As some of you may know, I'm a writer. I've done quite a few comics and a couple novels and a good number of them are in the horror genre. I don't necessarily consider myself a horror writer, but having teamed with Steve Niles when I was starting out set me on that path for quite a while. I've worked on some 30 Days of Night comics for IDW, The Grimm Fairy Tales series for Zenescope and did Savage for Image among other projects. Over on my social media this month I've been sharing a daily Halloween Horror Writing Tip and figured I'd collect the first dozen here for anyone who is interested.
A lot of these tips also apply to all genres, because at the heart of it, writing is writing. Certain elements, pacing and tone dictates the genre. And the key to any writing advice, take what applies to your work and make it your own… not every trick or technique works for every writer.
Halloween Horror Writing Tips:
- Horror is about characters. If you don't care for them, you won't care what happens to them.
- Don't rush to reveal. Fear of an unknown threat is far scarier than anything that can be shown.
- Location, Location, Location. Amplify the horror by having a normally safe setting.
- Horror isn't about making the audience jump, it's about making them feel.
- The rules are what you make them. It's up to you to establish what can and can't happen.
- The Hitchcock rule: If you kill your star, the audience will believe anything can happen.
- Make people think. The audience will be more engaged if they have to follow along.
- If you give your characters hope of surviving, it will be more impactful when they don't.
- Remember that at the heart of a good horror story is a mystery needing to be solved.
- If you make your victims too despicable, then your killer becomes the hero.
- Connect with your audience by tapping into the types of fears we all share. Does is scare you?
- Don't be afraid to use the classics. Just find new and unique ways to use them.