How to Write Horror: Telling Stories That Will Leave a Reader Terrified

How to Write Horror: Telling Stories That Will Leave a Reader Terrified

23.3K Reads 1.6K Votes 54 Part Story
T.L. Bodine By TLBodine Updated Oct 04

Writing advice from horror writer T.L. Bodine, author of the TNT Horror Contest Grand Prize Winner as well as life-long horror fan, critic, and contributor to the horror e-zine Ravenous Monster. 

How do you make stories that are actually scary? 

Here's a guide that explores the psychology of horror and the nuts-and-bolts of writing, from crafting characters and plots to specific techniques you can incorporate into your writing to boost the power of your storytelling.

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tamoja tamoja Apr 30
I find the scariest bits the part I can fill in myself. I try my best to not give everything away in a story and let some of it phase itself into sight by the reader because of that. It may not be everyone’s thing- but I love that
DerpyPotato-Chan7 DerpyPotato-Chan7 Jul 17, 2017
"How to harvest your own fears for ideas." I get it! We use what scares us most and put it in a story! Like, I am personally afraid of heights, but that wouldn't make much of a horror story? Unless, since I'm also afraid of zombies, they could be chasing me past a long, thin bridge? Or rope?
DerpyPotato-Chan7 DerpyPotato-Chan7 Jul 17, 2017
I understand... So, we find out what exactly is so frightening about... Let's say something scary, like clowns? We'd find out what's so scary about them? Clowns, well, they are scary because their laughter is a bit unsettling. I think the make-up on the clown is kind of... Creepy. Is that good?
So for an example, If someone were afraid dogs, like BIG dogs, and they were stuck in a white room and there were Pitbulls chained to one wall that moves closer to you every, let's say, 10 minutes, and the wall behind you has syringes facing you. 
                              
                              Was that good?
XXXXXX_A XXXXXX_A Aug 22, 2017
So basically, we take a fear and we analyze it, to pin point exactly what about it is scary? So like, a fear of the dark, that could be because of what's being hidden in the dark? Because truly anything can be bidding in the dark, and you wouldn't know it until you put a light on.
DerpyPotato-Chan7 DerpyPotato-Chan7 Jul 17, 2017
Well... I never tried writing a horror story, but that's because I need help :P This story is going to help me a lot, I just know it!!!