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How to Write a Great Horror Story

January 15, 2016 - Posted to Writing tips

Content how to write a great horror story

How to Write a Great Horror Story

We decided to take a break from more serious subjects such as, “How to write a book review” or “Ways to write an essay” to write about some that is more fun, how to write a horror story. Horror is one of the world’s most popular genres, as it connects with our minds on a more emotional level than many other genres. Fear gets the blood going as it brings you a story line that makes you excited for even more. By doing some research, we were able to find a few tips on how to write a great horror story.

Find Horror in an unexpected place

When writing horror one must remember that the best horror stories have been set in the most unusual places. A creepy mansion on top of a dark hill during a stormy night can quickly make an excellent setting for a horror story. However, many are finding ways to make, even the most innocent-seeming places sound terrifying.

  • A children’s arcade and recreation center set after hours when nobody is around
  • The city park, at midnight where the only sounds one can hear, is the light sound of wind through the branches of the trees.
  • The ever-bustling and crowded water park, in the dead of winter, when the only people there are maintenance crews who are making sure the park is running efficiently for the summer
  • A simple family farm, run by a senile old man, right in the middle of nowhere
  • Everybody’s favorite family run restaurant; that’s been empty for over a decade

By adding a few simple details, you can easily make even the most innocent sounding place seem a little more sinister. All it takes is a little thinking.

Remember that bad things always happen to good people

That’s the number one rule in horror. Just choose your protagonist and give them every personality aspect that makes the reader believe they are the hero. Then, completely crush that image through your words. Make your character suffer, make your character make horrible mistakes that leave your audience in complete shock and awe. Make your character make multitudes of questionable decisions. Make your audience cheer for the villain in the disguise of a hero. By doing this, you will ensure that your audience feels a multitude of emotions, such as shock, confusion, devastation, fear, and so many more.

However, you must always know that humans are strange creatures and that you should work on not making your story too confusing because most people cannot feel confusion and fear at the same time.

Write about what you find terrifying

Everyone has a different idea of what is scary, of course, many of these ideas come from similar backgrounds. For example, one person’s reason for fearing the dark may be another person’s reason for having a fear of sudden noise. Horror has a multitude of names, and it is always best to look at it from all angles, even if your primary one is from your perspective.

  • Choose your audience and make sure they can easily connect with the character

Remember that people will always cheer on a character that they can connect with. You will choose your character's personality traits from what your targets personality may be like.

  • Have your character make mistakes

One mistake that most writers make is that they make the horror happen for what seems to be no reason. Have your character make errors that cause their danger. What you don’t want to do is make these mistakes so blindingly idiotic that it takes away from the story’s suspense. Have their mistakes be thought out, or completely selfless. Ideas of such mistakes can be:

Walking outside in the middle of the night after they hear a scream

Letting a stranger enter their home to use a phone

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