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Resources for Writers

How To Scare Your Readers: Really Useful Links by Amanda J Evans

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Article by Amanda J Evans ©.
Posted in Resources (, ).

The topic for this week’s column is how to scare your readers. If you write horror, or are thinking about it, these links should help. It’s not just horror that requires some scare tactics though and these tips can be used in a number of genres including romantic suspense, thrillers, and crime novels. It’s not easy to instil a sense of fear in your reader but hopefully after reading these articles you’ll understand what you need to do.

  1. http://writersrelief.com/2012/10/26/how-to-scare-your-readers/ – The Craft of Fear Mongering: How (And Why) to Scare Your Readers: This article from Writer’s Relief, although written in 2012, contains some excellent techniques on how to instil a sense of fear in your readers and why you should do it. It explains how to focus on an emotional element and how to increase your character’s fear level.
  2. https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-write-a-horror-story/ – How to Write a Horror Story: 7 Tips for Writing Horror: This article explores seven different areas including creating the right atmosphere and choosing the right point of view for your story. It explains each element in detail too and there are plenty of tips to take away and apply in your own writing.
  3. https://www.kotobee.com/blog/5-horror-tips-to-scare-your-readers/ – Oh The Horror! 5 Writing Tips to Help Your Scare your Readers: This article explains that to write great horror you have to create characters that readers will care about. It also looks at story pacing, choosing the right words, and how setting can set up the perfect scare.
  4. https://www.standoutbooks.com/write-fear/ – How To Handle Fear in Your Novel: The Dos and Don’ts: This is a must read and covers a number of different areas while telling you what to do and what to avoid. I was particularly drawn to the section on psychology and found this really interesting. It also looks at deep POV which is very helpful for getting deep into your character’s psyche.
  5. http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2012/12/writing-horror-what-makes-story-scary.html – Writing Horror: What Makes a Scary Story?: From understanding the goal of a horror story to putting it into action, this article has it all. It’s broken down into 7 different sections including atmosphere, setting the stakes, foreshadowing, primal fears, resolution, and more.
  6. https://litreactor.com/columns/how-to-scare-your-reader-11-tips-from-11-horror-writers – How To Scare Your Reader: 11 Tips from 11 Horror Writers: This article is packed full of advice from horror writers such as Paul Tremblay, David Moody, Helen Marshall, and Simon Strantzas. It includes tips on atmosphere and pace, how to scare yourself, getting into the reader’s psyche, and creating a false sense of security.
  7. https://www.autocrit.com/blog/5-ways-scare-pants-off-readers/ – 5 Ways to Scare the Pants Off Your Readers: No matter what type of horror you want to write, this article covers them all. From fear and suspense that is rooted in anxiety to getting the reader’s heart racing by using short sentences. It also covers how to use the unexpected to shock and the importance of character.
  8. https://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-write-horror-story-tips/ – How to Write a Horror Story: 6 Terrific Tips: This article begins by defining what horror is before moving on to discuss the 5 elements that the best horror stories have. After this there is in-depth discussion on how to write horror including a focus on tone, why you should read in the genre, how to create excellent characters, and more.

I hope you enjoyed the links and I look forward to bringing you some more Really Useful Links next week. If there is a topic that you would like to see covered, get in touch and I will see what I can do.

(c) Amanda J Evans

www.amandajevans.com, Facebook and Twitter: @amandajevans


Amanda J Evans is an award-winning Irish author of YA and Adult romance in paranormal and fantasy genres. Growing up with heroes like Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones, her stories centre on good versus evil with a splice of love and magic thrown in too. Her books have all won awards and her latest novella, Hear Me Cry, won the Book of the Year Award at the Dublin Writers Conference 2018. Amanda has been featured in a number of poetry anthologies in 2017 and 2018 including A Bowl of Irish Stew, a charity anthology for Pieta House and her short story Moonlight Magic was included in the Owl Hollow Press Anthology, Under the Full Moon’s Light, published in October 2018. Amanda is currently polishing her novel, Winterland, which will be submitted to agents and publishers in 2019, and is also working on a Bronte inspired story for an anthology due for publication in 2020. Amanda is also the author of Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, published in 2012. You can find out more on her website www.amandajevans.com, Facebook and Twitter: @amandajevans