If you’re wanting to become the next Steven King, Dean Koontz or Ann Rice, then you need to know how to capture the attention of your audience and then scare the crap out of them.

Keep reading for tips on how to write a horror story people will be biting their nails to read.

The Right Horror Storyline

You have to create a story that’s relatable but unique. You’ll want to work out a storyline that people can believe and will easily be able to follow.

The setting will need to be a place you understand and can intimately describe in such detail that readers will be transported to the time and place and forget their own surroundings.

The story will need to flow smoothly from one scene or chapter to another without losing the reader in the transition. Some of your story will be planned while other parts will evolve as you write.

Invoking fear and inspiring binge-reading will only occur if you can make the reader feel invested in the story. They have to be interested in and care about what is going to happen next.

The Right Horror Characters

One of the best ways to get readers interested and intrigued is by having fully developed characters. The story needs to feel like it’s happening in the real world even if the book is complete fantasy or science fiction.

The people involved need to seem like real people that are believable and that evoke emotion in the reader.

Most horror stories will include:

Primary Characters

These are the main characters that the story follows. It may be told from their point of view or from a 3rd person point of view like you’re watching them experience it rather than them narrating the book.

Provide as much detail as possible about your primary characters so the reader can feel like they know them and have some feelings about the people in the story.

Villian, Monster or Threat

Whether it’s a plague threatening to wipe out the human race or a zombie in search of brains, you need something horrific. The more you are able to describe the threat, the easier it will be for readers to get swept up in the story and fear the monster.

Supporting Characters

Most books need more than just a hero and a villain. You’ll probably want to add supporting characters to add depth and meat to your story.

As you introduce new characters, create a chart, spreadsheet, or thought map to develop the character’s personality and role in the story. The better you understand each of the people you write about, the more believable the person and story will be for readers.

The Imagination Advantage

The greatest stories cause the reader’s imagination to go wild. They can vividly see and imagine each character, each place, and storyline.

This factor is particularly helpful with horror stories because you can invoke fear and create a terrifying scenario by playing to the reader’s fears and letting their imagination take over.

The Right Book Cover

It doesn’t matter how great your book is if no one picks it up to see what you’ve written. One of the most important marketing choices you can make is choosing the right artwork or photographs to use on your book covers.

Book covers can become collector’s items on their own and at times considered just as important as what’s between the covers.

How to Write a Horror Story Perfect Ending

The perfect horror story always leaves it open for a sequel. You want to wrap the story up so that the reader feels satisfied and not cheated but you also want to leave them wanting more.

It takes time and experience to know how to write a horror story like Steven King or Bram Stoker but you can never gain that experience if you don’t start now.

You are the author of your own life story so why not make it one where you write the perfect horror story.

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Last Update: June 27, 2024