LOL I do the whole looking around thing when something is sketchy thing, too. Once, I was the only one awake in the house, and I found the front door open. I freaked out because I thought someone had broken into the house. I was so scared, and I really needed to go to the bathroom, but I forced myself to check every single room in the house. I watched Insidious again—firs viewing was in a cabin in the woods after my sister swore she saw a ghost, hahaha in the middle of the night to try and study that masterful tension and fear-building that was captured in that movie.
I do have a question: I am struggling with this and wondering if I should shift my POV. I think it really boils down to how the voice of the story comes out.
Every book will require a different POV, and it can take a few rewrites to get the right one! That knowledge is built into the genre. Does that make sense?
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There ought to be adequate to hold you laughing and screaming for a whilst, particularly in the Halloween time. Thanks a lot for it. I will review my short story and make big changes keeping these four points in mind. What do you think about this advice. Email will not be published required. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Sooz Jun 22 Julie Jun 22 at 7: Sooz Jun 24 at 6: Erin Bowman Jun 22 at 8: With fantastic examples both written and visual to boot!!
Katherine S Jun 22 at 8: Caterer Jun 22 at Alexa Alexa Loves Jun 22 at 2: What a great set of tips! Perhaps it gets colder and colder as the weather gets worse, as fuel gets sparser, or as the main character crawls deeper into the catacomb.
When the villain, torturer, executioner, serial killer or concentration camp commander talks, describe his voice. Obviously, your style will be different, but these may serve as inspiration:. His voice had the low-humming hiss of a wasp hovering over rotting fruit. I Dived the Pandora. You can use any of these techniques on their own or in combination, whatever works best for your story. Which of them are you going to try?
Have you used any of them, and how did they work for your story? I enjoy answering questions. Rayne Hall has published more than fifty books in several languages under several pen names with several publishers in several genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. She is a trained publishing manager, holds a masters degree in Creative Writing, and has worked in the publishing industry for over thirty years.
Having lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian on the Sulu Fight Scenessouth coast of England where she enjoys reading, gardening and long walks along the seashore. She shares her home with a black cat adopted from the cat shelter. To learn more about Rayne, visit her website or follow her on Twitter where she posts advice for writers, funny cartoons and cute pictures of her cat.
A young boy, clinging to a horse, cheers them on as his parents and on-lookers scream in horror. Hitch even manages to make the beautiful painted horses look macabre. Yes, descriptions can slow the pace.
The best strategy is to keep descriptions short but super-effective. For example, a sentence about smells reveals more about a place than a whole paragraph of visual description does.
If you want to keep a scene fast-paced, make the descriptions auditory rather than visual. Sounds can actually increase the the pace. Prose writers can use this technique as well, showing one or two small details instead of showing everything. However, unlike in a movie, we need to keep to the PoV, and show only details the PoV would notice at that moment.
Nice selection of tips for writing scary moments. I know I favour darkness, or the half-light. Fog is another good one. Thanks for the post. Yes, darkness or semi-darkness is great because it combines so well with some of the other techniques, such as the increased importance of sound and the dropping temperature.
Bodily response is something that works effectively in my stories, but Rayne makes an important point when she suggests that this technique should not be over-used. Physical responses are great. I find they work best in clusters rather than spread out. So instead of sprinkling them evenly across the whole manuscript, I tend to insert them only in the scary or scary-ish scenes, and when I want the reader to be terrified with the character I insert several close together.
Always found it interesting how tips for one genre can be used for another with no more than a few minor tweaks. The Romance and Horror genres have a lot in common — both seek to elicit strong emotions in the reader, albeit different ones. The same or similar techniques can be used for both. This was really interesting to read.
But I am thinking for my own novels to write some thrillers and horror novels, so this is going to come in handy when that time comes. You can apply the suspense-creating techniques in a modified form. So many scary scenes or whole novels were built behind the suspense of the closed door. Some combinations also could be very effective, like an indefinite but nerve wrecking sound coming from the other side of the closed door.
A sound coming from the other side of the door? Ooh, this is a good idea. That will ratchet up the suspense. Nothing overtly weird happens; you never find out if there even is a ghost. This sounds like my kind of story to read. Hodgson were the only ones that genuinely scared me. Having an understanding of human psychology is really important for writing a novel.
Like the door bit that you mention. Another good psychological trick is the sensation of someone standing behind us, or someone looking at us, or someone following us. But really, the novels I have coming out so far are all, in their own way, horror novels. Both are occasionally grisly and each puts to task a certain existential fear that horror does particularly well, asking who the hell are we, exactly? None of this is meant to be hard and firm in terms of providing answers and advice.
These are the things I think about writing horror. Every story is, in its tiny way, a horror story. Horror is about fear and tragedy, and whether or not one is capable of overcoming those things. In the Snooki book, we experience revulsion as we see Snooki bed countless bodybuilders and gym-sluts, her alien syphilis fast degrading their bodies until soon she can use their marrowless bones as straws with which to slurp up her latest Windex-colored drink.
This is our literary legacy: Horror is part of our narrative make-up. You want to see the simplest heart of horror, you could do worse than by dissecting ghost stories and urban legends: They contain many of the elements that make horror what it is: We fear the unknown because we fear the dark.
Horror often operates best when it plays off this core notion that the unknown is a far freakier quantity than the known. The more we know the less frightening it becomes. Lovecraft is like a really advanced version of this. We must know what can be gained — and, more importantly, what can be lost — for horror to work.
Fear is built off of understanding consequences. We can be afraid of the unknown of the dark, but horror works best when we know that the dark is worth fearing. Beneath plot and beneath story is a greasy, grimy subtextual layer of pacing — the tension and recoil of dread and revulsion.
Dread is a kind of septic fear, a grim certainty that bad things are coming. Revulsion occurs when we see how these bad things unfold. We know that the monster is coming, and at some point we must see the wretchedness of the beast laid bare. Dread, revulsion, dread, revulsion. Horror works on three levels: Our mind reels at trying to dissect horror, and good horror asks troubling questions.
Our heart feels a surge of emotion: Our gut feels all the leftover, baser emotions: Which, for the record, is the name of my new Satanic Ska band. Something my father used to do: The still-beating heart of a unicorn. The point was always the same: Horror still plays on this. You know my number from the last time we made love under the overpass.
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I looked up at the dismal night sky, the moon glinting small signs of vileness. The bitter cold wind blew frighteningly in my face, it howling and whist 3 Paragraphs of Gothic Descriptive Writing. Stories, poems, descriptive writing etc. all of the homework That I actually like and am pleased with/proud of.
Horror Writing Tips Whether you are just getting started or are far along in your attempts, reviewing the following suggestions can help you get a better idea of what approaches work best for you. Recall frightening images and feelings from spooky stories you've heard . Gothic Horror. I walked cautiously up towards the grand old house, where I read the name aloud 'Hollow Manor.' It had the look of a gothic church with the arched stained glass windows.3/5.