Yesterday, we saw some guidelines not to let your suspense fiction go astray. Writing requires great care and finesse. Every art does. The difference between the best fiction and the worst may be quite unnoticeable. It may be a small flaw in research that renders the whole story impossible, or it may be a small character trait of the central character or the antagonist. Whatever it is, its effect can be deep. While a good story without any flaws can entertain the reader and be successful, the story with these tiny flaws can alienate the reader within the first few chapters themselves. So, a minute flaw creates a great difference in sales in the world of fiction.
Here, we will see some tips to write pristine horror fiction.
1. Don’t let go of the suspense
Horror fiction has to have some element of suspense. A century-old specter with vampire teeth and tiger claws and enormous size will not horrify readers now. On the other hand, the suspense of who the real killer is will greatly entertain a reader. If you are creating gruesome murders, make them grotesque, and make your central characters go on a life-threatening trail of the murderer.
2. Bated-breath waits
Haven’t you seen scenes in successful horror films in which the character is walking toward a room, trying to explore what is inside it, while the ominous background music (which started low) goes high pitch slowly until the very point when a thud reveals something horrible or something silly? Such elements are a must in horror fiction.
3. The ghost
Who is killing people? In the last century, a vampire or a terrible ghost may make the kill and horrify people. But in today’s world, ghosts are not much in demand. Innocuous ghosts can inspire more terror now. For instance, if you have a very innocent looking girl, who is a ghost, it can prove to be a nightmare to the reader.
4. Better, get rid of ghosts altogether
In today’s horror stories, it is best to get rid of ghosts altogether. I believe the greatest horror comes from inside you, as Stephen King would have said. You can have realworld horror, without any supernatural character. There may be villains in the form of stalkers, serial killers, psychopaths, etc. Such horror stories will be more successful than ghost stories.
5. Murders, lots of them
What is a horror without murders? Better yet, have a string of murders and you will horrify your reader greatly. In fact, the horror can come from very casual deaths or murders. A murder can be quite easy. It is in that ease that horror lurks. For instance, you can have the soldiers at the warfront. A small buzzing bullet can prove to be their end. Or a factory worker, whose end can come of a small engine malfunction. The horror can be inspired by depicting their horrible ends in a gruesome manner.
6. Supernatural elements should have believable nature
There should be fighting fatigue and pain for even the supernatural beings. Otherwise, they will prove to be rather boring. So, make them have human traits, coupled with their antihuman nature and enormous strength. Today, a demon with disfigured face and enormous size, but with human appearance has more terrifying power than a demon creature with only supernatural powers.
The best of the horror stories I read were from Stephen King. They were so not due to any supernatural elements present in them, but due to gruesome nature of human beings living all around us. For instance, one of the terrifying stories of King, The Long Walk, has nothing supernatural in it. It is the story of little children who are made to walk a huge distance, and anyone that fails to do that is shot dead with military weapons. It has some scenes in which little children have their heads shot away, depicted terrifyingly. It was nightmare of a read for me.
Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008