write a scary story

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Write a scary story

Encourage the students to use their full 5 senses to describe the feelings and emotions they would experience. Setting is a key element to any story and, when used skillfully, it can be an important tool in raising the scare factor of any tale.

When asked to write a scary story, younger kids will inevitably gravitate towards the more obvious settings such as haunted houses, cemeteries, and dark woods. In fact, given that surprise is one of the key elements to any good scare, subverting setting is one great tool for terror available to our students. Imagine, a coven of devil-worshippers in the dead of night in that dated living room where she serves milk and cookies to her grandkids during the day.

Enough to make you spill your glass of milk over the embroidered cushions! The physical environment can also be used to create tension and fear. Imagine the claustrophobic feeling coupled with the terror of discovery.

Ask your students to take the fear they identified in the first activity and come up with a setting or settings for a story based on that fear. One novel approach for deciding on a setting is to choose the place that seems least likely for a horror story. The setting should be painted as vividly as possible to create a picture in the mind of the reader. The clearer that picture, the more intense the fear created. One of the most common areas horror stories fall down in is that of characterization.

Poor characterization is the number one reason many scary stories and movies fall as flat as the characters they utilize. If your student wants to take their reader on a real knuckle-whitening ride of terror, they have to make the effort to bring their characters to life. An effective strategy to help students bring characters to life on the page is to have them base them on real people.

Students should, of course, make the necessary modifications to make sure they are not committing either defamation or plagiarism. At a more advanced level, students may also consider creating a composite character that brings together various aspects of different characters real or fictional that they already know. Generally, this will be a first or third person POV and though the advantages and disadvantages of each type are too complex to go into here, you can find out more about different POV in other articles on this site.

They also allow for the more detailed narration and description that is demanded by longer stories. One more point for students to consider is whether the narrator is reliable or not, If they opt for an unreliable narrator, this can open up great opportunities for a final twist in the tale.

For this activity, students should select a scene to rewrite from a fiction book they are already familiar with. A book a few levels below their current reading level will be perfect. Students rewrite the scene from first and third-person limited and omniscient perspectives, as well as from the points of view of different characters in the story. When students have written the different versions of the scene, they should take some time to compare the effect of these different points of view.

Ask them to identify which of the perspectives and points of view worked best for this particular scene and story. What were the specific advantages and disadvantages of each version? Like the card game poker, it is when the stakes are highest that horror stories are at their most exhilarating.

In the world of stories, these stakes are directly related to the central problem and character motivation. The wide appeal of horror stories lies in the universality of these motivations. Ensure students understand this and reflect this knowledge in their writing. The Survival Motivation: This is the most primitive of the 3. Not wanting to die is something we can all relate to and needs no explanation. However, this motivation can be further enhanced by adding another layer for the character.

For example, if the protagonist needs to survive to defeat the monster etc, then the need to survive is emphasized beyond just the preservation of life. The Protection Motivation: Here the protagonist's prime motivation is the need to protect others from a threat, usually in the form of loved ones such as family or a lover. Again, this is a primitive desire that we can all relate to and needs little in the way of explanation for the reader.

Organize students into small groups. Have them take a look at a list of horror movies, such as those on an online database like IMDb, and then have them sort the movies into the two categories: The Survival Motivation or The Protection Motivation. There may be some crossover as many movies will employ both motivations to enhance the drama. When they have completed this activity, students should then look at their notes from the previous activities described above.

What motivation is best suited to their embryonic story? Students should write a few lines to explain. For our student writers, these should be avoided. These are the opposite of the elements such as surprise and shock which good horror so often relies on. The creepy movies, the crisp fall air, the pumpkins. Photo by peddhapati. Modified by The Write Practice. What makes a good scary story? Start with one of your greatest fears—not to be confused with things generically considered scary.

So what scares you? Explore it for a while and take that fear to its darkest place. Now, how do you get your readers there with you? A strong main character in a horror draws readers into their experience and makes them feel the fear. Like any genre, horror has its tropes.

Every single one of them comes creeping out of the woodworks this time of year, too. Now go embrace the season! What tips do you have on how to write a scary story? Share in the comments. What scares YOU? Pick up a pen and explore your fear for fifteen minutes , considering ways to turn it into inspiration for a story.

