How to Write Horror Story
What makes horror real horror? How can you write a story that is sure to strike fear in your readers? How can you write a horror story or novel?
As a aspiring horror writer, it can be hard to find inspiration. After all, nearly all of our world tries to keep us from seeing monsters or cowering in fear because of something in our closets. For those who want to inspire these monsters, turn something horrifying into a masterpiece of a story, and make scariness something more than just a good scream, well, those are the horror writers of the future.
So, here are five steps to writing a profound horror story or novel that is sure to keep people checking under their beds for years to come.
Think About What Scares You or Revolts You the Most
What makes horror real horror? What is it that gives that kick of fear? How can you cause that in people?
well, you need to find something scary, and a good place to start is thinking about what scares or revolts you the most. If what you are writing about is something you are truly scared of, then people reading will sense that and become more scared themselves. Of course, you do have to draw a line somewhere. If what you are most scared of is a romance novel, you can’t really write a horror story about that. well you could, but it would be incredibly difficult to make it not sound like something cheesy.
So, find what scares you the most or revolts you, and use that to inspire your story. If what you fear the most is something silly, that you can’t imagine being scared of for normal people, take a page out of Stephen King and think of his novel IT. In that story he took a clown, something admittedly most people find slightly creepy, and made it an interdimensional creature that could shapeshift. That certainly adds an amount of horror and scariness to the idea of a clown.
Take an Ordinary Situation and Create Something Horrifying
How often do you go the the grocery store? Or the park? Or even the movie theatre?
Usually it’s pretty often, at least a few times a month in the case of the grocery store. That makes it an ordinary situation, so use that to your advantage. Take something like that that people do normally and make it scary. Add something to someone’s trip to the grocery store that is terrifying. Make something bad happen at a grocery store. A murder or a disappearance.
I’m not trying to say that your whole story should take place inside a store, but use something normal like that to your advantage. After someone reads a scene where a person magically disappears from a grocery store they are more than likely to be a little nervous every single time they enter a grocery store.
By making an ordinary situation horrifying, people will be more likely to think about how scary your story is everytime they do something ordinary a character in your story did before something bad happened.
Use Setting to Limit or Trap You Characters in the Story
Your character or characters in your story will need to face the monster or whatever is causing the horror aspect of the story at some point. It is the basis for almost every horror story. Something bad happens. The main character becomes curious or someone they know has something happen to them that has to do with the bad thing. The main character decides to stop the bad thing from happening or stop the bad thing.
Find a way that your character/characters will be forced to confront the cause of the horror. If the problem and disappearances are caused by a chicken with super intelligence, maybe have your character/characters visiting a farm or living on a farm and their cell service goes out and then a tree falls on the only road that can get them off the farm in the remote, secluded woods.
Or maybe something strange is happening to everyone who rides the elevator in an office building your character/characters work, and your character/characters always take the stairs, but then the stairs break or are inaccessible for some reason, so your character/characters are forced to take the elevator to be able to get home. Then something happens in the elevator.
Things like this force your character/characters to face the problem head on, a must for any horror story.
Let Your Characters Restrict Their Own Movements
Your character/characters should cause problems all on their own. Maybe the haunted elevator in their office building is something they avoid because of a crippling fear of elevators, even though they know they are the only one/ones capable of stopping it. This makes it even more palpable when they are forced to face the problem, because they were so intent on avoiding it.
Adding this to a horror story adds a much needed affect of believability. After all, what sane person would be willing to risk their life? It doesn’t matter how heroic they are, for most people, they need something to directly affect their lives to be willing to step in. Maybe the elevator hurt their friend, or a sibling visiting at work, and that’s what causes the final confrontation.
Whatever the case, let your character/characters cause their own problems they must overcome to save the day.
Create Extreme Emotion in Your Reader
Because horror is dependant on the reaction of the reader, it is important to create extreme emotion in them. Make sure they feel every single emotion your character/characters feel. Make them scared when your character/characters are scared. Terrified when their terrified. Dreadful when their dreadful.
To create these emotions in your reader you have to have things they’d never expect in the story, or an ending they’d never expect. One way to achieve this is to create a twist ending. Have your story end with all the characters dying and the monster/problem continuing, forever. Maybe the character/characters start to think they were wrong the whole time, and nothing happens to prove that there was something causing bad things. They start to doubt themselves, and lose their sanity or think they’re going crazy until something happens to prove they aren’t crazy.
So there you have it. The five to writing a profound horror story or novel, that is sure to keep people checking under their beds and in their closets for years to come.