Everyone loves a good horror story. The thrill of these tales is that they often unnerve us, striking fear into our hearts and minds by twisting everyday things into something sinister and unexpected. It’s this ability to take the ordinary and turn it inside out that makes horror such an excellent genre for writers. Now if you’re an essay writer who loves the horror genre, but also struggles to come up with new ideas from time to time, you might find yourself struggling to conjure a fresh new tale. However, as you are anything but ordinary—as a reader of this article no doubt—you can use that as your first step towards coming up with some fantastic ideas. We asked academic writers from the following essay writing company Smart Writing Service to provide us with it. Read on for 20 horror writing prompts for writing a great story, a movie review or an essay.
Who or what is the source of terror?
Identifying the “character” of your horror story is important. After all, when we read a book or watch a film, we are not just being given a story—we are also being given characters that we can get to know and even empathize with. In fact, a great many movies and books are so successful because they have characters that we fall in love with—or despise—simply because they are so well-developed. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of simply creating a character who is evil, who has no reason for doing the things that they do. This can make for a very one-dimensional story, and is unlikely to frighten your readers as much as you might like. For a truly compelling horror story, you need to give your character a motive for what they are doing.
Here are a few horror writing ideas:
- A monster represents a current social issue or force.
- A science experiment goes wrong.
- A sympathetic hero discovers a monstrous inner flaw.
- The protagonist discovers their beloved is hiding a dark secret.
- Conflict between two monsters generates danger.
A dark and stormy night
This is the classic setting for a horror story—a dark and stormy night. However, that doesn’t have to mean that you are setting your story in Victorian times in a rural part of England. You can, of course, set it in a dark and stormy night in the modern day in an urban jungle. The important thing here is to describe just how dark and stormy it is, and what that might do to your characters.
Here are a few horror writing prompts:
- An outsider arrives in a picturesque small town.
- A prehistoric creature brings ancient terror to an American city.
- A big-box retailer becomes a refuge during a crisis.
- Something ominous is occurring in the house next door.
- A mode of transportation is put to a disturbing use.
An everyday object turned sinister
A classic staple of horror stories is the everyday object that suddenly displays an unusual, almost sinister, power.
Here are a few examples and horror writing prompts:
- It might be an item of clothing, a household item, or something else entirely.
- Maybe the item is one that your characters are particularly wary of, or that they avoid because of the dangers associated with it.
- Maybe it’s an item that is innocent and innocuous, but somehow develops a sinister power.
- Perhaps it is an object that already has a sinister reputation, like the ancient book that is said to hold the secrets of eternal life.
- Maybe a character uses the item to try to do something good, but it turns out to be a mistake.
How can you transform this everyday item into something sinister?
Somewhere you shouldn’t be
We often feel a little guilty about going to places we know we shouldn’t be; however, a good horror story will make you feel guilty about being in the wrong place even when there is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Perhaps they are places where terrible things have happened in the past, or places where terrible things are happening right now.
- It could be a place where people have gone missing, or where they have been found dead.
- It could be a place that is simply dangerous, like the top of a tall building, or the bottom of the ocean.
The important thing is that the place has an air of danger about it.
A few more chilling horror writing ideas to give you some creepy inspiration:
- A chilling prediction comes true, and your characters are put in a situation where they have to make a terrible decision. What is it that your characters have to do to stop the terrible outcome? How do they have to change their lives in order to avoid this terrible event?
- Perhaps a disease breaks out and threatens everyone in a particular place, or a natural disaster strikes, forcing people to make terrible decisions as they try to survive.
- Perhaps a character is hesitant to visit a place they once loved, or to let a loved one into their life. Why are they hesitant? What is it that they are afraid of? Why is this moment of hesitation in your story important?
- Sometimes, those who stand by and do nothing in a horror story are as frightening as the villains. Have you ever known someone who has done nothing when they could have helped?
If none of these ideas get your creative juices flowing, students of horror like you can always get fast, effective and legit help with a horror story or a college essay from the professional academic writers at a paper writing service, where experts can provide serious scholarship and brilliant ideas on demand.