A Beginner’s Guide on How to Write Scary Stories

Figure 1. source

There is one main rule to remember when writing stories: they have to sound as real as possible. I know what you’re thinking now. “The stories I liked when I was a kid didn’t sound real.” They did back then. Children have a huge fantasy, which is why children stories have more flexibility in the “real” category. When you’re writing for adult readers, the limits are narrower, and you have to stay within them. There’s still a lot of space for imagination.

Do you want to write a scary story? You may be considering book publishing as an option, but maybe it’s just an assignment you got for school. You can use a story idea generator to get a starting idea, but that won’t be enough.

Tips on How to Write Horror Stories

  1. Think of Your Greatest Fear and Use It as the Story’s Foundation

What’s your greatest fear? I often have nightmares involving rats and earthquakes and I can think of dozens of scary situations that would give you chills, too.

What gets you off your balance? Think of the scariest setting, creature, and actions you’re afraid of. When you tap into your fears and you express why they are so scary, you’ll make the readers afraid, too.

  1. Choose Your Characters

The scary character can be a demon, a killer, a rat, or anything else. Many writers are surprised to know that scary text stories don’t need scary characters. You can go for normal characters and describe a scary situation. Here’s an example:

They went out to play hide and seek, just like every other summer night. The innocent game caused a fierce fight between two of the boys. Andrew was bigger, so it wasn’t hard for him to overpower little Peter. Martin stood by and cheered for his brother Andrew. Suddenly, Peter fell on the ground with a bleeding face and stopped moving.

  • Don’t be a little kid, Peter! Don’t pretend!

Peter didn’t move…

  • You can’t tell anyone about this, – Andrew said to Martin and they both got lost into the night.   
  1. Ask for a Reader’s Opinion

If this is an important short story that’s supposed to get published or get you a grade, you need someone to give you feedback on it. You can ask a friend to read it and tell you what they think. But if your friend is not an experienced reader or writer, you can’t take their feedback for granted.

It’s better to hire one of those Australian services that offer assistance with your essay. These professional writers can help you take your initial idea further. If your story is already ready, you can hire an editor at the same website. When you get a pro’s opinion, you’ll know how to make the story better.

  1. The Ending Has to Be Masterful

Short scary stories usually don’t have a happy ending. You want to leave your reader with a grudge in their throat. As you build up to the climax, you should give your characters more problems and more fear than they can handle. It’s okay to exaggerate, but keep things as real as possible. If your story gets out of proportion, it will seem like a fantasy and the reader won’t be afraid of the scenes.

At the end, you should give your main characters a moment of realization. Just like in the story above, when Andrew and Martin realized that Peter was dead. Then, leave some space for the reader to wonder what happened. Don’t bring all the details out in the open. In the story about Andrew, Martin and Peter, we don’t know what happened to Andrew and Martin once they left the scene. As they ran into the night, they might wander into the woods and get lost. Maybe they were too afraid and too ashamed to face their parents, so they decided never to go back. What happened to Peter’s body? Was he really dead in the first place?

Many questions remain unanswered, and that’s exactly why the story is scary. The reader assumes the worst.

Are You Ready to Write?

If you’re not quite ready to write your scary story, you should read first. Edgar Allan Poe wrote chilling stories that will get you inspired.

But don’t wait too long! Writing is not scary at all. It’s fun! No one has to read your story if you don’t like it. Write it anyway. As you keep practicing, you’ll gain more confidence.


BIO: Emma Rundle is a blogger and academic writer. She’s written and edited many stories so far. With her tips, she wants to inspire people at all ages to work on their writing skills.