How To Make A Good Scary Story

article by: Horror Crone


It’s October. You know, the month where you go in a creepy pitch black room and tell horrifying stories! What are the elements of a good horror story?  When do you know you are completely submerged into a story so deeply that an unexpected sound makes you jump in surprise?  For me, I have to say that there are two parts that meld to make a really good horror: a well-woven tale and a fully committed reader.  Without both of these elements, the horror falls flat.

Of course the story has to be well-written.  It has to have a believable plot, realistic action scenes, reasonably well drawn characters, and a considerably well-imagined spooky setting or happening.  But the reader also has to agree to be sucked into the story, sympathetic to the characters, and willing to be taken on a potentially wild ride.  Without the reader’s bargain to take the horror story on its own terms, the story will seem hollow and boring.

The first truly creepy, fantastically frightening story I ever read was the likely named “Ghost Story,” by Peter Straub.  I was about 12 at the time, and the mature themes of the book notwithstanding, the story scared the bejesus out of me.  I was so frightened at some parts of the book that I found myself trembling with shock and terror, too horrified to turn the page, and yet too engrossed not to.  I dreamt for a full week about that book – dreams that I can recall to this day.  Straub remains a very eloquent writer of psychological horror, but I have never felt more delightfully totally terrified by a book since.  And I loved every minute of it.

What stories have scared you lately?

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