Don’t you just wish there were more horror authors out there? It seems like the legends like Stephen King have disappeared, or thrown their lot in with the rest of the thriller writers. Well, there is the saying that goes, if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.
Just because it seems as though decent horror authors have disappeared from the face of the earth doesn’t mean that the fans have dwindled. On the contrary, they are merely looking for their next fix and you might just be the one to provide it to them.
Here are five tips for writing the perfect horror story.
Set the mood or atmosphere
Not all horrors are the same and don’t have the same focus. Some are rooted in the supernatural, and others revolve around horrific scenes filled with blood and gore. Then you also get your classic horror stories that are centered on the main monster or fearful creature.
It is possible to cross sub-genres, especially as your story evolves. If at all possible, you should try and tense yourself up. If you can do that, then you are sure to have a hit on your hands.
Is there a twist in there?
Many horror stories are made or trashed with a twist in the story. It is a good strategy to employ, but you should know that the people who read horror stories are always on the lookout for a possible twist. It is as if they expect it to come somewhere along the way.
The problem with twists in a story is that they are super difficult to write up. While you need to hint at it throughout the story, you cannot make it too obvious either. Your reader will see through it and it will take away some of the punch out of your novel.
The twist doesn’t necessarily have to be a plot changer, but it can provide the reader with something to mull over when they get to the end, giving your novel an extra bit of depth.
The stakes should be obvious
The stakes in a good horror story need to be evident from very early on. It creates that tension where the reader can see the light at the end of the tunnel, or can see where the story is headed, but cannot see how it is going to pan out.
Throughout the story, the reader is aware of the stakes and what the main characters stand to lose if they don’t get out of their predicament.
Some of the most tension inspiring stakes include survival, protecting significant others, and solving a mystery. Most of the time, obvious stakes or motivations are the most powerful as it keeps the reader involved in the story.
And while you are working on that perfect plot, use free essays by EduZaurus to keep pace with the academic demands. Using assignment help for essays or thesis or term papers is the best idea to keep your creative juices flowing.
Use common fears to your advantage
When someone reads a horror story, they don’t do it to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They want to be on edge, scared to turn a page and drawn to it at the same time. One sure way to instill this uneasy tension is to use common fears when you are writing scary stories.
Some of the most common fears are instinctive in nature and revolve around some or another logic or biological ground. They include darkness, fear of insects or spiders, tight spaces and heights. Many people are paralyzed when they are faced with these fears, which is why you should incorporate it into your story.
Point of view matters
When you start your story, you need to choose between first-person and third-person limited. The main reason is that you want your reader to have a direct connection with the main character. As soon as you move into third-person omniscient, then you lose a bit of the mystery and the unknown.
In general, first-person stories have the most profound impact on the emotions of the reader as they don’t merely read the story, but they become the character and live themselves into the story. The only problem with first-person stories is that you’ll have a hard time keeping something a secret.
This is why it is best suited for shorter pieces of writing. Third-person limited is better suited for longer pieces and are excellent at sketching a character.
There is only one way to start writing horror stories and that is to open up your laptop or to grab a pen and notepad and start writing. You’ll never know if your writing is any good if you don’t start writing.
Be prepared that your first attempt might not be the scariest book around, but it is a start and you can only get better the more you write. You could be on your way to be the next King, Poe or Rice.
Emma Rundle is an experienced, versatile writer and editor working with some well-known digital magazines. She also works as an academic writer for online services that provide thesis and dissertation help to students. When she’s not working, she spends time learning new languages, learning Photoshop tricks and writing poetry.