Horror/Thriller Writing Prompts

All illustrative rights reserved to dejan-delic

Do you want to scare the whits out of your readers?

Do you want to write a story so terrifying that even you start looking over your shoulder?

Whether you are a horror writer or just looking to experiment with a new genre, hopefully these writing prompts will help you start your journey of twists and turns.

The misty forest Sequoia Bayview Trail, Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland, CA.
Photo by Tom Holub

1.) You are home alone when a new neighbor pays you a visit. Unfortunately for you, it will not be the last time.

2.) Hundreds of thousands of people died that day, but history won’t remember a single one of them . . .

3.) All you wanted to do was go out and party to celebrate your graduation. But when a game of truth or dare goes too far, you might need to start a new life on the run.

4.) He hadn’t intended for things to go as far as they did. It was only supposed to be a weekend binge to help him get over his ex. Now, he was tied to Alex forever.

5.) A recent graduate lands a job in a high-end, family-owned restaurant. This successful family welcomes the newcomer with open arms before offering him/her a dinner invitation. At this dinner, your character will discover why the restaurant is always hiring new waitstaff.

Adopted from UI Here

6.) You get a text message from an unknown number. It is a picture of your corpse, thrown into a a grave in the woods. There is only one message “You have three days.”

7.) A monster is terrified by the scary child who lives above his bed.

8.) Your character just moved to a new city. He/she has a steady job, a new romantic interest and a new face. What is your character running from? How long can they keep up the charade or normalcy?

9.) He hadn’t intended for things to go as far as they did. It was only supposed to be a weekend binge to help him get over his ex. Now, he was tied to Alex forever.

10.) A man’s girlfriend goes missing. A decade later, he has a wife and children. He is happy, until his wife introduces him to her new friend: his ex, the one he thought he had murdered and buried 10 years earlier.

A monster is terrified by the scary child who lives above his bed
Found on Coyote Productions Blog

Here are a few tips to guide you along the way.

1.) Build suspense. Like a scavenger hunt, you want to give your reader small clues.

2.) Be unpredictable. You don’t want your reader to guess the end before they get there.

3.) Don’t try too hard. Scary is scary. You don’t need to show the reader guts and gore at every turn for your horror piece to be effective.

4.) Draw inspiration from the things/feelings that make the hair on your neck rise.

5.) Focus on creating atmosphere before you start writing. If you get scared writing it, your audience will surely get scared reading it.

6.) Have fun!

© 2019 by Naomi Roberson

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