I have always loved Stephen King. He is the best horror novelist I have ever read. I stumbled across and article with tips on writing the perfect horror novel in order to scare the pants off of your readers. Happy Writing!
Creating An Environment for a Horror Story
By Sarah Todd
The best horror writers give their readers a scare; perhaps make them shiver with fear or squirm at vivid descriptions of a terrifying scene or a frightening character. A good horror story will make its readers feel uncomfortable, afraid to turn the page to read what happens next. This article will discuss setting the scene that a good horror story will be happy to call home.
Ask someone to choose a setting for a horror story and the response will probably be: ”Use your imagination”. But that’s not strictly the right approach. It’s all very well to let your mind conjure up images of chainsaw-wielding zombies roaming the highway in search of fresh blood to appease the zombie king who lives on a haunted island in the middle of a lake… but how do you make the story believable? Your imagination may give you a great idea for a horror story, but that’s just the first step towards creating something to capture your readers’ attention.
A healthy dose of reality is what turns an idea and plotline into a horror story. The good horror writer will use plenty of reality to bring his story to life, creating a world that will – ultimately – terrify his readers. Inspiration is everywhere, and when creating the setting for your story you probably don’t have to look very far. The trick is to use your words to paint a typical scene – one with which most people are familiar – perhaps a place where they feel safe. Then add a couple of sentences to imply that perhaps all is not as it seems and there’s something not quite right with this picture.
The paragraph below is from William Peter Blatty’s terrifying book The Exorcist. I’ve boldened the few words he’s used to add a chilling element to the basic description of an average house. Note how he’s used a couple of sentences to enhance the “normality” of the scene: read more here.