Masterpost of Tips and Inspiration for Horror Writers
This isn’t a comprehensive list - only the ones I actually found helpful and worth the time it took to read them. None of the original posts are mine; I just collected them. Feel free to send me other links if you find any and want me to add them.
The bare bones: horror writing tips
- how do I start writing horror fiction?
- what makes horror horrifying?
- the seeds of horror
- 25 things you should know about writing horror
- 13 tips for writing horror fiction
- 5 elements of a good horror story
- 20 tips for writing the perfect horror short story
- creating an environment for a horror story
- getting the best out of your bad guys
- leaving your monster in the closet
- plot and character in horror fiction
- horror plot cliches and top 5 overused horror settings
- how to write horror
- classic structure of the horror novel
- generic horror vs. innovative horror
- 8 ways to pile on the fear in your horror fiction
- what makes for a great thriller?
Genre tips (only listen to these if you care more about your audience than being a literary writer)
- the line between horror and dark fantasy
- what today’s readers want and what today’s readers don’t want
- horror subgenres
Not horror-specific, but helpful nonetheless
- 25 ways to fuck with your characters
- 25 steps to edit the unmerciful suck out of your story
- 5 ways to make your novel hopelessly addictive
Prompts and inspiration, in case you’re stuck on your plot or need motivation for a scene
NO GO AWAY
Just kidding. Check out:
More of the same!
I have begun working on a new tutorial; once all of drawing the head has been posted, the next tutorial will be on drawing hands.
This piece gives some clear, simple examples and explanations of different literary techniques using Disney movies.
Anonymous asked: *Rolls around the floor* I feel like my writing sucks and no matter how much I write and edit it doesn’t get better. Do you have any tips on how to be confident in your writing?
*Throws around pillows so you don’t bang into the furniture*
Here are my steps.
- Stop comparing your writing to that of other people’s.
- Seriously, stop. It’s not doing you any favors and it’s a surefire way to make yourself miserable.
- Even published, successful authors have times when they’re convinced that they suck. (Except for Nicholas Sparks, but, well…)
- Focus on what you do well in your writing, and don’t be humble. For this exercise, you are Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove. What is it about your writing that you’re most proud of? Are your verbs spot-on? Do your descriptive passages put Romantic-era writers to shame? Breathe humanity into your villains? Hell yeah! Think about what you’re good at, put them into list form, and pin it to the wall above your desk. See? You’re not nearly as bad as you think you are.
- Make another list of what you believe are your weak points. Approach this step with courage. Brave heart, Tegan. The only catch is that you’re not allowed to make this list any longer than the list of good things. Let me repeat that: You are not allowed to make this list longer than the Good Things List. Got it? Okay.
- Pin it up next to the list of good things. Compare the two. Squint at them and make a photographer’s square with your fingers. These two lists represent the base of your writing.
- Now take the bad list down. Look at it again. Rank the items in order of Not-So-bad to Must-Fix-Immediately. That’s the order in which you’re going to work on improving them.
- Work on improving them. Hit up the Internet for ways to combat your specific weaknesses. Write short pieces strictly for dissection purposes - use prompts to help you think of ideas. Write. Write. Write. Write like it’s keeping your electricity on.
- Whenever you get discouraged, look at the list of Good Things you’ve kept pinned to the wall. Hey! You’re good at this! Really, you are good at this - and even better, you’re working on getting better.
- Remember: there are no real benchmarks. There’s no core standard for writers. Everyone comes at this thing in their own way, and that’s what makes writing such a cool art form: it truly is individualistic.
I really hope this helps.
Over the course of the writing adventure, most of you will experience what will feel like the worst rut you’ve ever been in. Words don’t flow—putting each one onto paper is a chore in and of itself. All your ideas lead to dead ends, and you feel like it’s time to put your novel to rest.
That’s the rut I was just in for over a month, and it was beyond painful. I’ve been working on this novel for well over a year now, and I honestly thought it was going to come crashing down around me and be forced into a series of Word documents that would collect dust on my desktop until I finally had the guts to delete it.
So to celebrate me coming back to this blog, I thought I’d supply my strategy for getting out of my slump.
Disclaimer: This may not work for you. Everyone is different, and this is just one strategy out of many.
- Close your Word Docs.Sometimes, just staring at a blank screen (or even one with writing) can make it worse. Give yourself a break. Go watch videos on Youtube or make a Neopets account. Give yourself something fun to do for a little while.
- Keep the story in your mind. One of the worst things that you can do while in a slump like this is push it completely from your mind. If you do that, you run a risk of putting your story down and never picking it up again.
