It's Creepy and It's Kooky, and Altogether Spooky (Penny Rader)

Happy Halloween!

Want to add a bit of a thrill or a chill or touch of suspense to your writing? Check out these links:

Foreshadowing and Suspense (Anne Marble)

Keep in mind that not all characters will react to anxiety and crises in the same way. Spend some time figuring out how characters react to suspense, anxiety, and fear. Try to avoid the usual descriptions, such as "her pulse raced..." If you're at a loss for descriptions, remember the last time something scary happened to you. What happened the last time you stepped on the breaks and your car tried to skid? Did your stomach feel like a brick? Did you shriek, or swear? Or did you steer yourself out of the skid and only respond to the stress after you were safe? Use those experiences to color your characters' reactions.

How Do I Captivate the Reader in My Scary Story? (Elizabeth Burns)

Omit excessive detail. Some of the best scary stories skillfully leave it to the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks. It is often what is hidden, or merely hinted at, that sends chills down the spine.

How to Succeed at Writing Romantic Suspense (Shannon Reynolds)

Craft a tense and suspenseful tone. Focus on more than just the scary abandoned buildings or creepy old mansions. Characters reflect tone by how they react to events as they unfold: if the characters are convincingly tense and uncertain of what's around the next corner, chances are your readers will be as well. Throw some twists and turns into your story, surprises that your readers will not see coming.

Ten Tips on Pace and Structure of a Thriller (Jordan Dane)

Hitchcock believed suspense didn’t have much to do with fear, but was more the anticipation of something about to happen.

And we’ve all heard the phrase “Write what you know.” It should be “Write what you fear…what you love…what you hate.” Writing what you fear conveys human emotion that will resonate with readers. Tapping into what makes you afraid will translate into a trigger for the reader as well. And this goes for other emotions too. Drawing on a reader’s emotions will pull them into the story.

Tips for Writing Fiction (Robert Gannon)

What is scary is very subjective, so it's best to write something that scares you.

Try writing about an actual event that scared you in your life. My first horror story I ever felt comfortable sharing (long since lost, of course), involved a string of events that I'm still convinced were caused by a ghost in my house. The genuine nature of the story to me allowed me to effectively tell it to other people. Since I thought it was real, I wrote it like it was real, and that is what scared people.

Writing Horror Literature (Justin Daniel Davis)

What scares people? And how do I tap into it?Well, a good place to start as a source of fear would be the most logical and often overlooked one: yourself. Face’re rarely going to get anywhere by trying to capitalize on what you THINK scares people. Start with yourself...not only is this your most reliable source, but your writing will come across as more genuine, less artificial. What scares you? Monsters under your bed? Loss of control? Ghosts? Goblins? Chores?


So...what scares you? Do you have any tips to share to add a touch of creepiness to stories, maybe just enough to have your reader on the edge of her seat?


P.L. Parker said...

What scares me? A lot of things. That eerie feeling when you know you're being watched. Looking in mirrors when it's dark. Rats, snakes, spiders. Might be easier to ask what doesn't scare me. LOL

Penny Rader said...

Ooh, I hadn't really thought about looking in a mirror when it's dark. That would be pretty creepy if something/someone looked back.

I totally get the icky feeling when someone's watching you. Not fun at all.

One of my daughters used to a rat. I wasn't a fan.
Thanks for visiting, P.L.!

Pat Davids said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat Davids said...

Theresa Mobely gave me a great piece of "creep factor" advice when I was working on my first suspense novel. I can't remember exactly what she said but it had to do with a movie she saw. The heroine had a cat that greeted when she came home where she lived alone. A little later the cat was meowing from inside a closed closet. Instantly, the woman knew she wasn't alone in the house. Talk about creepy.

I used the same techique in my story. The heroine lived alone. She was reading a book while she was baking brownies. When the timer went off, she laid her book aside and went to take the pan out of the oven. What a great homey smell, fresh brownies. When she went back to her book it had been moved and closed. Did she just not remember closing it?

A lock of red hair like her own marked her place. She opened the book. Inside, someone had scrawled the message, "It's time to die."

There was no one in the room with her, but she knew the killer was in her house.