A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 8

H is For Horror

Although my longer fiction is romantically inclined, my short fiction often dips into the horror category. It’s not something I plan, it just happens that way. Maybe one of these days I’ll try something longer in horror, but until then I’ll just share some of the tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Make your readers sweat immediately. People don’t pick up a horror novel for a casual read. Readers want the pulse rate to kick into high gear. Start with a bang.

Limit your point of view. Write your story from the viewpoint of the main characters and remain faithful to those points of view. Let readers experience everything through those characters’ eyes, memories and feelings.

Create strong, identifiable characters. Give them a goal and throw obstacle after obstacle at them. If you don’t care about your characters, the readers certainly won’t.

Create a strong atmosphere. Creating a definite sense of mood and place is always important, but take special care with your opening. Use all the senses to make the reader picture everything.

Make your world come alive. If your character is fleeing from some flesh eating zombie, you must imagine the terrified thoughts racing through his or her mind – the sounds, muted by terror, even the way the air smells and tastes.

Let your characters do the doubting. Their disbelief, especially in the face of overwhelming evidence, makes us accept the whole premise you’ve come up with. Letting your characters disbelieve, question, doubt, every incredible thing that happens puts readers on the side of the supernatural – just where you want them.

Try to be original. The more different you make your story, the more it will appeal to publishers and readers.

Try to pick a subject that scares you personally. The more emotional power you pack into your story, the more readers will become terrified with you. They will feel your horror as they read each terrifying word, and become scared with you.


K.C. Woolf said...

I've been wanting to write a horror short story for a while. Thanks for the reminder and the good tips!

Bish Denham said...

I can't hardly read horror or watch horror movies so I'm not sure I'd ever be able to write it. But these points are good for writing anything suspenseful.

LA Nickers said...

H is for horror. Good one!

Linda Ann

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JL Dodge said...

Great advice !
I love to read horror stories, I have been known to write suspence but have yet to try horror... poetry is more our thing...
Thank you so much for stoping in,we are following you now too !

Nofretiri said...

It's not the first time, we realize that similar geniuses think similar! *g* My post is also about H for Horror! :-)

Unfortunately, since Friday evening I'm totally knocked out by a terrible stomach flu ... I hope I can post my 'Horror version' by Sunday!

Wish me luck! *g*

Justine Darkholme said...

I edit horror for Muse It Up Publishing and I think your tips would be very useful for some of our writers. Good job.