What are a few don'ts in horror? I'm inclined to ask is anything possible in horror, which is what makes it scary? The few I can think of are: don't mistake being afraid with feeling awkward or uneasy. If you use this kind of tension, make sure to lead it to somewhere, not just letting it sit and be the general atmosphere. Do: jump scare's to finish it and move on. It is good to leave out this uneasy feeling because it can take away the impact of the inevitable horror action, unless you want it, which I will come back to a few sentences later in this paragraph. If a character is feeling comfortable while the reader knows some things are not right, then we might feel extra uneasy knowing the bubble is about to burst. But if the character is feeling uneasy, we might easily use this as a barrier for the misery at hand. Even enjoying the sense of relief that comes after the build up tension, during the climax, even though the characters might be going through severe trauma. It's less scary, but confronting that we get to enjoy scenery one would find in the fantasy of a criminally insane psychopath, which is scary on a psychological level. Don't analytically, longwindedly, describe physical torment we all understand in fewer words. We all know the words for our limbs and other bodily regions, even the things excreted from said places. Use the words that you need to say what to say, don't try to paint a harmonic orchestra of blood fountains and gargling screams. It's not romance, it is supposed to have shock value. Do; implement romantic, scenes or elements or the softer humane side of the characters such as wishful thinking we (a little too) easily identify with. It makes the reader distracted from the fact they're involved in a horror, and as far as it takes the tension away from the main plot, it makes the contrast stronger of the unfolding, terrifying events. What else doesn't work in horror? Fast pace. If it's packed with unfolding events that makes you tremble out of your chair, you're going to get sick and want to do something else. A good roller coaster needs an eery time to get to the highest point before catapulting you into disorientation. And books are not roller coasters, so don't rush. Do: Take your time to make it bigger. If the first draft is fast-paced, a short story is going to have to turn into a long story. If it's a long, fast paced story, it has potential to become a bundle of chapters or books. Beware of making it long-winded, and don't hesitate to scare yourself with the potential you have. Practice makes... a lot of text, and the priceless bits aren't going to suffer from being surrounded by interesting filler and enrichment. After all, we like a plate with different kinds of presentation. If you have meat and potatoes and vegetables already: go for the gravy, salad, and seasoning. Don't: Use unnecessary filler to complete your work. It's complete before you're done with it, but filter out the bits you're not comfortable with or think belong to a different story or genre altogether. Or not need to see the daylight altogether (which is difficult to consider with horror). We like a plate with varying ingredients, not a plate with much usage of the same ingredient. Do: Alter style, it keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat. Don't: wet your pants, and don't be satisfied too quick with what you've accomplished. Do: Try to seek support and critique, as far as you don't think you can come up with anything yourself. Doubt is an emotion that can be very useful, so listen to it, and take a good look at yourself again before saying it is finished. Don't be a perfectionist, jut know when to stop. A critical point, which is rather personal but perhaps also generally applicable, is that some things that are not scary at all unless you put them in a context no-one ever expected it. Horror isn't essentially something no-one can get around for how scary it is, it's the ability of terrorizing you regardless of the nature of themes. Horror is a genre, but also a style.