10 Ways To Kick-Start Your Horror Story

10 Ways To Kick-Start Your Horror Story


The holidays give writers a wonderful opportunity to harvest material for stories. We’ve included 10 tips and 10 ways to kick-start your horror story.

If you’re writing a horror story, or you’re looking to add a scary scene, use these tips and prompts to help you.

10 Tips To Write A Horror Story

  1. A good horror story is all about what you put your character through.
  2. The terror usually lies in the fear of the unknown and the anticipation. As Alfred Hitchcock said: ‘There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.’ Use foreshadowing to good effect.
  3. You do not need a scary location (although it doesn’t hurt to have one). You need to isolate your character, create suspense, and craft an intensity in the mood that seems overwhelming.
  4. Use a ticking clock to build the tension. Deadlines are great for anybody writing in the thriller or horror genre.
  5. Create a worthy antagonist. You can write about monsters – real or made-up. The real people who are monsters are often the scariest.
  6. If you want to terrify your character (and your audience) slowly remove everything that makes them feel secure.
  7. Make sure your character’s actions are believable. Even though horror requires the suspension of belief, their actions should make sense to them.
  8. Cross your genres. Use this list to choose one.
  9. You don’t have to set a crazy pace. Sometimes, the slower the pace, the more horrifying the story. Think of zombies and their relentless, slow progress.
  10. End with a horrifying plot twist. Something unexpected must happen. This something can be revealing, shocking, or clever. It can even be all three. Read: The Secret To Writing A Great Plot Twist

10 Ways To Kick-Start Your Horror Story At Halloween

Here are 10 Halloween-themed prompts to get you started:

  1. Write a story about going home for Halloween. When you get there, your family does not recognise you.
  2. You decide to stay home alone for Halloween. You want a bit of peace and quiet. You wash the dishes, lock the doors, and head upstairs to bed. As you switch off the light, you hear footsteps in the kitchen.
  3. Create a monster. Name it. Sketch it. Where does it live. What does it do? What does it eat? Why is it scary to humans?
  4. Write a story about a haunted house from the viewpoint of the house.
  5. Write a Halloween haiku or a Halloween sonnet or a Halloween villanelle.
  6. Write a story about children who are left with somebody who is unreliable and forgetful.
  7. The lady in white always appears on the stairs at midnight on Halloween. Nobody believed you, until today.
  8. The clocks have stopped, both digital and analogue. You try to tell people, but nobody cares.
  9. They offered you $1 000 to spend the night in the graveyard.
  10. Write a free verse ABC (acrostic) poem:

H
A
L
L
O
W
E
E
N

Happy Halloween and Happy Writing!

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

© Amanda Patterson

If you liked this articleyou may enjoy

  1. How A Flashbulb Memory Can Help You Define Your Memoir
  2. Do Your Characters Have SMART Story Goals?
  3. Countdown To NaNoWriMo – How To Plan For The Month
  4. Write A Road Trip To Help You Plot A Book
  5. The 7 Qualities Of Compelling Character Motivations
  6. What Is A Vignette & How Do I Write One?
  7. 140 Words To Describe Mood In Fiction
  8. Fantasy Book Title Generator
  9. 10 Memoir Mistakes Writers Should Avoid At All Costs
  10. 6 Things Alfred Hitchcock Can Teach You About Writing