Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
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Horror is supposed to scare, surprise, shock, and repulse audiences. Horror novels, films, and TV shows use horrific pictures, themes, and situations to create dread in the reader.
Horror is about story, characters, mood, and atmosphere. Horror stories explore the unknown to shock and frighten.
Whether it's your first time writing horror or you're attempting to improve, keep these tips in mind:
1. Draw from real-life experiences: Recall things that scared you as a kid or make things you love and a spooky twist. (Stephen King loves this.)
2. Start with the title: Most writers start with an idea and then choose a title. Do the opposite. Titles help generate story ideas quickly.
3. First write the ending: Once you start writing, it's easy to trick people from the beginning of the story and subvert their expectations from the ending.
4. Hook the reader immediately: Start with a startling or shocking first chapter to establish the who, what, when, and where. Early introduction of crucial plot points allows your plot to unfold.
5. Use cliffhangers: Pique the reader's curiosity in future events to keep them reading.
6. Add twists: Keeping a reader interested through a story's middle is difficult. A twist helps.
7. Throw a red herring or misleading lead. Intentionally mislead the reader to prevent prediction.
8. Take inspiration: Reading other authors' stories can give you ideas. Horror films and novels can help your writing. Study a horror writer's work. How do they handle twists and cliffhangers? How do they build tension?