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Writing/Publishing > Writing Scary?

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message 1: by Elizabeth, Zombies! Mod (new)

Elizabeth | 497 comments Mod
Alisha's Hard to Be Scary post made me wonder - how do authors write scary? Are there particular phrases you use, or an atmosphere try to evoke? Does it come naturally to you? Do you get creeped out while you're writing it?

message 2: by Alisha (new)

Alisha | 34 comments The Missing by Sarah Langan freaked me out. Again, probably repetitive here, but the characters seemed real, and their slip into darkness with a very dark sinister overtone made it scary to me.

Paranormal can also be scary to me. I guess in general, the unknown. Details in writing make it real. Stories pulling in my senses makes me feel present.

message 3: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 2145 comments The most scared I've been from reading is Dean Koontz's Intensity. At the beginning of the book, a teenage girl is being tortured and at the very last of it gasps, "Mommy!".

For me, that brought up a mental image of the girl brought to the essence of her primal being. Stripped psychologically bare. Not thinking of God or herself, but Mommy. Make it better.

I had to put down the book for three days before picking it up again. The mental image I got from that one word was just too much.

message 4: by Raymond (new)

Raymond Esposito | 17 comments I think writing something that is frightening is difficult. So difficult that there are many "bad" horror stories and movies out there. Too often horror writers believe "gross" or "shock" is all it takes.

I'm not suggesting I always hit the mark in my own work, but I think characters are the first ingredient to "fear." We have to believe in them first. The second is the readers imagination. If an author can be honest and truthful with his/her own fear then they stand a much better chance of frightening the reader.

I posted these two-sentence stories on my blog (collected from around the web). I was amazed at how scary just two sentences could be -


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