The Occasional Meatcleaver


The first time I tried to write a horror story, I was in the second grade and I put my class to sleep by reading it out loud. Fortunately, I’ve gotten much better since then.  By fifth grade I was making people speechless rather than tired, and by college I actually started writing things people thought were exciting and scary.

After years of writing, I’ve learned a few things I’d like to share with anyone who is interested:

5 Ingrediants For A Successful Horror/Thriller Novel

  1. A willingness to read a wide range of published authors. It’s easier to know if your writing is working if you know what has worked for other writers. What did you like about their work? What didn’t you like? 
  2. Make it your own. Make sure your story has something unsual: A strange setting, an object used in an attack that isn’t typically a weapon. Something memorable. Throw in the occasional meatcleaver.
  3. Start with a ‘what if’ scenario. Even if you have great characters, they need something to do. This is the case with any genre, but what you should do next is more unique to horror writing.
  4. Imagine the worst case scenario, then try to take it a step further. Everyone thinks, “What if my car breaks down?”  so your job is to think,  “What if my car breaks down and my child is having an asthma attack in the back seat?”
  5. Make yourself and your readers uncomfortable. Everyone has topics they naturally shy away from, but the tension and discomfort these subjects can cause is what will make your readers stay interested and emotionally invested in your story.

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