What Makes Stories Scary?
To make a story frightening, the right type of atmosphere and mood must be set from the beginning of the story. To do this authors use words that heighten surprise, evoke the five senses, set the mood, and show fear.
"For an hour now you've listened, his face growing dimmer in the lamplight as you keep glancing at your watch until it's there again: the ghost rising"
Choice of Words
Tales become scarier when the readers can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell things in the story. It is very important that the reader believes your writing. Authors must make vivid descriptions of what is occuring in the story.
"I take a deep breath and go in. I feel frightened. My teeth are chattering and I can listen to the beating of my heart. I turn the light on and gasp as a rough hand grasps my shoulder."
Let the Readers fill the Story with their own Imagination
"First of all, I cut off the head, and the arms, and the legs. There was no blood spot to wash out...I was too wary for that- a tub had caught it all!"
Edgar Allan Poe
Suspense makes stories more frightening. Not giving away all the details lets the reader fill in their own imagination creating a disturbing atmosphere for the readers.
Elements of a 'Gothic' Novel
Gothic novels often take place in a castle.
They have a dark, mysterious, suspensful atmosphere
The consist of a prophecy foretelling the fate of the protagonist.
They usually contain supernatural beings or unaccountable events such as seeing ghosts or seeing a painting come to life
A character will normally have a disturbing dream vision, or some phenomenon may be seen as a foreshadowing of the future.
Characters overwhelm with fear and terror.
Women are in need of help and are usually threatened by a powerful male
Metonymy of gloom and horror (for example rain represents sorrow)
SUSPENSE IS THE KEY TO SCARY STORIES The three key elements of suspense are: Anticipation Dread Uncertainty
His description of the eye, the waiting in the dark, the horror of the old man, talking with the police right above the body, the beating of the heart
Tell Tale Heart Creates Suspense
Steps for Creating Suspense: 1.Put characters that readers care about in jeopardy 2. Don't include so much action because suspense is in the stillness of the story 3. Add twists in the story so that the reader cannot predict what will happen next 4. Let the readers know what the characters' plans are 5. Don't include much violence because it will cut down on the suspense. 6. Be one step ahead of the readers.
A good example of putting the main character in jeopardy from Hansel & Gretel:
"Then she grasped Hansel with her withered hand, and led him into a little stable, and shut him up behind a grating; and call and scream as he might, it was no good. "
Use a Good Setting to Make the Readers Believe that it is Scary
A cabin in the woods
A forsaken graveyard, minutes passed midnight
An unknown, old, medieval castle in a small town
Use Words that Portray the Right Mood
"Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear."
Edgar Allen Poe
THANKS FOR WATCHING