on The Write Life:
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, published in 1764, is widely considered to be the first official horror novel. But horror stories, or at least ghost stories, go back as far as people do—scary folklore, folklore around death and the afterlife, and myths about horrible beasts, curses, and so on have been part of human storytelling from the start.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gotten any easier to write, though. Horror, in particular, can be extremely difficult to get just right. It’s often a fine line between scary and corny, and even if you’ve nailed it for one reader, you might have crossed it for others. How do you craft a story that’s guaranteed to be scary without making it cheesy? How do you make a horror story scary while keeping it believable?
How do you write good horror?
In this article, we’ll give you five tips for writing horror. We’re going to talk about what horror is, cover some subgenres of horror, talk about what to avoid when you’re writing horror, and give you some tools you can use to make your next horror story great.