We are at that time of the year when the weather is getting colder, days are getting shorter and everything is getting darker. That’s the exact time to harvest the pumpkins and for the last around 2000 years - this is the time when we celebrate Halloween!
Well, we don’t have a pumpkin for you but we have some great ideas to share, in case you still need some Halloween inspiration for your horror story.
So, just in case – check if the doors and window are closed and locked, and now when we’re safe enough, let’s dive deep…
The horror genre is all about emotions such as fear, anxiety, and all the things that are unknown to us. We all know what fear is because we have experienced this emotion in our life, but to write a horror story is not as easy as it might seem.
The most realistic way to describe something is if you have experienced it. Therefore, write about all the things you are interested in, think about what scares you the most, and what are your feelings if you imagine yourself in a dangerous and mysterious situation. You will certainly put more passion into writing your horror book or story if you have experienced those deep emotions yourself.
Remember - writing a horror story or book is not only about gigantic rats, zombies, blood, or weapons. H. P. Lovecraft, a famous American writer of horror fiction, wrote “The oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”. Thus, if you would like to keep the reader turning pages, make sure you put them in a state of suspense. This can be achieved by limiting the point of view for the reader and the character - keep them in the dark about the imminent danger. Try to play with their senses- they know that there is something about to happen, but they cannot identify it.
Writing a horror story is the case where the quality of the details should be over the number of details, that’s why keep the information and details concise and relevant to the story. Don’t be too explicit because you can lose your reader’s attention easily.
The next step to consider is to choose the right setting – abandoned castles, haunted barns, or remote villages, all of them engulfed in the darkness that limits our visibility would leave us in a state of fear. However, you can choose a setting that is less likely to be a place that will host a horror story. Everything that seems quite ordinary could make a great horror story to keep you awake all night.
Think about tension all the time! Think of a story that is intriguing and full of tension, so that the reader won’t expect what is about to come. Provoke the reader to ask questions by twisting the plot. Force your character to change their plans because of the circumstances that don’t depend on them. Adapting to anything unfamiliar and accepting a new situation will unlock hidden fear and suspense.
Be careful and pay attention to your characters as well. Take your time to describe the main character, so that the reader will feel for them during the course of the book. The readers tend to project themselves into the characters, so whatever feelings the character is going through, the reader will feel strong empathy. Immerse the readers into your character’s world, spend enough time to build a strong relationship between the characters and the reader. Actually, don’t rush to reveal the threat your character is about to face, and also keep your monster in the dark for longer if you can. Of course, this doesn’t mean to reveal the bad guy in the very last chapter, sure you can always give little hints about them. Attract the reader's attention by sharing unusual and suspicious things happening around the main character, this is how you can keep your readers constantly engaged and experiencing the fear of the unknown.
A good ending would be a quote from W. Goldman, “Give the reader what they want, just not the way they expect it”. There is no good or bad ending to a horror book or story, there is just a satisfying ending. As long as you have managed to keep your readers biting their nails and turning behind every step they make -well, now you have a great horror story.
Happy Halloween from BooksShelf's Team!