Showing posts from October, 2020

Putting the Horror into Horror Stories – Part 1

So what makes horror stories so...horrifying?   Writing a good horror story is all about tapping into the reader’s fears. Everybody is afraid of something, whether it’s the dark, spiders, thunder and lightning, snakes, even death...there is always something that terrifies people, and the best horror stories exploit these irrational fears (or phobias). Most of our fears come from childhood – an incident that we remember, such as seeing a spider, or behaviours and fears picked up from the adults around us. Often their fears become our fears. Additionally, there are instinctual and primitive fears – such as being afraid of large predatory animals like sharks or bears.   On the other side of the coin there is the fear caused by imagination; the monsters we create for ourselves, such as vampires, demons, bogeymen and creatures under the bed. But whether they’re primitive fears or made up ones, they all have something in common – they are all illogical – such fears make people be

Enhance Tension, Conflict and Drama Using Your Characters

Characters don’t just help tell the story – they also add different perspectives and dimensions to situations and incidents, and the narrative. Not only that, but most importantly, they help to move the story forward. The prime ingredients to create drama are conflict and tension. Drama brings both action and characters to life, and we use characters to enhance conflict, tension and drama in ways simple narrative won’t. Characters can convey more than just a few lines of dialogue. They can lift the story from the page. That’s because they are like real people – they have emotions and sensibilities and they react to things and people around them in so many ways. In other words, writers should appeal to the reader’s senses by showing their characters’ reactions and emotions to the things that go on around them. Don’t ‘tell’ or explain things – let the characters lead the reader. We tend to think of conflict and tension by way of description and narrative, but writers shouldn’t let