How to Write a Horror Story

Though Halloween has come and gone, that doesn’t mean that you have to put away those horror stories. A good scare is always in season, so if you’ve always wanted to write a bone-chilling thriller of your own, we’re here to help.

Here are five tips on how to write a horror story:

1. Read – This piece of advice is universal when it comes to writing a book. Reading other books in your chosen genre will help you gather ideas as well as learn the typical flow of these types of stories. So, familiarize yourself with the horror genre, read the most famous stories and be like a sponge, soaking up as much knowledge as you can before writing your own.

2. What scares you? – By writing about what scares you, you’ll be able to tap into raw emotions that can transpire in the plot of your book. Perhaps you have a fear of being trapped in a confined space. Channel that fear to create a situation where your main character’s movements are limited. By doing so, you’ll be putting your character in a situation where danger is imminent, a major factor of horror stories!

3. Practice – As they always say, “Practice makes perfect.” Before you begin to write your novel, take the time to practice your horror writing skills. One way to do so is by taking a seemingly normal situation and transforming it into a terrifying experience. Use your imagination to spin a normal activity into one that is hauntingly good.

4. Don’t be afraid – Though we’ve encouraged you to write about what scares you, keep in mind that your fears are not the same as another person’s fears. Writing a horror story can be difficult in that it’s a challenge to appeal to all readers – so remember you don’t have to. Though your story might not be scary to all it may be scary to some, and if you’ve inspired at least one reader to sleep with the lights on, you’ve done a good job.

5. Make mistakes – We are not talking about you as the author. We are referring to your main character making mistakes. It’s crucial that your characters make bad decisions to get your readers’ hearts thumping. You’ll want to put your character in danger; however, that danger should be a product of the choice that he or she has made. Get your readers frustrated and yelling at the pages!

In the end, don’t put pressure on yourself to scare every reader who reads your book. Writing a horror story can be as fun to write as it is to read. 

Happy haunting!

Copyright Dorrance Publishing, 2015