With Halloween just around the bend, horror stories abound. Horror stories, of course, are popular anytime of the year. In truth, it is kind of strange that a genre solely designed to scare the daylights out of you is popular, but in a way it is quite understandable. Horror stories are specifically designed to target the human fear triggers. These fear triggers were developed during humanity’s evolutionary journey.
These triggers were meant to hone humanity’s survival instinct to help them survive confrontations with predators. In many ways, our phobias are the effects of our years of evolution. It is also these fear triggers that lead people to like the horror genre. In many ways, it is our way of keeping our fear triggers active. This is also why the horror genre has been very popular through the years. And very few forms of media can capture the horror genre better than in written form. True, films have the added variables of sounds, special effects, and other cinematic tools. But there are few things scarier than a horror novel being read in the privacy of your room and only your imagination for company.
But the main question, though, what’s the best way to write a horror story and impress your readers? Here are great ways on how to do it.
- Create a great setting.
When you are writing a horror story, one of the best ingredients is to create an appropriate setting for the story. The setting does not need to be a haunted house or cemetery. The true test of your writing skills is being able to evoke a sense of dread in the most unlikely places. It can be in the safety and comfort of the protagonist’s home. It is all about how you describe the place, how you set up your words and how the tone of your writing can capture your reader’s imagination.
- Make your characters as relatable as possible
One of the best ways to making a good horror story is by making your characters as relatable as possible. This is because if you make your characters as normal as possible readers would subconsciously think of the characters as themselves and this would make the story so much more real to them. This is a common technique used by the horror genre. Haven’t you ever noticed movies where the characters are high school kids who live ordinary lives? Then out of nowhere, they are faced with something terrifying. It is this sudden change from the norm that truly scares readers.
- Try to create a feeling of stress and anxiety
Fear usually stems from feelings of anxiety and stress. This is because the human psyche is totally opposed to anything out of the norm. Humans hate the unknown because they fear that they will not be able to take on the challenge at hand. This is why if you really want to scare your readers, make them feel anxious for the protagonist’s predicament.
- Pay attention to your reader’s breath patterns
Have you ever noticed when you are scared or startled your breathing becomes irregular? Your breathing pattern becomes quick, you tend to take in more breaths a minute or when you are nervous about something you tend to hold your breath or breathe more slowly than usual. This is because your body is trying to act normally during a fearful state. This is the state that you would want your readers to be in while they read your book. This means that your book is pretty scary.
- Create a very sinister back story
One of the pre-requisite when it comes to creating a good horror story is to create a sinister back story. There are various ways you can do this. One way is to create a history about a certain place. One example would be a cursed object that has been possessed by a demon. Or it can be taken from myths or urban legends. The more sinister and detailed the backstory, the better.
- Write in one sentence paragraphs
One of the best ways to evoke a sense of dread in your readers is by writing in a one sentence pattern during the more scary situations. By doing this the scary parts of your book will be highlighted.
- Make a memorable antagonist
When it comes to horror stories, having a memorable antagonist is key to scaring the daylights out of your readers. Your antagonist need not show itself right away, just as long as it’s presence is felt the whole novel. The antagonist must also have a disturbing backstory to give it a more menacing reputation and make its appearance even more terrifying.