Improve Your Horror Manuscript: Seven Important Tips to Consider

by Admin

Crafting a compelling horror story is more complicated than what meets the eye. The beautiful combination of the known and unknown is not drawn overnight. This complex balance between the reader’s fears and desires can take years to get established.

Just like any other genre, horror also focuses on making a deeper connection with the reader, but in this case, it is established through fear and anxiety. The goal is to keep the readers on the edge of their seats through metaphorical and symbolic means.

If you feel like you are up for a challenge, here are some amazing tips to help you write and improve your horror manuscript.

  1. Learn About the Horror Genre

Writing a horror book is more than scaring the readers on the surface. A winning horror story must instil fear in the readers that remains unshakeable for weeks to come. A horror book reader must be engaged at every turn, or they can lose their interest in a matter of seconds.

The horror genre is not limited to a single type of story. It can be a ghost story, a gory flash fiction, or a psychological thriller. You must study the genre and subgenres to understand what makes it so special for dedicated fans.

The best way to learn more about the genre is to read horror books from the best authors in the genre. From Stephen King to Shirley Jackson, several outstanding horror authors have created some gems that can teach you a lot about the genre and inspire you to add depth to your own manuscript.

  1. Strengthen Your Characters

Characters are the backbone of any book, and this universal truth does not hinder when it comes to the horror genre. Every character in your horror story must be compelling with a rich backstory to engage the readers.

Do not forget to familiarise your readers with the desires, motivations, and fears of your characters. Their personal traits and motivations are key to effectively advancing your plot, adding depth to your stories and the actions of your characters.

As an aspiring horror author, do not forget that your characters do not only have to play the role of responding to the horror elements of your story. Instead, their actions, internal conflicts, and choices influence the story in significant ways.

  1. Create an Engaging Atmosphere

Every horror story must have a spine-chilling atmosphere to engage the readers from the first line of your horror book to the last. A combination of carefully chosen visual, auditory, and narrative elements can help you create an unforgettable impact on your readers.

Do not appeal only to the eyes of the reader. Instead of telling them everything, try to show them. You can use sensory details to surround the characters that can also make the readers feel like a part of your creation.

A simple addition such as a hush or ambient noise can help you keep your readers on the edge of their seats and make them turn one page after another. The right choices for the atmosphere of your horror book can set it apart for the readers.

  1. Build Suspense

Every horror story writer must consider the element of suspense to be nothing less than an important character of their story. Suspense is an important aspect that can enable you to make a reader’s heart race in a moment.

Pacing can help you create suspense and moments of revelation for your readers. If you are a novice horror book author, it is best to have an experienced horror book editor by your side to pick the right pace to ensure reader engagement.

The best horror books can teach you that what the audience imagines can be far scarier than anything you show them. Hence, not showing them everything directly and maintaining a sense of suspense will work in your favour.

  1. Look into Psychological Horror

Writing horror books is not all about making the protagonist fight a one-eyed monster or battle the evil witches. Instead of making everything obvious, you can look into psychological horror and why it is so loved among the fans.

Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror that focuses on the mental, psychological, and emotional states of the characters. These states are used to create a connection with the audience and scare them by playing with the fears and anxieties buried deep within the human psyche.

You can incorporate different elements such as mastery, paranoia, and fear to blur the line between reality and a nightmare. This blurred line can keep the readers at the edge of their seats as they explore deeper themes in your book.

  1. Embrace Uniqueness

The horror genre is more crowded than you think. In order to stand out, incorporating uniqueness in your work cannot be overlooked. Horror genre fans love authors who think outside the box and provide them with fresh concepts.

As an author, you do not have to be afraid of taking risks with your ideas. You can write by adding a unique perspective to existing genres and themes. In addition, you can also try to blend different subgenres to appeal to a wider audience.

If you have friends who love the horror genre, you can explore different ideas with them to see how they feel about it as a fan of the genre. Brainstorming can help you get inspired for your horror book and also discover new ideas.

  1. Make Your Villains Memorable

Your protagonist is not the only character in your horror novel who must shine bright and be the centre of focus for your readers. You must also give equal attention to your antagonist to make your villain memorable and terrifying and for your horror story to stand out.

Just like other characters in your horror story, your antagonist must also have a backstory, motivations, and goals to make them more than just monsters. Their actions must have an association with deeper themes and conflicts in your story so that the readers can remember them long after they have read the last page of your book.

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