A Trick for First Person Horror

In my continuing studies of the horror genre, I noticed a method of creating scares for a first-person perspective. And that’s cool because I considered it a harder way of doing horror in certain cases. And, outside of what I’m about to say, that’s for one reason: you can’t kill your narrator. If you do, the story ends.

So, if you’re staying inside the head of a single character, you can only show scary things—you can’t have it get them.

The workaround for this is “The Victim.” Continue reading

“The Sin” In Horror

This is not a universal rule, and I’ve seen exceptions to it—but I’ve been noticing a pattern in a lot of horror media. And it has to do with rules and taboos. Now, there’s the whole thing in classic slashers where a character does something (usually sexual) and then is murdered for it—but I mean something else. I mean something not full of outdated stereotypes and implications. Continue reading

How To Scare Someone In Four Steps

I’ve written a zonking amount of horror short stories on this site. And, though I’m by no means an extreme expert on the subject, I have worked out four steps I find most horror stories fall into and obey. You could call it the “Horror Story Structure.” It’s a rough, overarching template that allows a framework when constructing scares.

Now, this is better applied to short stories. The nature of horror in long-form, the stretched version, must allow an ebb and a flow to the proceedings. If not, you risk simply burning away the reader in a fury of violent imagery. But, if applied sensibly, and dolloped over a more character-focused progression, this can work for anything horror-related you would care to make.

So, here we go. Four steps in sequence. I call it the “EITT” method. Use it and terrify. Continue reading

Getting Back Into Horror Stuff

I wasn’t sure if I had fallen back into loving horror. Then I bought a box set of Five Nights at Freddy’s Fazbear Frights (the covers remind me of classic Goosebumps—both have bold, creepy designs that don’t rely on gore). Then I binged multiple episodes of The Magnus Archives (the first episode is so good and utterly horrifying). Then discovered, all over again, how much I like Lovecraftian horror in general. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Nighttime Headlights

He was closer at the time. That, I think, was the only reason I survived, and Herb didn’t. Like a hungry animal, the trick is simply to be the second slowest. Though what was chasing us was not an animal—I’m not sure what it was.

What we could see of it for certain was a light. We were out walking our city at night, a bit drunk, a little exhausted from all the dancing, but mostly calm, chipper, and riding that buzz of a good party, when a light came from behind us. Two of them, shining with a slight orange tint. Continue reading

Microfiction: Halloween Children

The smell awoke Kenny. He got groggily out of bed, the clock on his nightstand showing well past 3 am. His boyfriend was still asleep.

“What the fuck is she doing…” Kenny muttered. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and quietly opened and closed the bedroom door.

The bustle became obvious then: the sound of splashing, the oven door being aggressively handled. Continue reading