What Makes a Story Scary?
Suspense is the feeling of anxiousness and uncertainty of what's to come next in a story.
Good Suspense Must Be:
Suspense is when . . .
-you're waiting for something to happen.
In most scary stories, the protagonsit and the reader are 'waiting' for something. Suspense is best when there is a feeling of absense. Maybe the protagonist thinks he/she are alone. Absentness is scary because when you're alone, if something were to happen to you, there's no one else to see it. There's no one else to help you. There's no one else to report a MURDER to the police.
Examples of Suspense
Mary was in her uncles old, abandoned house. It looked vacant, yet she didn't know if her uncle was dead or alive.
That's what she had come to find out.
It was dark, and late. She didn't want her foster parents knowing she was gone. So she had snuck out at midnight, and was now surrounded by cob webs and old photographs.
Mary turned a corner and went up the stairs. Each one let out a loud creak as she put her weight on it. Even though there was no one around, Mary took cautious steps and tried not to make a sound.
Mary thought she heard foot steps behind her. No, that's silly she thought. This house was in the middle of nowhere.
All of this is creating suspense
More suspense Examples:
The Raven By: Edgar Allen Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-- While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-- only this and nothing more."
What makes this suspenseful? It makes us wonder: -where's the tapping coming from? -who could be out so late at night?
The Raven By: Edgar Allen Poe
Deep into that darknes peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?" This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" Merely this and nothing more.
What makes this suspenseful? -it's dark out -there's silence -we're waiting for something to happen
2. Vocabulary/ Figurative Language
Adding descriptive words and figurative language stimulates your senses and gives you a better feel of what's going on.
-enhances your description of the setting, characters, and events taking place. -readers can really imagine all of the things taking place. -they will be able to imagine themselvse in the story. -establishes a creepy atmosphere
-gloomy -somber -creepy -dusky -vacant -dreary -forbidding -abandoned
Words that set the mood
Hear -Can speak in a dark, steely, sepulchiral, sibilant, gultural, sinister, shriek, blood curdlingscream, clanking
Taste -sour -putrid -rancid -sour -fetid
Sight Hues of pitch black, ebony, etc. -Musty old arm chairs -Missing floor boards
Tingle the five senses
Figurative Language Examples
-silken sad uncertain rustling -his skin was ice cold -all my soul within me burning -the floor winced as he stepped on it -the voice boomed like thunder -lightning lit up the sky like strobe lights -it was older than the dinosaurs
The setting can have a huge empact on the overall feel of the story. Here's How: -If it's DARK, then the protagonist can't see what's going on around him. He doesn't know what to expect. -If it's ISOLATED, then there is no one around to HELP the main character if he/she needed it. -If it's at NIGHT, then everyone else is supposed to be sleeping and its' now DARK and ISOLATED. -If it's in an old house, you never know what you could find.
<-- dark, isolated hallway
forest at night -->
The words, setting, and lanugage used in a setting affects the tone and mood, which affects the atmosphere. The mood and tone are how a story makes you feel. The atmosphere is the overall feeling of the story.
Happy? Sad? Scared? Worried? Frightened? Mysterious? Joyful?
you could say this has a mysterious or eerie atmosphere
5. Supernatural/ Creepy
Things that are un-natural are precieved as 'creepy.' For example, humans with slightly larger heads, bears with fangs, button-eyed humans, etc.
When an object or person potrays 'vagueness' it can sometimes make them 'creepy.'
Anything that hides a person's face (masks, clowns, etc.) does not reveal their personal feelings or attitudes.
You don't know if the person is a threat.
Creepy things may or may not be a threat. Our brain doesn't know what to think of them.
The uncertainty makes it scary.
A good scary story has you sitting on the edge of your chair with elements of anticipation. There is dread and uncertainty. The plot may take a sudden twist. A story is scariest when there is a lot up to the reader's imagination.