Horror stories are all around. They are told among  the neighborhoods countless of times. The reason why some people think that it’s very easy to write. But that same reason is what makes it hard. Fighting off homogeneity in the stories— trying to contrive a unique twist out of a very common story— is the challenge in itself. And foretelling a story through a written work is another thing because it is totally different when foretold verbally or visually. Most of the times, you need to work on your sentence structure to achieve the right amount of emotion and jump-scare scenario. You need to work on the details: too little is dissatisfying, and too much is boring.

1. Know the Elements of the Genre

And having it said is already the first step in itself: Know the Elements of the Genre. Homogeneity, right foretelling of fear and other emotions, well-composed sentence structure, line control, characters formation and transformation, and target audience are the elements of Horror genre.

Once you knew all of these elements that make the genre, you would know when and where to engage on the problems. But before mastering these elements, let us continue with all the basic steps first on how to be an effective horror writer.

Paperclips magazine

2. Read Widely on the Game (A good Writer Comes From Being an Avid Reader)

Knowing the elements alone (the step 1 as is regarded above) doesn’t give you an instant weapon to be able to engage. There isn’t any other method in mastering a specific genre that could replace reading. And if one is told to read a hundred, it isn’t actually exaggerated.

The more you read the more you learn, not just about the particular story, but on how it was foretold and the techniques being used. Knowing the elements is consider to be the first step so that while you are reading, you can consider those elements as a guideline for you to observe. That would give you an easier way to compare every technique used in one book with the others.

3. Start scaring yourself (Learn to Write About Your Fear Before Other’s Fear)

No genre is being loved by all. People have varying tastes. And the usual dilemma a horror writer is facing is that he is always trying to write other people’s fear even if the writer himself cannot even relate. A horror story is well-written when it scares even the writer in the process.

So, when you’re afraid of spiders, you’ll be able to write the exact emotion that those who are afraid of spiders will probably feel. List everything that scares you and start writing about them.

4. Know your target Audience (Ghastly Horror vs Grossly Terror)

Writing techniques will most importantly vary on the level of intelligence. We say age matters, to make it simple. It’s easier to write horror stories when your target is children, not that they are far more imaginative, but because they usually embrace absurd things as part of reality. No matter how simple the story is, they’ll be able to take the exact emotion you wanted to instill into them. The adults on the other hand, who can distinguish reality from fabricated ones, needed something that is beyond simplicity.

When your target is adults, that’s the time you would have to shift your theme from a mere ghastly horror to grossly terror. And while in the process of writing the adult-themed horror story, you’ll be forced to believe that adult people are mostly criminal-minded after all, even if they are innocent on the outside. And you have to get to the level of their criminal-mindedness, just to be able to entice them. Well, that if you are not against the idea that promotes psychopathic tendencies.