With all the advancement of science and technology, children are not easily frightened nowadays, not to mention adults. A story that will truly get under the reader’s skin and make them shake with fear is hard to come by. Here are a few tips on how to compose a story that will spook even the most perseverant reader.
Project Your Own Feelings
A truly passionate story encapsulates your own feelings. For a romantic story to really blossom, your characters must feel love as passionately as you do. The same goes for your horror tale. Think about what really spooks you, whether it is big spiders, clowns, sinister men at night, thunderstorms or unimaginable heights on rollercoasters. Even if you doubt that your fear can turn into a great story, try to compose one anyway, hitting all of your spooky buttons in the process. If at least one reader will be scared, that is worth your effort but you will be amazed to find out how many of your classmates share your own fears.
Simplicity Is the Key
You do not need to add all the spices to the soup in order to make it delicious. Even one right ingredient is enough to please the client. Adding clowns, dolls, vampires, ghosts and werewolves to your composition will most likely turn it into a funny circus, so try to focus only on one aspect and develop it well. If you want to write about a mysterious fog that kills all living creatures, make it the main character of your story, and be sure to describe the phenomenon well and write in vivid detail about the effects it has on each character that lives in the haunted city.
Evoke the Unknown
The most powerful tool that can scare us to half death is our own imagination. Indeed, during childhood, no one was brave enough to leave their foot uncovered by the blanket during the night, for fear of unknown monsters that would come and snatch their limbs off. You could use this trick to make your story spookier, by adding minimum details about the unsettling murderer, monster or creature that keeps leaving traces of its existence. Footprints, unknown motives, legends and mysterious sounds will all lead to the reader compensating with the power of their own imagination.
It is hard to keep the suspense alive for long, so try to make your story brief and sharp. Avoid long sentences, especially during your action scenes. Instead of describing dismembered bodies or pools of blood, focus on the psychological pain you can evoke: the fear of the people experiencing the event; how their hands shook and their hearts thumped. Add an unexpected ending, or even leave your story unresolved for the reader to wonder about the main evil character, and whether they are still alive to strike again someday.