In this article, we will explore some simple steps on how to write a horror story. These steps are some of the fundamentals that will help you kickstart your journey as a writer in this genre.
Horror stories have been around for a very long time. They started with old stories about witches, evil spirits, and scary things. People get ideas for horror stories from these old stories and also from famous horror writers like Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King. These stories can help you learn how to write your own scary stories or scripts for movies.
What is Horror?
Horror is a type of storytelling that makes people feel scared. It’s a kind of story that talks about things that frighten most people, like ghosts, werewolves, and killers. Sometimes, horror stories can become predictable because they use the same ideas over and over again. But when done well, horror stories can be exciting and also say something important about being human.
What Makes a Good Horror Story?
Well, the best ones mix everyday things with shocking, unnatural, and scary stuff. Lots of horror stories happen in places we know, like a new house or a camping trip. When the main character is like us, it’s even scarier when they face something terrifying. For example, it’s scarier for a family in a new house to meet a slasher than for a robot in space to do the same. Why? Because we understand moving to a new home, but we don’t know how it feels to be a space robot.
Surprisingly, some writers think that writing horror is a lot like writing comedy. Both types of stories change familiar situations in unexpected ways. Comedy does this with something silly and weird, while horror does it with something scary and dangerous. People’s reactions to horror stories and funny jokes come from the same feeling: being happily surprised when a normal situation turns into something completely different.
How to Write a Horror Story in a Few Steps
If you want to write a scary story, it’s a good idea to keep some important things in mind. When it comes to writing scary stories, there are no strict rules. A great scary story can be long or short and can be about any topic. Here are some useful tips to help you get started with writing scary stories:
1. Read more horror stories.
The best way to know what a good story looks like is to read one yourself. Some famous scary story writers are Poe, Lovecraft, and King, but there are many others too. Authors like Shirley Jackson, Dean R. Koontz, and Robert Bloch are also known for their horror stories. And if you’re writing for young readers, you can check out books by John Bellairs and R.L. Stine, who specialize in horror stories for kids.
2. Horror can be found in unexpected places
Remember, scary stories can be found in unexpected places. Some writers, like Joyce Carol Oates, Chuck Wendig, and Neil Gaiman, don’t only write horror. They mix scary elements into their other stories too. So, as well as reading classic horror books and watching scary movies, try exploring other works by writers who add a touch of horror to their creations.
3. Focus on Your Own Fears:
One of the simplest ways to write a horror story is to write about what scares you. It’s like telling a funny story; it’s better if it’s something you truly experienced. A famous writer, Stephen King, talked about how facing his fears helped him write horror stories. So, think about your fears. If you can scare yourself, you can probably scare others too.
4. Create Realistic Characters:
Make your characters like real people. They should have good and bad qualities that affect the story. In all good stories, characters have feelings, wants, and a past. The more real your characters are, the more the audience will care about them. When these characters make mistakes, the audience will feel it deeply.
5. Real Life is Scarier than Fantasy:
Remember, real things can be scarier than made-up things. Sure, you can create weird monsters or horror scenes, but will it really scare your readers? Maybe not. Most times, stories that mess with people’s minds are scarier than just showing something gross or shocking. Think about movies like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. They didn’t have a lot of blood or monsters, but they scared people because they felt real. Playing with what people are genuinely afraid of can be more terrifying than just showing something creepy.