looking for somethingscary story ideasfor younext writing project?
Sometimes all you need is a quick, scary good idea to start a dark story that yourreaders will not be able to leave.
and this is themeta🇧🇷 What's a horror story without white knuckles?suspended?
You want your readers to be on the edge of their seat, unable to stop, even though they know something bad is about to happen.
You also want to reward them for reading to the end and leave them wanting more.
So how can this collection of horrorwriting instructionshelp with that?
What's in this article
- What are the main elements of horror writing?
- List of the most common horror themes and tropes to write about
- 66 notes of horror writing
- Halloween Writing Suggestions
- mystery writing prompts
- Ideas for psychological horror stories
- Story Ideas for “The Monster You Know”
- Tips for writing ghost stories
- funny horror story ideas
horror story ideas
Eachgood storyYou need an idea that will take root in your imagination and not let go. Horror stories in particular need to affect you in a certain way. If they don't sound an alarm in your head, they won't in your readers' minds either.
They need to get into your psyche, take a piece of memory and turn it into something that will keep you up at night.
And as you've surely read, "There is no surprise in the writer, there is no surprise in the reader".
see the instructionsbelow, and choose one that catches your eye and lingers in your imagination.
Paint a picture in your mind ofcharactersinvolved. Give yourself a reason to invest in them by giving each one an interesting story.
Then set a timer and write.
What are the main elements of horror writing?
From the gothic horror of Earl Horace WalpoleThe Castle of OtrantoHitting shelves in 1764, English readers clamor for dark plots that excite primal instincts and tickle our bones with fear.
Many horror authors exploit dark impulses by peppering stories with uncomfortable events and gruesome deaths.
But it's not enough to write within the genre, which begs the question: what are the main elements of horror? Traditionally, there are five: suspense, fear, violence, gore, and the supernatural.
- Suspended: Creating anxious tension is a critical component of horror, as it keeps the audience glued to the story. They have to find out what's going on! Traditionally, suspense has been prized as a sophisticated form of horror, and building it well is a skill.
- Temer: Facing terrifying things is a powerful emotion with reactive chemical consequences, making it a hallmark of horror writing.
- Violence: Wildness is frightening because it is closely linked to death and pain, two of the four great human fears.
- Sangre: Brains and guts are the cornerstone of classic horror. For better or worse, our neural pathways light up when confronted with guts, brain matter, and gushing fluids. Successful horror writers keep readers and viewers engaged by using gore effectively.
- Supernatural:The main difference between "true crime" and "horror" is a supernatural element. While horror stories appeal to people with realism, they often feature an emotional detachment valve in the form of an explicit or implied supernatural presence.
List of the most common horror themes and tropes to write about
Vampires, ghosts, zombies and assassins are general pillars of the horror genre. But what are some other more detailed tropes associated with the spooky narrative?
- Babysitter alone in big house:The naive nanny trope is repeated often because it works. The model acts as a surrogate for the reader or audience because, like you, they are vulnerable. Horror characters are the character conduit through which readers and viewers can experience imminent fear.
- Manipulating Vampires:Maybe it's her piercing eyes, her smart outfit, or her mysterious penchant for "nightlife". Whatever the case, people are fans of vampires, and the sensual and manipulative ones are an incredibly effective horror character trope.
- House haunted by ghosts:Houses haunted by ghosts are a recurring horror motif. It's up to you whether you approach it from a traditional or a modern angle. Both can work.
- scary child:In real life, it's nice to see all children as precious and special, regardless of their quirks. But when it comes to Horror World, scary kids are a dozen! Sometimes they are the main attractions or "red herrings" (more on that later); other times they are supernatural catalysts that serve as the MacGuffin of a story. Whatever the case, intriguing children do a lot to create an unsettling scene and build suspense.
- The non-believer:Most horror stories have at least one character whose lack of fear or faith (in the "supernatural" element of the story) sends them six feet under.
- The red herring:A "red herring" is a red herring. The term dates back to the 1400s to describe a culinary preparation for fish, but the first known use as a euphemism for "distraction" appeared in 1884.
- Isolation:Few things frighten people more than being alone while danger lurks. As such, isolation can be a useful trope when creating horror stories.
- Cemetery chase:A well-conceived chase around a cemetery is another horror mainstay that continues to deliver. Try adding a twist to modernize the trope.
- distorted mirrors:Whether it's a single reflective glass or an entire maze, using mirrors as a motif is a tangible and effective way to signal distortion.
- Aliens and cultists:The human psyche cannot resist temptation when faced with the possibility of aliens and the sociopathic underworld of cults. As a result, they work well as eye-catching frames for horror stories.
66 notes of horror writing
Whether you're writing for a special occasion or just trying out the horror genre, any of thestory instructionsin the following groups should help you get started.
