It is Halloween so what better advice could we give than How To Write A Scary Story. I should point out however, that the advice you’ll find below will be of help to any fiction writer. As Susan Dennard, one of advice givers today, says
keep in mind that scary scenes aren’t confined to horror flicks. Mysteries, spy flicks, fantasies–these genres can all have some truly terrifying scenes
With this in mind lets dive into the advice and find out how you can scare the pants off your readers!
How To Write A Scary Scene
- The reader/viewer must know more than the character and be forced to wait for the Big Scare.
- The reader/viewer must be focused entirely on the scene with introspection absolutely restricted to reaction to surroundings.
- The reader must not know when the Big Scare will strike.
- When it does strike, it must not be what the reader expects.
Susan goes into quite a bit of detail for each point before using a clip from the vampire movie Fright Night to back up her points. If that doesn’t make you read Susan’s article How To Write a Scary Scene, I’m not sure what will!
What Scares You?
Explore what scares you.
Identify your main character
Work the suspense
Warning: Avoid the tropes
Like Susan, Emily goes into her points in quite a bit of detail on The Write Practice. Finally she concludes How To Write A Scary Story with a great short exercise. She suggests you spend 15 minutes writing about things that scare you. Once the 15 minutes are up look back over what you have written and see if anything inspires you to write a short story – remember names can always be changed to protect the innocent!
How to Write A Horror Story
- Get an idea (why not use one of the idea’s from Emily‘s exercise above!)
- Take Care of the Details
- Plan It Out
- Think of an Exciting First Sentence
- Just Write!
- Keep Track of Your Characters
- Eerie Settings
- Add the Horror
- Twist It Till It Cries
- End with a Bang
- Think Out of the Box