Re: Merry Christmas everybody! This about trying to write in the horror genre

Horror's a tough one to write. The biggest mistake a lot of authors make is thinking horror means gore. Gore written in words doesn't do as much to modern people anymore because we've been so desensitized by things like television, movies, and games. So they try to push the gore envelope to the maximum and in the end, all they've achieved is making readers uncomfortable, but not necessarily scared.

A subreddit dedicated to horror/disturbing stories. Top stories on the no sleep subreddit.

Some two-sentence horror stories for you.
Quote:A girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said, “I heard that, too.”

[Fun fact, these two sentences inspired two horror micro-films. Short 1 & Short 2]

Quote:The last thing I saw was my alarm clock flashing 12:07 before she pushed her long rotting nails through my chest, her other hand muffling my screams. I sat bolt upright, relieved it was only a dream, but as I saw my alarm clock read 12:06, I heard my closet door creak open.

Quote:I awoke to the sound of the baby monitor crackling with a voice comforting my firstborn child. As I adjusted to a new position, my arm brushed against my wife, sleeping next to me.

Quote:“I can’t sleep,” she whispered, crawling into bed with me. I woke up cold, clutching the dress she was buried in.

The thing I'd like you to notice about the majority of these two-sentence stories and the NoSleep subreddit is how easy it is to relate to the people. Most of them involve normal people going about their day. Why? Because everyone could see themselves in their situation. Anyhow, hopefully, you get more recommendations, perhaps, something from a professional writer. My examples would all be from mostly amateurs. Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Re: Merry Christmas everybody! This about trying to write in the horror genre

Horror can be tricky to write because what scares one person doesn't scare another. As Tilted_Axis said, a big trap for new horror authors is to poor in the gore. That doesn't work (as an author who writes horror under another name, I can attest to this truth!) There is a market for that extreme stuff, but not a large one.

A great resource to try if you want to learn more about writing horror fiction is a new book called "Writing in the Dark" by Tim Waggoner. I bought it to help improve my craft and it's full of wonderful tips and insight into what works and what doesn't. 

Re: Merry Christmas everybody! This about trying to write in the horror genre

Another thing about horror is considering your audience.  Adult fear is a good way to write horror for a mature audience.  Adult fear is what it sounds like: things that adults are afraid of.  Children in peril, decay, feelings of powerlessness.

In the above two sentence horror examples, you have two children, a dead spouse, and a foregone conclusion.

Stephen King is a great writer of adult fear.  That’s why his books are so pervasive in the horror genre, despite the many criticisms about his style.  He’s very good at tapping into things that terrify adults.  Even books like the Green Mile, which isn’t really horror in a traditional sense, has the same elements that will terrify most people.  Horrible crime involving little girls, innocent man on death row, sweet little lady being destroyed by a brain tumour.

You could go with ghosts and werewolves and vampires, but they won’t really be scary until it becomes real.