10 Things that Make a Smacking Good Horror Story


Writing a horror story? See whether you have these 10 things in place.

Writing a horror story? You have the plot, but are you hitting the right notes? Here is a quick checklist based on celebrated works of famous writers of the genre. Whether it is for a submission or for your novel, see if you are doing the right thing with your horror story. Writing tips from Neil D’Silva.

  • A protagonist whom everyone feels sad for, and roots for.
  • An antagonist capable of unleashing the most unimaginable evil.
  • Flaws; a truly chilling story feeds on the flaws of its people.
  • Stakes so high they could pierce the sky.
  • A place where no one wants to be.
  • A time when no one wants to be alone.
  • Hurt of the kind that is unbearable to even think about, lot less to experience.
  • Sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and touches that make you wish you never had the five senses.
  • Language that speaks minimally, but with words and phrases that keep swirling in the mind.
  • A climax that plays on and on in the reader’s miserable mind.

To read acclaimed horror shorts from Neil D’Silva, click on the following:



2 thoughts on “10 Things that Make a Smacking Good Horror Story

  1. I see how I miss some of that stuff in my horror writing, but some is spot on. I like the Shirley Jackson/The Haunting of Hill House style, suggest, but don’t define, lead it up to the reader’s imagination. I have more of the antagonist, than I think in my book (well, novella). Someone told me I don’t write horror, I write paranormal. Could be true

    1. Yes, that’s good. The Haunting of Hill House is a great example of atmospheric horror, with everything in it almost perfectly written. That book, like most other good horror books, plays out in the reader’s imagination. But the horror/paranormal distinction is just a nuance. Paranormal is a subgenre of horror. It does not require a very different style of writing from usual horror stories; only that the stories themselves are different.

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