Writing Horror

Writing Horror

Looking for an introduction to reading or writing the horror genre? Pick up a copy of Rob Parnell’s THE EASY WAY TO WRITE HORROR THAT SELLS.” 
The book begins with a quick overview, moves on to detailed writing guidelines, and closes with a summary of basic story structure. Following are some of my notes from the book.



Sound Foundation: Couple Story Idea to Credible Evidence

  • Story Idea: scary things kill you
  • Credible Evidence: fear makes you vulnerable
  • Story Idea + Credible Evidence = Scary things kill you because fear leaves you vulnerable

Genre Keys:

  • Everyday Protagonist
  • Isolated Location
  • Escalating Menace

Essential Characterization:

  • Protagonist – an ordinary person facing impossible odds to save something/someone he values
  • Antagonist – a vehicle of destruction, with a known method, who continues to escalate
  • Others – the consequence of each death should be linked to the significance of the relationship to the protagonist

Sound Insights:

  • Play on your own fears
  • Harness the gore to the exploration of humanity
  • Bridge the gap between real life and the fictional horror by creating an empathetic protagonist

 These notes are just the tip of the knife. I encourage you to get all the gory details by reading Parnell’s book for a more in-depth understanding and appreciation for the horror genre.