Op-Ed: Penning scary stories: It’s not a difficult exercise

Posted Jul 21, 2014 by Milton Este
Scary stories have been an integral part of our growing up. In fact, why only growing up? Doesn't a well-represented horror tale send shivers down our spine even well beyond our childhood?
Extremely scary ghost prank
Extremely scary ghost prank
How often have you found yourself snuggling under the blanket, imagining being engulfed by spirits who were only “restricted” to the pages of a book, until you read them? Yes. That’s what horror does to us! Even if most of us are skeptics, for those few hours we are reading or watching “fear,” we are willingly “suspending disbelief.”
However, you cannot expect your audience to be equally thrilled by anything and everything you offer them. Please remember that horror story writers have spent a string of sleepless nights in order to offer those much “coveted” sensations of fright, disbelief, hype and even plain nausea at times. After all, as Stephen King puts, “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” And you thought that’s so easy? It’s definitely not — especially when your story is meant to be published and not shown on screens. In fact, writing a horror screenplay is a tad easier than penning a book of a similar genre, since your tale is backed by the aid of all the required graphics to bolster visual representation. With a book you can only use your wildest imagination and writing skills to evoke fear. Go through the post in order to come across a few useful tips to write scary tales.
Start off with a brilliant idea: It can be a flash of thought or just a carefully deduced one — starting off with an original and inspiring idea remains crucial. Think of all the horror stories you have encountered on television and in books. What are the subjects that have already been covered — lonely spirits with unquenched desires, spook in the garb of mush, college horror, haunted hostel, astral projections, unrelenting souls in search of gore — what else? Think of an original idea. Brainstorm. If you are willing to work on a known premise then think of a completely different treatment. Introduce completely different episodes, mysterious characters and suggestive dialogues to heighten the desired effect.
Make sure that you keep on writing: The value of unflinching practice is acknowledged unequivocally. Keep on writing. Do not be afraid to share your ideas on platforms like The website is a brilliant amalgamation of intriguing tales of zombies, ghosts, spirits and nightmares. Inexplicable real life tales are a regular here. You can receive a hands-on idea about how your story has been received with the help of the comment section here.
Work on building a premonitory ambiance from the beginning. Spookiness doesn't always have to be associated with gore and excess of sensationalism. You can weave the desired effect without them as well. What’s scarier than making your spirits intrude the daily lives of people — in regular apartments, schools or bungalows — placed far away from quintessential haunted places like forests? How about a wife waiting for her husband to return from home from work in the dead of the night — with only the resonating television set and the continuously dripping tap water as her company?
“The sound of the water drop gradually intensifies to surpass the voices on television.. Is the screen occasionally blurring? Or is it just all in her mind?”
Special tip: You can use adjectives or other words like “musky,” “mumble,” “blur” and “distant” to add to the suspense.