Of writing horror stories

Two weeks ago I wrote my first ever horror short story. I was alone and staring at the computer screen. I had not written anything worth consequence since I came home and I needed to write something for Wednesday. For two days, I tried to come up with a plot, failing miserably. Things were different than usual on the home front as my brother was to leave home soon for college. It was difficult to concentrate.

Then I had the idea to write a story based loosely on a childhood story, one that my aunt used to tell me when I begged her for stories. She said it had happened with her sister, my other aunt. I used to listen to her in awe and horror. I don’t remember if I had goosebumps, but writing the story was a very scary experience. As I wrote, I clearly pictured what my aunt used to tell me and as I added my imagination and fleshed it into words, my heart quickened. I was scared to get up and switch on the light of the other room that led to the toilet. I needed to use the toilet badly, but I sat tight.

You see, I have never been a courageous person. As a child I was afraid of the dark. My cousins used to scare me with ghastly tales of ghosts and spirits. Even when I was in Kolkata, where I went to college, I had difficulty sleeping when my roommates were away. The clothes hanging from the rope in the room seemed to take life in the hazy light that seeped through the window at night. And I was so scared, so very scared!

When The Conjuringย hit the theatres, it received rave reviews. I downloaded the movie because many suggested it. I watched the movie in broad daylight when my family was home, yet my heart beat faster in horror and anticipation. I had difficulty sleeping for nights afterwards. I cursed those who make horror movies. What do they have to do it, for God’s sake? How does one get pleasure being scared out of their brains?

Given my train of thoughts, I should probably never have written a short story in the horror genre. Especially when I had goosebumps writing it and my heart thrummed erratically. At the slightest noise I felt I had received a shock, every sensation had heightened so much during those hours. I was so glad when my mother and brother were home, in the middle of the story. I guess I could only complete the work because I was at a dead end as far as non-horror plots were concerned, my head was so heavy!

Once I had written it, however, I could kind of close my eyes to the horror and edit it objectively. I am proud of the story it became. I have received a few positive comments for it, so that made the experience better.

I still have questions, though, for horror enthusiasts. Horror authors, how do you form those scary sentences? Have you ever been frightened of what you wrote? Or am I the dumb one here to even ask this question? Do share with me in the comments section. Horror readers, please feel free to jump into the discussion as well! How do you enjoy watching something scary? I am eager to hear from you.

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About Arpita

Arpita Pramanick is a little, young woman with a bright face (who'd rather not look directly into a stranger's eye) you'll find walking on the corridors of Mu Sigma, Inc. She tells herself she wants to be a properly published writer (by which she means she wants to be published from the likes of Penguin), but isn't really so sincere about writing everyday. So if you see her, tell her to go write. She'll love you for doing that!
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24 Responses to Of writing horror stories

  1. Arpita,

    I love horror stories. I love watching horror flicks and writing too. It is rather a difficult genre to write because here the impact is experiential rather then visual so writers have to challenge the though of reader with words and images or pictures, which could have been easier in visuals. I wrote one few months back and have couple of them in pipeline. Published a horrow story today itself.Give it a read and let meknow your feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading horror stories and watching horror movies. The reason behind this attraction is the rush of blood and the chill rising up my spine feel I get when suddenly a hand appears below the bed or below the ground from the soil or the ghost suddenly appears out of nowhere and then again vanishes into thin air.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sandmanjazz says:

    I haven’t tried to write an out and out horror story as of yet, though I have certainly used elements drawn from the genre. The old dark (abandoned) house, practitioners of black magic, the feel of another presence near by etc… Usually I use this as window dressing for a story or as a red herring.

    Liked by 1 person

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