Made in America

Scare up a Good Read with these Three Tips

Even though Halloween is five months away, there’s nothing like a good horror story. Some of the best horror novels had us slowly flipping to the next page as we nervously read through the story with anxious anticipation.

If you’re thinking about writing a horror novel or are currently working on your scary story, we have some tips to help keep your readers on the edges of their seats.

Use strong verbiage

When writing a horror novel, you want to choose strong words to build suspense and evoke a sense of anxiety and anticipation within your readers. You can do this by describing settings and the movement of your characters. Here’s an example:

She cautiously inched closer and closer to the half-opened door; the silence was deafening.

What’s behind the half-opened door? What’s going through the character’s mind? In this example, we’ve created a sense of fear and suspense by providing just enough information to pique your interest.

Capitalize on human fears

We all have our own fears and, as a horror author, you want to tap into those human trepidations. Capitalize on these emotions, whether they be fear, shock, anxiety or tension. You want your readers to feel as if they are the main character, going through exactly what they are experiencing. Descriptive details about the terrifying situations will help you tap into these fears and make them feel real. Here are some examples of common fears to tap into:

  • The fear of the unknown
  • Dark, quiet places
  • Fear of animals – ferocious dogs, snakes, and even monsters
  • Fear of death

These are just a few examples; however, the goal is to bring to life situations that can leave people paralyzed with fear.

Don’t get lost in the details

Sometimes we get so engrossed in our writing that we get lost in the details and veer away from the main point of the story. When writing, always keep the main arc of your plot at the front of your thought process and use that as the north star of the scene that you’re writing. This will help you stay focused on how the scene should develop and what your characters should be doing in order to drive your plot.

The next time that you sit down to write your book, keep these three tips in mind to help you scare up a good story.

Copyright Dorrance Publishing, 2017

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