- Read for fun. Chances are, you’re already doing a lot of this. But just in case you aren’t, pick up a book that you’ve always wanted to read but for whatever reason haven’t started and tuck in.
- Think about what else is going on in your life and assess it properly. The reason I fell into my writing slump was because of school. I was taking four classes at once in a university for the first time, and I was scared to death of failing three of them. It was stressing me out to the point where I was pulling out my eyelashes. If you’re under stress, don’t feel bad taking a break from writing to get the rest of your life in order.
- Don’t rush yourself. If you try to force yourself to write when you’re in one of these slumps. This is what happens when you try to force yourself: Nothing. You’ll spend hours staring at a blank document and end up getting frustrated with yourself and hating the work.
So this is how I overcame my slump, and now that I’m back to writing, I feel a ton better. I’ve gotten my drive for writing back and new ideas come much more easily than they did even before I entered my writing slump. Hopefully someone else out there will benefit from this.
It’s difficult to get the moving pictures in your head down flat on a piece of paper, believe me, it is. Your savior is description, but that doesn’t make it easy. Description can be about what’s there just as it is about what’s not. It’s about perspective; a character can describe a rainy day as bleak, while another as wonderful.
Here are some things to help you leap into description:
Also, my favorite book on descriptions is Word Painting, which helped me out a lot, since description can be my weak point. I hope this helps you!
nikolagriffin said: I think it’s also about editing too. What I write down at first never seems awesome until I start picking out places to add things in I might have missed, or just change certain words and totally see a difference.
Excellent point! Editing and rewriting will make the world’s difference.
To be honest I still have huge trouble with anatomy myself, but I can try to give some advice!
One of the things I like doing is observing and use references, don’t be afraid to use references!! They’re such a great help and I can’t stress that enough. It’s also important to realize that the human body isn’t just some flat stick figure, it’s full of lots curves!
If you want to learn quickly, try drawing from reference and redraw it over and over again until it becomes etched into your head, then draw it from memory and compare it to the original. Try to find your mistakes and fix them from there. Also, don’t be lazy! It’s really hard not to, and I find myself struggling with laziness often, but if you want to improve, then you have to be really motivated.
Also, here are some helpful tutorials/drawing tools:
Hope that helps somewhat!
You did it! You made it to Week 4! Pat yourself on the back!
Yesterday we talked about the Climax, so today let’s talk about what’s sometimes called the Resolution, sometimes the Denouncement. This is the true end of your novel, the part that addresses whatever complicated issues came ahead in the Climax, and lets your reader close the book with satisfaction. Writing the perfect ending is not easy, but we’re not worried about writing it right now. We’re not even worried about making it good; right now, we just want to have an ending that caps off the end of your plot outline.
When you’re thinking about your Resolution, you need to look over your outline so far and keep an eye out for the following:
- Plot/Subplots have been wrapped the best they can. Sometimes things won’t be wrapped up in a neat little bow. Sometimes things will have to be left unsettled. They should, however, still be addressed. The last thing you want is a dangling plot thread, forgotten and hanging loose somewhere in your novel. Find your subplots, and if you can’t figure out how they end, just be sure you know they have to be wrapped somehow.
- What changed. The reader has to know what and how things have changed for the character. Even if you think this is clear over the course of the novel, having the final scene, paragraph, or line be about this change can really strengthen the end of your novel. Think about the ending of the first Harry Potter book; Harry’s back to his horrible relatives, but how he feels about himself and his friends makes this a hopeful note, not a bad one.
- You must have an ending. Even if it’s a trilogy. Even if it’s the first part of seven books. You must have an ending. No reader wants to reach the last page to find that the story within the book isn’t finished. It doesn’t have to be a swan song, but you must end the story as it is laid out before moving onto the next one. Think of how The Hunger Games ends; Katniss knows her struggles aren’t over, but the ones she faced during the course of the book are currently at bay. She’s one, for now, and the books lets the reader have that victory. Let your reader have their victory.
This is an ultimate masterlist of many, many resources that could be helpful for writers/roleplayers.
- Improve Your Writing Habits Now
- 5 Ways to Add Sparkle to Your Writing
- Getting Over Roleplaying Insecurities
- Improve Your Paras
- Why the Right Word Choices Result in Better Writing
- 4 Ways To Have Confidence in Your Writing
- Writing Better Than You Normally Do
- How’s My Driving?