Go with your gut here and choose an idea that feels both familiar and provocative. So try!
Halloween Writing Suggestions
1. A mysterious gift from a distant aunt arrives on Halloween with a crystal ball and a note addressed only to you, your godson.
2. One of the trick or treaters bears an uncanny resemblance to his deceased brother and repeats his brother's last words before choosing his brother's favorite candy bar.
3. On Halloween night, you find a box on your doorstep containing a strange note and something from each of the people who hurt you last year.
4. On this Halloween night, your guinea pig keeps running in circles and your dog keeps looking at the door, making a low growl.
5. You run out of candy on Halloween afternoon and find the streets empty and the store abandoned. A single car pulls into the lot and pulls into the space next to yours.
6. Every time you went to answer the bell, there was no one there. The next day, you find out about the missing children. Worst part? TheirchildrenHe spent Halloween with his ex and he was supposed to come trick or treating last night.
7. You come home on Halloween to find a big package from your new boss, who has bought every bit of your favorite candy from the local stores. The note reads, "Save something for me."
8. You're watching TV on Halloween night when your show is interrupted by someone vaguely familiar declaring his love for you and saying he's seen you all his life.
9. You come home to find a stranger walking through your house, drinking your wine and admiring your collected antiques. They get scared when you approach and act likearethe intruder.
10. The night before Halloween, you have a dream in which you wake up and see a dark shape outside your closet. You wake up screaming with your hands at your spouse's throat.
11. Election Day is coming and Halloween looks more sinister than ever. You've kept the lights off, but that doesn't stop a visitor from leaving a note: "I knew you lived here."
mystery writing prompts
12. Your best friend has disappeared and someone keeps leaving little reminders of him in your mailbox. You see someone approach to deliver something else and your heart almost stops when you recognize them.
13. You've always wanted a dog, so when a rain-soaked mutt appears in front of you, you let him in. Unfortunately, something else hitched a ride.
14. Someone moves into the apartment next door and starts playing loud music at night. You call the police, who find the guy dead with a note with his name and address on it.
15. Someone keeps replacing items in your house with different objects that look vaguely familiar. No one else has a key to your home, and there are no signs of forced entry.
16. You make some cookies to share with the new neighbor, but the terrified woman backs away from her plate, shaking her head. Someone inside yells, "I'm staying with them."
17. Someone at work offered to do a tarot card reading for you and you politely declined. You find a single tarot card in your mailbox when you return home.
18. You don't remember wandering alone down a country lane as a boy, but someone does. And he wants to make sure you're not around to testify against him.
19. Someone got your laundry before you did and left it neatly folded in piles on top of the dryer. A note reads, "For more TLC, tap #303."
20. Your apartment window leads to a fire escape, but you've come home twice to find it open. Nothing is missing. But someone keeps leaving a ring on your kitchen table.
21. You order a Christmas wreath for your door and the company sends you a package of cash. The note reads: “Keep half. I get the rest in 72 hours."
22. A boy knocks on his door and tells him that three people will visit him that night. One of them will show you your future. The child's face reminds someone.
Ideas for psychological horror stories
23. Your best friend is dating a woman who looks familiar, and not in a good way. Turns out she also has a bad feeling about you and warns her friend.
24. You get a surprise delivery of a Christmas flower arrangement with a note from someone who was arrested for assault. The message reads, "I'll be home for Christmas."
25. A bully from your past has written a long letter of apology and you agree to meet him for coffee. You find your favorite coffee shop deserted on Black Friday.
26. You broke up with your girlfriend when he lied about taking you to prom and begged you to run away with him so he could escape an abusive home. He's back.
27. An old friend, who tried to warn her about an ex-boyfriend years ago, has returned to town to run a restaurant. Within a week, known offenders begin to disappear.
28. During the last three dates, the guy you met ended up dead and posed like he was proposing. A note in the hollow of each's empty chest reads, "My heart belongs to [your name]."
29. You are with a friend at the house of the guy he is seeing. In the bathroom you can find a jewelry box for almost every birthstone. Yours is the only one missing. You hear a scream.
30. Everyone keeps saying your memories are unreliable. You are safe with them. They will protect you. But you haven't left the house in years.
31. You thought it was cute when your little sister wanted to wear your aunt's high heels and pose with one hand on her hip. But her sister had a weird way with accidents.
32. He never expected to win the '57 Chevy in the church raffle. Neither did the owner of the car, who immediately tried to buy it back. He didn't respond well to "No thanks".
33. Whenever I saw something like "Tornado Warning" or "Flash Flood" on the news, I knew someone was going to end up dead. And his ex would blame the weather.
