H is for Horror (How to Create)
This post is not about how to write a horror story, but how to add horror to any story. Horror is an element that can be utilized by every writer, just like romance, action, mystery, and suspense.
Here are 10 tips on how to create horror:
1. Bring your nightmares to life on the page.
If it scares you awake with a pounding heart, and makes you not want to close your eyes again, then it’ll scare others from wanting to even turn off their lights to sleep.
2. Get into people’s heads by using fears and phobias.
This is a sure way to scare anyone. Some of the most common fears are:
Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
Achluophobia (fear of the dark)
Coulrophobia (fear of clowns)
Dentophobia (fear of dentists)
Nemophobia (fear of blood)
Nosocomephobia (fear of hospitals)
Torture your characters with these fears and your readers will cringe beneath their blankets.
3. Pick an eerie setting.
Or several eerie settings as your story moves forth and changes, such as a haunted house, a cemetery cloaked in fog, a dark alley or a cob-webbed basement.
Have you ever been somewhere that gave you the chills? Write about it!
4. Write in a dark, foreboding tone.
If you were sitting at campfire or in a dark room telling a scary story, how would you manipulate your voice to heighten the fear? What words would you use to bring an extra dash of horror? Write exactly like that in your story.
5. Write vivid descriptions.
The more vivid you are, the easier it will be to scare your readers and make the hairs on their arm stand on end. Use all five scenes: sight, taste, smell, touch and sound. If your MC sees ghosts, let him/her also smell rotting flesh, feel invisible hands, hear breathing, and even taste dirt or formaldehyde on their tongue.
6. Use the sixth sense.
Share your character’s sixth sense. Does he/she have a feeling something is going to happen? Does he/she think someone is following them, lurking in the shadows? Let your readers know all of this to build tension.
7. Share your MC’s thoughts.
If your readers know what your MC is thinking and feeling, you have more opportunities to scare them, so share his/her thoughts and pain whenever possible, especially when you need to build suspense.
8. Surprise your readers.
When your characters are at ease, so are your readers, and that is the perfect time to spring something unexpected on all of them. Let something sneak out from under the bed and grab your MC’s ankle, or whisper something in his/her ear.
9. Get inspired by horror tales.
10. Watch scary movies and read horror stories.
Study how other authors create horror and what frightens you while you’re watching a scary movie. Then use those techniques.
QUESTIONS: What’s your favorite horror movie and/or book? Have you written a horror story?
SHARE: Your tips for creating horror.
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