- A Description Resource
- 55 Words to Describe Someones Voice
- Describing Skin Colors
- Describing a Person: Adding Details
- Emotions Vocabulary
- 90 Words For ‘Looks’
- Be More Descriptive
- Describe a Character’s Look Well
- 100 Words for Facial Expressions
- To Show and Not To Tell
- Words to Describe Facial Expressions
- Describing Clothes
- List of Actions
- Tone, Feelings and Emotions
- Writing Specific Characters
- Character Guides
- Writing Help for Writers
- Ultimate Writing Resource List
- Lots of RP Guides
- Online Writing Resources
- List of Websites to Help You Focus
- Resources for Writing Bio’s
- Helpful Links for Writing Help
- General Writing Resources
- Resources for Biography Writing
- Mental Ilnesses/Disorders Guides
- 8 Words You Should Avoid While Writing
- Body Language Cheat
- Body Language Reference Cheat
- Tips for Writers: Body Language
- Types of Crying
- Body Language: Mirroring
- Words Instead of Walk (2)
- Commonly Confused Adjectives
- A Guide on Punctuation
- Common Writing Mistakes
- 25 Synoms for ‘Expession’
- How to: Avoid Misusing Variations of Words
- Words to Keep Inside Your Pocket
- The 13 Trickiest Grammar Hang-Ups
- Other Ways to Say..
- 300+ Sophiscated and Underused Words
- List of Misused Words
- Words for Sex
- 100 Beautiful and Ugly Words
- Words to Use More Often
- Alternatives for ‘Smile’ or ‘Laugh’
- Three Self Editing Tips
- Words to Use Instead of ‘Walk’, ‘Said’, ‘Happy’ and ‘Sad’
- Synonyms for Common Words
- Alternatives for ‘Smile’
- Transitional Words
- The Many Faces and Meanings of ‘Said’
- Synonyms for ‘Wrote’
- A Case Of She Said, She Said
- How to: Cure Writer’s Block
- Some Tips on Writer’s Block
- Got Writer’s Block?
- 6 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block
- Tips for Dealing With Writer’s Block
- How to: Make That Application Your Bitch
- How to: Make Your App Better
- How to: Submit a Flawless Audition
- 10 Tips for Applying
- Para Sample Ideas
- 5 Tips on Writing an IC Para Sample
- Writing an IC Sample Without Escaping From the Bio
- How to: Create a Worthy IC Para Sample
- How to: Write an Impressive Para Sample
- How to: Lengthen Short Para’s
- Drabble Stuff
- Prompts List
- Writing Prompts
- Drabble Prompts
- How to Get Into Character
- Writing Challenges/Prompts
- A Study in Writing Prompts for RPs
- Para Prompts & Ideas
- Writing Prompts for Journal Entries
- A List of Para Starters
- Bad Asses
- Bitches (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
- Emotional Detachment
- The Girl Next Door
- Introverts (2)
- Mean Persons (2)
- Party Girls
- Rich (2)
- Serial Killers (2)
- Shyness (2, 3)
- Villains (2)
- Disorders in general (2, 3, 4, 5)
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Anxiety (2, 3, 4, 5)
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Alice In Wonderland Syndrome
- Bipolar Disorder (2, 3)
- Cotard Delusions
- Depression (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Eeating Disorders (2, 3)
- Facitious Disorders
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Multiple Personality Disorder (2)
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Night Terrors
- Kleptomania (2)
- A Pyromaniac
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (2)
- Sex Addiction (2)
- Schizophrenia (2)
- Sociopaths (2)
- Aspergers Syndrome
- Someone Blind (2)
- Cancer (2, 3)
- Muteness (2, 3)
- Ballet Dancer (2)
- Alcohol Influence (2, 3, 4, 5)
- Cocaine Influence
- Ecstasy Influence (2)
- Heroin Use
- LSD Influence
- Marijuana Influence (2, 3)
- Opiate Use
- California (2, 3)
- England/Britain (2, 3, 4, 5)
- New York
- The South (2)
- A Death Scene
- Loosing Someone (2)
- Old Persons
- Physical Injuries (2, 3)
- Sexual Abuse (2)
- Fight Scenes (2, 3, 4)
→ CREATING CHARACTERS
- Components of Your Biographies
- Character sheet (2, 3)
- Need Help With Character Creation?
- How to: Draw Inspiration for Characters From Music
- How to: Write a Biography (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
- How to: Write a Fully Developed Character
- How to: Create a Cast of Characters (2)
- Writing an Original Character (2, 3)
- Creating Believable Characters (2, 3)
- Bio Formats (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
- Little Things You Can Add To Your Bios
- Connections (2)
- Bio Twists
- Jung’s 16 Personality Types
- Underused Character Personalities
- Birth-Order: Personality Traits
- The Difference Between Personality and Behavior
- How to: Show a Characters Personality In a Paragraph
- 16 Character Traits
- Underused PersonalitiesPersonality TraitsHabits
- 300 Possible Secrets to Give Your Characters
- I Bet You Didn’t Know..
