Face your nightmares: Horror Tutorial Day 1

I don’t know about you, but I was never actually thankful for getting nightmares. But it turns out that they’re a virtual GOLDMINE of material for story writing, according to Alexander Gordon Smith, the author of The Escape from Furnace Series. Looks like my next story is going to be about running down hallways escaping from trains (because, of course, travel down hallways. I think my dreams need to get freakier if I’m ever going to be as awesome as Mr. Smith. But anyway.) Every day this week, he’ll teach us something about writing horror, so be sure follow along – it’s about to get freaky in here.

Facing Your Nightmares!

One of the most important things about writing a horror story is finding something scary! There are loads of places to get ideas, but it’s always best to start by looking at what YOU are afraid of. If you’re afraid of something, then when you write about it, it will seem genuinely terrifying!

Write down some of your worst fears:

Think about why you find these things scary! Three great places to look for ideas are:

  • Experience: Things that have happened to you – did anything really scary happen when you were younger, like getting lost in the woods, or being woken by a noise that might have been a monster?
  • Memory: Things from your favourite books and shows – what’s the scariest thing you’ve ever read or seen? Is there a way to use that idea but make it your own?
  • What if?!: Crazy ideas – this is the most fun way of looking for ideas. What if… your reflection suddenly started doing things differently, and began trying to take over your life? Or your parents, and everybody else’s, suddenly disappear? Or a neighbour turns out to be a vampire? Learn to question absolutely everything – why is the school basement locked? (What if that’s where they experiment on naughty kids!) What happens when you are hypnotised? (Maybe you are possessed by an angry ghost!) Think up ludicrous and scary explanations for everything!The idea for Furnace came from all these places: I once visited an old prison beneath the ground and was terrified by it (Experience), I was watching lots of prison shows on television at the time (Memory), and I wondered What If you are accused of a crime you didn’t commit and sent to a terrifying prison? And all of the monsters in Furnace are born from some of my worst fears!Try playing with some of these idea-making ideas and you’ll have a basis for a story in no time!

The idea for Furnace came from all these places: I once visited an old prison beneath the ground and was terrified by it (Experience), I was watching lots of prison shows on television at the time (Memory), and I wondered What If you are accused of a crime you didn’t commit and sent to a terrifying prison? And all of the monsters in Furnace are born from some of my worst fears!

Try playing with some of these idea-making ideas and you’ll have a basis for a story in no time!

6 thoughts on “Face your nightmares: Horror Tutorial Day 1

  1. Thank you…unfortunately the things that scared me the most were the borg from star trek–they are just so #@#$% creepy.

  2. OMG! Thank you so much. I’ve been trying to read anew horror story but I’ve been so stuck but now with this I have the best idea ever. Thank you so much I can’t wait to read the Furnace Series!

  3. Fabulous!!! Horror is the genre that I really want to write, this helped me to know what to do. This is also helping me to continue on a horror story that I started a looooooooooong time ago, and didn’t know where to go with it! Now I just have to get the document onto the share drive 🙂

    Kinsey

  4. you’re right about the nightmare thing, some of my best stories come from them. sometimes I actually enjoy them because they make life more exciting

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