Story Ideas for “The Monster You Know”
34. You come home with a dozen roses from a guy who told his friends you're dating and you get mad. For some reason, however,Worldwideyou know he's on your side.
35. Your "Secret Santa" leaves an expensive bottle of wine with a note: "Drink me." You call a familiar number and hear the phone ring on the other side of the door.
36. His father has a secret that only his twin brother knows, who mysteriously disappeared, but left a note with a box of his belongings in the attic. You take it with you when you leave.
37. You just broke up with your best friend's wedding man. They also made the cake.
38. Some of your in-laws decided to give you to their brother. When they cross the line, you make them and your spouse a promise. One by one, they disappear.
39. Your health is constantly getting worse and you don't know why. Neither do your doctors, who look at the usual health problems and find nothing. Then someone calls to let you know.
40. Your estranged father sends you a china doll, the one he swears you told him you wanted. She has her missing mother's face and hair. And his eyes are glued open.
41. You've just told your family that you're asexual and they seem to accept it. Out of nowhere, the cute guy next door shows up to ask him out and his parents silently agree.
42. A cop stops you for driving a few miles over the speed limit, tells you to get out of the car, slams you against the hood, and whispers in your ear, "That's from your ex."
43. You emailed your fiance months before you met him on your first date. Now, you're getting strange phone calls from someone claiming to be your wife telling you to run.
44. You stood at the coffin of a close friend and winced as your father laid a hand on your shoulder. "It had to be done," she whispered. "Remember the big picture."
Tips for writing ghost stories
45. A small package bears the name of your sister, who died five years ago. It contains a pendant that matches hers and a note asking her to activate it by singing "Sisters Forever".
46. His elderly neighbors died the same day from an apparent suicide pact. In their will, they left you their pug, along with a small box of what they called "magic items."
47. You receive a note written by your best friend, who died in a car accident the month before. Her parents found her in her room and handed it to her, barely looking at you.
48. You jump to a new opening in the building near your favorite coffee shop. The first night there, you wake up to ghostly shapes around your bed.
49. At your first sleepover, your friend's older brother surprises you during a late night bathroom trip. He died a decade later in prison. Now you see it in your dreams.
50. Your house is a high-tech creation of your best friend, who passed it on to you (not his wife). He anticipates your every need and want.
51. You've been dreaming about a door appearing in your room. In one, you walk through it and see someone you love to bemurdered🇧🇷 You inform them the next day.
52. You are the sole survivor of a horrible train wreck and wherever you go you see the ghosts of some of the passengers. Some have told you that the accident was not an accident.
53. You are going through your mother's belongings when a note appears from the book she is reading, warning you of "the ghost who runs this house".
54. Your new boyfriend is obsessed with ancient artifacts, but when something gets in the way of his latest discovery, you witness disturbing changes in his behavior.
55. Your life is already complicated when your boss asks you to stay at his house to look after his dog while he's away. You soon discover that the house is as mischievous as the dog.
funny horror story ideas
56. You are aeditorfor the college literary magazine, and you're getting poetry hate mail from a student who's angry that you didn't pick her poems for the latest issue.
57. Your favorite neighbor is a trans woman named Lani who takes care of you. She warns you about a guy down the hall who keeps trying to make you smile.
58. Your co-workers make fun of you for your weight gain. One is found dead in the bathroom, his mouth full of bullets. Everyone except the janitor is suspicious of you.
59. An anonymous admirer sends you a singing telegram with a chilling question. Now you have less than 24 hours to sing your response in the public square, with a flash mob.
60. You order wine delivery but are disappointed with the first bottle you open and taste. On the label you find a rude and offensive note from an old enemy.
61. Your date discovers that your best friend is asexual and starts asking intrusive and insensitive questions. When his friend shuts him up, he insults and warns them both.
62. You're working in the dinner rush hour and a customer insists on changing his order the moment you deliver it. Someone silently follows her as she runs out the door.
63. You are organizing an open house for your new store and discover that a customer is stealing. She says: “They told me to come here and get this. You are being watched.
64. You arrive at your new home and the keys to the property don't work. Someone opens the door with a seductive smile. “So you're here for the bedroom? Forward!"
65. Your date is going well until you reveal that you have a dog. "I'm not really a dog person," you hear. When you get a bad feeling and end the date, things get complicated.
66. Your diary disappears, and within a week, a goofy handsome guy starts showing up on your regular charts. He looks surprised to see you, but something isn't right.
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Go ahead and terrorize
Armed with this generous sampling of horror story tips, whatstoriesare forming in your mind as you read this?
You also don't have to stick to the exact details.
If any part ofwriting instructionsyou just read it, it sparked your imagination and became the core of a story, run with what you've got.
And don't worry if the first sentence isn't perfect (you'll probably change it anyway). Just write.
May you love this new story as much as your readers do.