How to Write Horror
Although I put my books in the horror category I’m not sure they are actually scary. I tend to lean to putting them in the horror-splatter punk genre. The best way to write about horror is write about something which scares you. I’ve always had a fear of the closet monster or monster under the bed. Even now at 42 my imagination still rules my impulses.
You must first setup the scene. Make the reader smell it. Make the reader hear the world around them. Put the reader in your character’s shoes by ramping up the nerves. Horror/thriller scenes are best in the dark or a dark room. Somewhere spooky, like an abandoned barn or old mine shaft or old slaughterhouse. Aisle 13 at Walmart is not scary unless the power is out, zombies are breaking through the glass doors and wandering about. You can hear the breath rattling in their chests. Or the werewolf is inside with you. The reader hears the click of its claws on the floor.
A fellow writer and teacher of writing, Rayne Hall, said it best, “cowards are the best horror writers.” Another trick is to not keep the reader on edge the entire book. You must run your story on a squiggle line. Take them up and down or you lose the effect. Allow the reader to calm down and relax and then spring the monster on them.
I find short chapters help keep the story moving and it provides a good scene break. If the chapters are too long I tend to zone out. Although I’ve only wrote about werewolves, I’m going to do some reading of the greats (Tim Miller, Matt Saw, Sam West to name a few). I want to try my hand at psychopaths who don’t go all furry.
To tighten up your writing and really get the reader involved once you’ve wrote your first draft, take a look at all of Rayne Hall’s books in her Writer’s Craft series and then go back through your manuscript. A couple word tweaks here and then make a huge difference. I know from experience. After following the steps above my editor made comment my writing improved 100% from the first book she edited. She also said she never eats when reading my work :)
I’m married for 22 years and the proud mamma to three dogs. I’ve published three books. I love werewolves so my books revolove around them. I write horror/thriller/splatterpunk; my books are explicit in everything from sex to killing. I write what I like to read. I enjoy reading, movies, shopping with my mother, folding origami cranes, crocheting, peg doll painting, and benchrest shooting. I’m also a big Harry Potter fan. Click here to learn more.
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