1. Brett Warnick
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    Brett Warnick New Member

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    Writing my first horror short story

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Brett Warnick, Mar 19, 2016.

    Hello all, Im writing my first horror short story and I am looking for some tips. This is a totally new environment to me so any tips would be a great help.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    To start with a question, what kind of fear are you working off of? Is there a specific thing you're referencing or making a metaphor for?
     
  3. Brett Warnick
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    Brett Warnick New Member

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    Hi, Im going for the ambience of fear when going to bed alone in a quiet house and feeling paranoid that there is something in the room with the person.
     
  4. TheRealStegblob
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    TheRealStegblob Active Member

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    So then you're playing with fear of unknown/paranoia, which is classic and also pretty easy (in my opinion) to do. If you're writing about something that scares you as well, just picture yourself and write down exactly how you'd feel in that situation. That's what I'd try to do, at least.
     
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  5. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What's your favorite horror story from other authors?
     
  6. Brett Warnick
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    Brett Warnick New Member

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    Thanks so much.
     
  7. Brett Warnick
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    Brett Warnick New Member

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    I`ve never read horor, or like to watch horror films. I just have this uncontrolable urge to write this short story that brings out people paranoia when they go to bed. Strange I know but I can already make people laugh, feel happy, feel upset from my words. Fear is all thats left. I bought the Exorcist but Im to affraid to start it incase I cant put it down. Im not a fan of nightmares hahaha
     
  8. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be fair, most "horror" movies aren't made in a way that would actually be scary, but you'll definitely want to read horror stories if you want to know how the greats do it.

    The best tip that I can offer in general is:

    Action stories are stories where you want the protagonist to fight the opposition because you want the protagonist to win.

    Horror stories are stories where you don't want the protagonist to fight the opposition because you don't want the protagonist to lose.​

    and the best author that I can recommend is HP Lovecraft. His characters were flat, his worldview was disgusting, and his sentences were occasionally atrocious, but his stories were absolutely terrifying. You can find a great many for free at Dagon Bytes, and my personal favorites are:

    Pickman's Model
    Cool Air
    The Hound
    The Statement of Randolph Carter
    The Shadow over Innsmouth
    The Thing on the Doorstep (if you want read this, you'll want to read Shadow over Innsmouth first)
    Call of Cthulhu
    At the Mountains of Madness​
     
  9. Lalochezia
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    Lalochezia Member

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    In my opinion Lovecraft was great at creating an atmosphere ripe for terror. He could sow the idea that something was terribly off into the landscape and allow the reader's fear of the unknown to fill the rest in.

    In addition to the above he also excelled at a sort of existential terror: the reminder that we're all just insects in the face of eternity. Don't know how much that brand of terror helps the OP, but I dig it.

    My personal favorite is the Color Out of Space.

    But it all depends on what you want to do with the horror. It can be a great way to make unseen obstacles manifest in a physical, beatable way (the monster in the film the Babadook is a metaphor for the main character's loneliness and isolation), it can be an existential exploration (like Lovecraft), or it can just be a gorefest of claws.

    I'm not certain where bedtime anxiety falls, but agree Lovecraft is a good place to start.
     
  10. Sidetrack
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    The Horror Genre: Where the real antagonists exist.

    There is no genre where your characters are put to a harder test than horror. I hope you don't mind plunging your characters into situations most people won't even watch or read. That's horror!
     
  11. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Try reading the book "Gerald's Game" by Stephen King for inspiration.

    The effects of panic and dehydration that the main character experiences are ripe with paranoia and exactly the feeling that there is someone else in the room with you when the main character is (essentially) alone. The reason I think this is a great example of horror is because it's Stephen King doing what he does best, poking at your psyche. There's no blood, violence, darkness, supernatural. Just one woman, alone with just her mind, in a room.
     

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