How to Write a Horror Story That Terrifies Your Readers

October 11, 2022

Written by Ella Rebecca Horton

Ella Rebecca has been in love with the horror genre since an early age. The Bride of Frankenstein began her love of the classics and she's been writing and collecting since.

Things are about to get spooky! A horror story often addresses a specific theme or problem. It may be about how miserable life is, how wicked people are, or about the beast that lives within us. It may even be about fear or the many ways we deal with fear. All horror stories share the characteristic that they are “tales of terror.” The best horror stories deal with fear, whether it’s dread of death, sickness, pain, loneliness, or the unknown. The majority of people dislike being afraid, which is the primary issue with horror tales. Human thoughts gravitate toward the easy, comfortable, and familiar. How, then, can we circumvent that? In this article, you’ll discover how to write a good horror story in 5 simple stages.



Horror Story Writing: 5 Comprehensive Steps

So, would you like to discover how to compose an incredible horror story? The 5 steps this article highlights will set you on the right path and match your creative ambitions, whether you desire to learn how to create a horror novel or movie. Although there isn’t much difference between writing horror and writing for other genres, it does need a specific frame of mind and an appropriately creepy objective. Accordingly, you may explore this article’s recommendations to learn how to write a horror short story.



Conduct research about various horror story writing prompts

Consuming great horror is a common starting point for writing horror. When creating the present tales, we draw inspiration from the past. It will be considerably more difficult for somebody who has never watched or read a horror story to write one than for somebody who regularly consumes it. Reading and watching may enable you to get valuable prompts on composing scary stories.



Make sure you conduct research before coming up with your opening line. It might be beneficial to investigate various horror media. However, it is advisable to concentrate on the kind of content you want to produce. You should explore as many horror books as possible if you wish to discover how to develop a horror story. Analyzing the material and moving beyond watching and reading horror is vital. Investigate the reasons behind the writer’s choices and determine why particular components succeed or fail. It might be beneficial to look at both good and bad content to understand what not to do. Paying attention to the rhythm and organization of the tales that inspire you while reading resources is crucial for horror story writing.



Select your preferred type of horror

After settling on a genre, it’s time to choose your subgenre(s) and the exact direction you want to go with horror. There are a variety of horror subgenres available. Remember that there are many ways to combine different genres and subgenres. For instance, The Witch combines elements of historical fiction with horror. On the other hand, From Dusk Till Dawn combines vampire, crime thriller, and action aspects. In this stage, you should also determine the precise approach you will use while creating horror. We refer to the leading source(s) of scares and tension as the “avenue of horror.” Your horror story may go in various directions, such as:


  • Social horror
  • Body horror
  • Cosmic horror
  • Zombies
  • Witches



Just as with sub-genres and genres, it would help to combine them. You’d need to structure a horror tale that employs murder and carnage as its primary source of fear quite differently from one that emphasizes a feeling of overwhelming terror, leaving more to the reader’s imagination.



Get professional essay writing help on how to write a good horror story

You may hire a professional for assistance if you’re having trouble writing a horror story or an academic essay. Horror story writing is among the various essay writing services that CustomWritings provides to students online. If you’re interested in engaging one of their top helpers, the company can help. The writers will assist you in identifying the best horror story, presenting your ideas of fear concisely, and ensuring that your tale is still amusing and enjoyable. When your readers encounter this powerful emotion of “fear” in their comfort zone, where they are safe from all the atrocities in the tale they are reading, the experts will transform this uncomfortable sense of terror into an incredibly appealing, delightful, and entertaining experience. Visit the website for tips and information about their cheap assignment writing services.



Tap into your anxieties and fears 

Once you’ve chosen your genre and your approach to horror, it’s time to narrow your focus and go a little deeper. Determine what renders your tale scary. This could already be incorporated into your avenue of horror and sub-genre, depending on your choice in step 2. For instance, the home invasion subgenre naturally taps onto a prevalent phobia among people. Nevertheless, if you want to write a tale in the zombie subgenre, you may have to put in a bit more effort to figure out what would frighten readers. Zombies can be frightening on their own, but overexposure to them by audiences over the years has done much to decrease the terrifying effect they once had.



Writing advice that is often given is to “write what you know.” We may rephrase that advice to read “write what scares you” while composing the story. When writing a horror tale, draw on your anxieties and phobias—other people are likely to be frightened by similar things. Additionally, now is the time to look for your X-factor. What distinguishes your work from other horror papers? If the conclusion is “nothing really,” it may be necessary to start again with your idea.



Consider your audience

You may now begin writing your horror tale. The majority of the composing procedure will be similar to how you would develop a narrative in any other genre. However, there are several more factors to take into account. Put your initial study to use and ensure your text is well-balanced and reasonably distributes the scares. You’ll want to strike a balance between giving up on the plot and character growth and not providing your viewers with enough creepy material. While narrative pacing is vital in all genres, horror writers must also be concerned with timing their scares, just as somebody creating an action essay would purposefully time out their major action parts.



From the beginning, choose your intended audience and work with them in mind. There may be a big contrast between horror geared toward teenage students and horror geared toward an older audience. For example, this may entail shooting for a PG-13 rather than an R rating in cinema. Finally, it’s time to put all your knowledge about writing compelling horror tales to work.

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