How To Write a Horror Story in 5 Steps

How To Write a Horror Story in 5 Steps

Are you an aspiring writer aiming to achieve success in the literary world of modern times? If yes, perhaps one of the genres you want to explore is horror stories. Why? Simply because what is unnatural and shocking affects human emotions more intensely than anything else. This article will serve as a guide to writing a horror story in 5 simple steps. 

Read More Horror Stories


Reading as many horror stories as you can give you a better understanding of what a horror story looks like. It not only broadens your horizon as a writer but will provide you with great ideas to work on your own account imaginatively. There has been a greater inclination found towards writing and reading horror stories recently. Some of these stories are turned into horror movies where the visual impact is created, leaving a lasting impression on the movie watchers, young and old alike. From the gothic classic of Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and Edgar Allen Poe to modern horror stories of R.L Stein, you can have ample frightful stories to let you have a greater understanding of the different natures of fear. These are the few horror elements that will add to the spookiness in your story.

  • Instinctive Fears

Featuring common phobias in your story that have a strong foundation in instinct is one of the most effective frightening strategies used by horror story writers. Fear of snakes, uncannily huge spiders, closed spaces, heights are effectively used to frighten the reader, especially when the terror affects innocent people. The factor that if a terrible incident can happen to a character in the story, it can happen to you as well is enough to give your reader many sleepless nights. 

  • Fear of the Unknown and the Supernatural


The horror narrative involving the fear of the mysterious or supernatural is the most common modern horror element. The plot extends beyond realism into the uncanny and the unseen. Stories about ghosts, werewolves, zombies may seem unreal but have an equal tendency to shake the readers from the core. Similarly, just the idea of an unseen creature lurking somewhere in the darkest corner of the room or the creepy feeling that somebody is looking at you is enough to make you curl up under a blanket. 

  • Fear of the Societal Discrepancies

Bordering your story around a societal issue is considered a successful means of building fear among your readers. An issue prevalent in society and growing each day can be a source of greater anxiety than the unknown or the mysterious. For example, a story on the case of the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century can still instill fear among readers. Empathy is what will come into play in such instances.   

Even after reading an umpteenth number of horror stories, you are unable to come up with one on your own for your literature assignment; you can always opt to hire a professional writer from a reliable writing service to write a perfect essay for you or give you help with writing an impressive and imaginative horror story for you.


Strike The Right Atmosphere

Writing a horror short story involves creating the perfect atmosphere for your characters, getting your reader ready for the ultimately terrifying climax. The atmosphere you set in your story will decide the kind of fear you want to instill in your readers. There are a few sub-genres within the major genre of horror stories.

  • Thriller Horror

Combining thrill and terror in your story, thriller horrors set the story’s tone right at the beginning before the actual story begins leading to the impending terror. A good example would be the movie ‘The Final Destination.    

  • Gross Horror

If you want to gross your readers out, this is the perfect subgenre you can adopt when you sit to write a horror story. All you need to do is give a clear, vivid description of a bloody encounter, or a dismembered body, or a monster tearing up one of your characters. Jurassic Park and The Ghost and The Darkness are perfect examples of this kind of story-telling.

  • Classic Horror

Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ exemplifies the classic horror sub-genre. This horror story is based on mysterious settings and terrifying characters that tend to run shivers down your spine. 

If you are a good writer, you can combine two or more subgenres within a story to create a more intensely frightful plot.  


Come Up With a Plot

One of the most important steps in horror story writing is to plan, envision and develop a horror story plot. Horror stories play with readers’ emotions through the element of suspense and fear. Create a suspense plot and decide upon when and how the events in your story take place, ultimately leading to the final climax. Remember, suspense is the key factor in the success of your story. A horror story plot doesn’t reveal everything in the storyline.   


Focus on Your Fears

If your story is authentic, you are most likely to have a deeper impact on your readers. Therefore, one of the most useful tips about how to write a horror story is to focus on your fears. If you can terrorize yourself, you can terrorize others as well. Focusing your story on your fears will have a two-pronged benefit. Firstly, since the story evolves from your fears, it will profoundly affect the reader. Secondly, you as a writer will have a better understanding of your fears and so will overcome them in due course of time. 


Make The Stakes Obvious

If you want to write a thrilling horror story, make sure to make the stakes clear. Give clear motivations to your characters so that your readers can identify with how the story unfolds as it progresses. Usually, the characters in a horror story will fight the uncanny for their survival. Most commonly, the hero’s survival depends upon the defeat of evil. However, more than just surviving themselves, your character can also be motivated to protect their loved ones or even the masses. Sometimes these motivations rise above the personal. The stakes for the characters are not to protect themselves or their loved ones but to unearth an ancient mystery that leads to terrible events in the story. No matter what you want your characters to do, keep the stakes simple and clear for a lasting impact on the readers. 



These are some useful tips about how to write a horror story in 5 simple steps. Particularly handy for literature students, use these tips to create an imaginative and impactful storyline for your next horror story. However, once you are done, never forget to proofread your work. 

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