7 Tips for Writing Your Horror Story Suspenseful
7 Tips for Writing Your Horror Story Suspenseful
Not that many things exist now, that have been a part of human history as long as the horror genre has. Its inception takes place back in ancient times, when the tales about witches and spirits got people terrified. With time going by, horror stories have ingrained in national folklore of the majority of modern countries, with a slight difference connected with the specific culture of each nationality. Oral horror gave the start to written and cinematic ones, which have made horror one of the most popular genres.
Even considering their prevalence, horror stories are far from being easy to write. It needs a true talent and good skills to compose a terrific story, which intimidates a reader by its plot rather than disgusting details as the abundance of blood and guts. This explains why horror stories may appear a hard thing for beginner writers, who, however, may ask academic writers for help on the special platforms. They do not necessarily compose the whole story themselves, but they may create a reference and guide them in the right direction in order to help them write better.
The majority of traditional horrific images have become clichés now, which is why it is harder and harder to write good quality pieces in this genre with time passing. However, there are some tips and tricks, which will make your story better for your readers.
- READ MORE
When attempting in any new sphere, it is vitally important to know who are your colleagues and what products they have. Horror literature is no exception! There is a vast range of different subgenera, which allows you to choose any book you feel appealed to. Develop your oversight, learn the styles, notice the way the author describes the events — catch as much useful information as you possibly can. Get familiar with the mood and with the peculiarities of the genre, as it differs from others.
- THINK OVER YOUR CHARACTERS
All the people, who will be somehow involved in your story, should not be an accident. They have to possess some key features, skills or even appearance, that will have a tight connection to the plot. Professional authors recommend having a separate notebook for each character and just write their separate histories there in detail. Not only it will be easier for you to keep your story organized and well-fashioned, but also will help you create the hooks — the episodes, which not only maintain viewers attention, but also drags it even more.
- REMEMBER YOUR FEARS
It may sound surprising, but we all have the same fears. People are afraid of the very narrow variety of phenomena, and this is what the horror genre benefits from — authenticity. Its success is basically dependent on whether you managed to scare your readers or they are left indifferent. That is why if you are terrified by your story, your reader will be too! And remember, real stuff is way scarier, than imaginary.
- GIVE MOTIVES
It has become quite a common thing, that the characters a more flawed in horror, compared to other genres. This, actually, makes sense, as the events, that appear in horror stories, are usually the consequences of the characters’ decisions. This leads us back to the second tip, as malevolent characters should have their background as an explanation to what they do. It can remain a part of a mystery to the reader, revealing only a tiny part of their biography, which would be a great move, or become a second idea of the story.
- USE PARALLELISM
Parallelism is a strong, yet complicated, literature instrument, which not only allows to build multiple story lines, but also helps you come up with an unexpected ending. It is widely used in all genres, and horror is not an exception here! For example, if you decide to leave your antagonist a stranger, make his actions similar to the actions of the agonist, either in the past or in the present. Or, connect the outcomes of villains actions with the events that have happened in other characters’ lives in the past. Use your imagination here, the key is to not make it obvious and then success is guaranteed.
- USE OTHER GENRES
No one said that you have to limit your story with features only primordially specific to the horror genre. Play with styles and moods, make it interesting. Professionals suggest using the elements of tragedy, as it adds more drama to the plot. Haven’t you heard the phrase «Don’t go there, idiot?» in any horror movie you have watched? I am more than sure you have. Moreover, it helps to put some important lessons to the plot, like the deviance of cruelty or the importance of situation analysis. A great combination is horror with detectives, as it adds more mystery. When the characters are trying to solve some problems or reveal some ugly truth, the path they follow is always catchy and maintains readers attention to the last page.
- BUILD LAYERS
In order to write a really good story, you need to have more, that a single idea. For sure, there has to be the central one, but there also have to be others, that either explain the main one or have a relatively separate plot. The only rule is that these supporting ideas should amplify the strength and horror of the main plot. Remember the second tip above? Develop personal stories of the characters. They will bring more authenticity to your story and will make it more relatable for the readers. In order to fully dive in the atmosphere, they need to understand the environment your characters live in and the circumstances that led to the horror you are describing. Make the story real.
Horror is definitely an interesting genre to work with, but a rather complicated one. It is not that easy to find a weakness of the person, who will read your story, as you have never met him or her before, needless to say how hard it is for a big audience. Yet, the popularity of horror stories is growing day by day, and with practice it becomes quite possible to create a good piece by yourself. Turn on your imagination, learn the basics and it all will gradually lead you to success.
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The Horror Tree is a resource for horror authors which was created in 2011. The main goal when starting the site was to include all of the latest horror anthologies and publishers that are taking paying submissions. A resource useful for both new and experienced publishers alike looking for an outlet for their written material!