What Makes A Story Scary?
Describing words are very important when trying to set the mood for a scary story.
The reader can feel the mood of the story when you use depressing and scary words. Try using words like gloomy, sombre, dreary, forbidding, and creepy.
You can also use words to animate lifeless objects. It will give the illusion that everything is alive; everything can be a threat.
Ex. The large mahogany door towered over them, forbidding them to pass through.
The darkness wrapped around me as I was trembling with fear.
The Five Senses
The five senses should play a very important role in your writing, regardless of what kind of story you are writing. In scary stories, it is even more important for the reader to feel the mood and everything that is going on. To make the story suspenseful and realistic, you must use descriptive words to transport the reader into the story.
The musty air of the attic made me wrinkle my nose...
I could feel the hot, disgusting breath of the beast in front of me, not yet aware of my presence...
What are we afraid of?
According to the website listverse, number 9 on the strong human fears list was the unknown.
Now that you know that humans fear the unknown, you can use that to your advantage when writing scary stories. By making some choice descriptions vague, you can keep readers in suspense.
Ex. An unintelligible scream came from across the dark allway...
There are many scary stories that are written in the "gothic style, but what is it really?
Gothic stories often take place in castles, and have a dark, suspenseful, mysterious atmosphere.
Gothic stories usually have a legend that will play a part in foreshadowing(which is also one characteristic of gothic stories).
In the story, there will be supernatural happenings like seeing ghosts, singing in the middle of the night, or doors opening or shutting when nobody is around.
Ex. Legend has it, he still wanders the halls to this day...
Lastly, it is common to see the character become overcome with fear, terror or helplessness. One of the recurring themes is a woman in need of help, and they are being threatened by a tyrannical male.
Dark, mysterious and scary!
Damsel in distress
The appearance of a ghost(supernatural happenings)
Words to use in scary stories:
Terrified, scared, horrified, fearful, distressed, pressured, anguish, distraught, troubled, grieving, evil, and threatening
How To Create Suspense
Put characters that readers care about in jeopardy.
Don't put in too much action, because suspense is in the 'stillness of the story'.
Make the reader anticipate upcoming events in the story, but you must also give them the events that they anticipate. Not necessarily exactly what they had in mind, but you must put something that owns up to what they anticipated.
Don't put in too much violence as well. If there is too much, it won't mean anything.
Always be one step ahead of the readers.
How to create suspense continued...
Try not to state anything about horror if it can be implied. Give enough that they can imagine it, and their imagination will take care of the rest.
Your story should also have strong and beliveable characters to make it realistic and have a good pace.
Thank You For Watching!