- Character Plots And Secrets (2)
- Celebrity Secrets
- Secret Masterlist
- Song Lyrics Masterlist
- Songs for Biographies
- Favorite Quotes: TV and Movies
- Favorite Quotes: Notable Authors
- Favorite Quotes: Celebrities
- Favorite Quotes: Popular Books (2)
- Quotes From Songs
- Character Quotes
- Masterlist of Bio Lyrics
- Masterlist of Bio Quotes
- Masterlist of Song Lyrics
- Biography Lyrics
- A Masterlist of Quotes
- +130 Quotes
- The Quotation Garden
→ WHILE ROLEPLAYING
- 100 Paragraph Titles
- Para Titles - Song Title Edition (2,3)
- A Whole Ton of Para Titles
- 350+ Song Titles
- Para Titles For You (2)
- How to: Create an interesting starter
- How to: Make an Interesting Starter
- Gif Conversations: A Guide
- A Brief Guide to Starters
- Interesting Gif Convesation Starters
- Starters Masterlist
- Gif Starter Posts
- 46 Interesting Gif Chat Starters
- Ideas for Gif Chat Starters
- Masterlist: Jobs
- Possible Careers for Characters
- Artistic Occupations
- Martha’s Vineyard Job Masterlist
- Interesting Jobs
- Para Ideas
- Masterlist: Para Ideas
- Top 50 Places for Starters
- Writing Topics: Para Ideas
- 101 Date Ideas
- 68 Date Ideas
- 22 Date Ideas
- Popular Places to Eat
- Character Development Questionaire
- Character Surveys
- C.D. Questionaire
- 30 Day Character Development Meme
- Character Development Questions (2)
- 100 Pt. Questionaire
- IC and OOC Surveys
- Online Test for Character Building
- 30 Days of Character Development
- How to: Develop Characters
- Get To Know Your Characters
Romance (in general)
- The Little Ways a Ship Gets Build
- Roleplaying Relationships
- 8 Ways to Say I Love You
- How to: Make a Set Ship RP Work
- How to: Write a Romantic Scene
- Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Relationships
- Putting a Label on It
- Synonyms for Love
- Pregnancy (2, 3, 4, 5)
- Smut Guide: Casual Sex
- Smut Guide: For Beginners
- How to: Write a First Time Sex Scene Romantically
- How to: Smut - The Bare Bones
- How to: Smut (For Virgins)
- How to: Write Lesbian Smut
- How to: Write Smut (2, 3)
- How to: Write a Blowjob/Prepping for Smut
- Smut Guides of Tumblr
- Tips on Writing Sex Scenes
- A Guide to Language in Smut
- Domination and Submission
- Making Love
- A Smut Guide
- How to: Create the Best Plot for Your RP
- How to: Create A Plot Outline in 8 Steps
- How to: Write A Plot in 12 Steps
- How to: Write A Quality Plot
- How to: Spice Up Your Roleplay Plots
- Components of Your Plot Page
- Writing Up A Plot
- Basics of Writing A Plot
- Links for Plot Writing Help
- Eight Unique Plot Ideas
- Plot Twists
- Situation Ideas (2, 3)
- Guide to Plotting
When creating a character, there’s a lot of questions you ask yourself. Whether it’s an original character or one you’ve been playing for a long time, using a character sheet to get to know your character better can always be a nice idea. With it’s help, you’ll be able…
auhoraatra asked: I'm writing a villain that's non-corporeal and wishes to rule the world by manipulating emotions of humans. Any advice on writing truly tyrant villains like these?
Here are some links to some really helpful articles:
Archetypal Awareness: The Tyrant Villain
How to Create a Credible Villain in Fiction
Three Dimensional Villains: Finding Your Character’s Shadow
25 Things You Should Know About Antagonists
How Do I Make My Villain 3 Dimensional?
Helpful Answer on an Ask at The Writers Helpers
twominutesmidnight asked you:
Please can give me any advice / resources on how to write from the perspective of a blind character?
People who go blind later in life will have different experiences than those who went blind earlier in life or those who were born blind. The former will have more difficulties and will have to train themselves to rely on their other senses while it comes more naturally for those who were born blind because they were forced from a young age to adapt.
- Blind Characters: A process of Awareness
- Mannerisms and Habits of a Blind Person
- 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Blind Characters (ebook, not free)
- Blind Perspective
- Space Without Eyes
- Blind Myths
- How to Write Disabled Characters
- How Not to Write Disabled Characters
- Creating Blind Characters in Fiction
- How to Play a Blind Character
- What Blind People Say About Blindness
- What It’s Like to be Blind