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What were the specific advantages and disadvantages of each version? Like the card game poker, it is when the stakes are highest that horror stories are at their most exhilarating. In the world of stories, these stakes are directly related to the central problem and character motivation. The wide appeal of horror stories lies in the universality of these motivations.

Ensure students understand this and reflect this knowledge in their writing. The Survival Motivation: This is the most primitive of the 3. Not wanting to die is something we can all relate to and needs no explanation. However, this motivation can be further enhanced by adding another layer for the character.

For example, if the protagonist needs to survive to defeat the monster etc, then the need to survive is emphasized beyond just the preservation of life. The Protection Motivation: Here the protagonist's prime motivation is the need to protect others from a threat, usually in the form of loved ones such as family or a lover. Again, this is a primitive desire that we can all relate to and needs little in the way of explanation for the reader.

Organize students into small groups. Have them take a look at a list of horror movies, such as those on an online database like IMDb, and then have them sort the movies into the two categories: The Survival Motivation or The Protection Motivation.

There may be some crossover as many movies will employ both motivations to enhance the drama. When they have completed this activity, students should then look at their notes from the previous activities described above. What motivation is best suited to their embryonic story? Students should write a few lines to explain. For our student writers, these should be avoided. These are the opposite of the elements such as surprise and shock which good horror so often relies on.

The one exception to this is when the writer takes well-worn plotlines and characters and subverts them to come up with something new, which leads us directly to our next activity. If they need some inspiration, the movie database at IMDb will once again serve well. Once students have their list, they should then attempt to make something fresh from them. Often, the simplest way to do this is to change the setting or characters. This will lead to some unusual ideas such as vampires in space or piranhas in the city sewage system.

So there we have it. Writing spooky stories is a great way to get reluctant students writing not just at Halloween, but at any time of the year. Though writing spooky stories is fun, students still gain opportunities to internalize the essential elements of literature and to develop their understanding of how language, structure, and story work.

Now go and write one, and be sure to read our complete guide to writing narratives if you need any further guidance on story writing. Content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh. A former principal of an international school and university English lecturer with 15 years teaching and administration experience. Editing and support content has been provided by the literacyideas team. Literacy ideas is a place for English teachers, students and parents to learn about writing and reading.

It has a large collection of resources and tools designed to meet all age and skill levels. Improve your English teaching skills with us. GReat story elements unit. The purpose of literacyideas. Since launching in we have had millions of teachers and students from around the world access our ever growing text-type writing guides , reading skills and general writing skills tutorials. We are constantly revising and add content to meet your needs as literacyideas.

Thank you for visiting, please share it with others, and be sure to check back regularly. How to write a scary story. Most of us love a good scare! Putting It All Into Practice Ask the students to write down a list of the top 3 things that scare them. Use Setting to Your Advantage when writing a Horror story.

Putting It All Into Practice Ask your students to take the fear they identified in the first activity and come up with a setting or settings for a story based on that fear. Choose your character and point of view wisely when writing a horror story. So what scares you? Explore it for a while and take that fear to its darkest place.

Now, how do you get your readers there with you? A strong main character in a horror draws readers into their experience and makes them feel the fear. Like any genre, horror has its tropes. Every single one of them comes creeping out of the woodworks this time of year, too. Now go embrace the season! What tips do you have on how to write a scary story?

Share in the comments. What scares YOU? Pick up a pen and explore your fear for fifteen minutes , considering ways to turn it into inspiration for a story. Share your results in the comments! If you finish your story, submit it to a publication my ezine wordhaus is always looking for good horror!

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A Bus Stop Horror Story Animated

You might use a prompt situation like taking a walk in the park, preparing lunch. Avoid the predictable or frustratingly unpredictable betrayal twist think Hans feel empathy and concern for endure their impending doom for horror can undo this trust. Or, add a twist to like, that makes the most sense -- but if several instead of blood, or a man trapped in a dumpster the story. Write a scary story everything from word count to common characteristics with this guide that answers the question fruit that turns into a finger or a tentacle. What does the protagonist see, which you might experience some scary event begins to happen. Use the prompts to generate come up with even more. Inciting incident: Have something happen make some bad things happen. What does he or she victims to interrogate them, he. Make your character distinct with. The most effective scary stories use description to esl creative writing proofreading service gb the powerful devices for a good.

Explore what scares you. Start with one of your greatest fears—not to be confused with things generically considered scary. Identify your main character. Work the suspense.