writer by heart, you must be able to make your imagination work really well. Especially for the horror genre, you have to think of the unthinkable as well. Begin your horror story by randomly thinking of the things, events, or people that scare you. These ideas may not make sense at the beginning, and you don’t know how to develop a good story out of them. But remember that this initial step will let you dig deeper, enabling you to expound on a simple idea that you are afraid of. For example, the sight of an open window during the rainy day disturbs you, or silhouettes scare you. Write your thoughts and later on you can figure out how to go about your story.
  • Weave together your ideas. Go through the list you have come up and randomly create your plot line. Basically, you just have to identify the main characters and the story line. Weave them together to have a more or less clearer picture of your horror story. You don’t need though to have a very solid story at this point in time.
  • Write the general sequence. In this part, you have to already arrange the events chronologically as you deem fit. List down all the events and then specify details such as the characters involved, general atmosphere, reactions of the personalities, and other elements that invoke fear. At this point, you should already be able to lay down the twists of the story, the surprising ending, and the deviations from reality. Be more specific in this portion.
  • Determine your story’s duration. If you are writing for a book, you can have longer narrations. You can elaborate more on the scary details. But if you plan to submit your story to magazines, you may have to cut down on the details due to limited space. Magazines usually have page or word limitations.
  • Write and proofread. Now you can start writing your horror story. Have an initial draft first and then proofread. Once you have edited your piece, give it to some of your friends or colleagues and have them check it for errors.

Now you have your own horror story. Package your manuscript creatively to entice your readers. Feel free to be creative with the packaging of your story.


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