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How to Write Scary Novels & Ideas

    • 1). Think of a scary setting and event. Look through old photographs and historical texts for inspiration. Imagine a setting that frightens you and jot down some descriptions of the scene. Remember to scare yourself -- if you are not frightened by the scary novel idea, nor will be your audience.

    • 2). Create an outline. Once you have a scary story idea or premise, jot down the main features of the story in a list or chart format. If the scary novel will have three main characters and a monster or ghostly character, mark them down. Add history to the characters by imagining whole lives and experiences up to the moment of the story you are writing. Include bits of dialogue that characters might say or think, or imagine a growl or grunt a monster might make.

    • 3). Include the main places and setting you want to include in your novel. Add these places to the organizational chart. Write additional descriptions for a haunted house, prison, misty forest or other space. Use detailed descriptions--these will help you when you begin to write the novel.

    • 4). Set the narrator's tone. Determine the voice with which you want to tell the novel: first person, second person or third person omniscient. Select the tone based on what you want the audience to know about the characters and the scene. For instance, with a third person narrative, you can tell the readers whatever you would like about a person or scene through the novel; in second person, you speak in the "you" voice, meaning everything is a command (See Carlos Fuentes' short "Aura"). The first person will let you speak through only one character, showing a frightening world through their eyes.

    • 5). Sketch ideas for a beginning, middle and end. Select an opening scene for your main character or characters. Create a conflict in the middle that will lead the character or characters to make a decision or change direction in the story. Draft an ending to the novel that you think will leave readers frightened, intrigued and wanting more.

    • 6). Revise. Once you have your novel in order, go over the whole story with a red pen and an investigative eye. Make sure the plot makes enough sense to be believable. Ensure that a character or figure does not disappear in the novel for no reason. Ensure that place names and small details, like names and physical descriptions, stay consistent. Share the novel with a friend or colleague -- preferably one fellow writer and one non-writer -- to see how the book affects your audience.

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