Halloween is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: spooky writing! 

According to New Reader Magazine, “horror can be very difficult to write. The variety of emotional responses you can bring out is wide, and scared may not always be among them.” The magazine offers simple tips to scare your readers: 

  1. Let your readers know your characters. Give your readers time to familiarize your characters before you let the monster out to play. Give them time to care about and sympathize with them. 
  2. Consider sentence length. When you want to slow the action, make the sentence longer. When the monsters want to attack, go short. 
  3. Use your setting to your advantage. Show readers bits of the effects of what the monsters or the killer has done. Let your readers see the terrified old woman shaking uncontrollably!
  4. Hit them where and when they least expect it. Create the action in a way that you’re directing your reader’s attention in one direction, and then coming at them from somewhere different. 
  5. Spend time understanding your characters. Know how they react in terrifying situations and know their motives. This is where you can play on relationships and increasing threats around your protagonist. 

Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of “Anchored Together,a new coming-of-age book for teens impacted by family alcoholism.