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What makes a scary story scary?
I personally have read 2 scary stories my whole life, and one wasn't intended to be scary, it just came off that way because I was a child. So I have very little experience with this genre. Also is their a scary novel that is recent that I might be able to find in a bookstore? Thank you ahead of time :3
I_Write_Ivre's avatar

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Pikachu has Fainted
What makes a scary story scary?


Psychology. It's not the images or the dark or the killing that makes a story scary. It's the author convincing us why they terrify someone.
I_Write_Ivre
Pikachu has Fainted
What makes a scary story scary?


Psychology. It's not the images or the dark or the killing that makes a story scary. It's the author convincing us why they terrify someone.


Exactly! The Mist is far "scarier" to me than The Cabin in the Woods was because of just that.
Sir Icehawk
I_Write_Ivre
Pikachu has Fainted
What makes a scary story scary?


Psychology. It's not the images or the dark or the killing that makes a story scary. It's the author convincing us why they terrify someone.


Exactly! The Mist is far "scarier" to me than The Cabin in the Woods was because of just that.

Is the mist a movie or a book? :3 and also can you be more precise or give an example?
Pikachu has Fainted
Sir Icehawk
I_Write_Ivre
Pikachu has Fainted
What makes a scary story scary?


Psychology. It's not the images or the dark or the killing that makes a story scary. It's the author convincing us why they terrify someone.


Exactly! The Mist is far "scarier" to me than The Cabin in the Woods was because of just that.

Is the mist a movie or a book? :3 and also can you be more precise or give an example?


The first is a movie based off a novella by Stephen King. The other is a movie too. I'd suggest renting them. Well, rent The Mist. The Cabin is your basically: kids go out to woods. Monsters kill them. The Mist is complex.
I dont want a movie example, i want a book example :3, and no goosebumps book i mean real scary.
I know it's now what you want, but you can learn a lot by watching movies like The Mist, Breathing Room, The Cube, and such. They're about how humans react to stress. No, you won't see how it can be done in writing, but you can apply what you see to writing.

I would give a list of shorts and longer works that would help, but I don't have one. I'm not a horror reader. I can only suggest going on Amazon, heading to the horror section, sorting by rating, and start picking and reading reviews.

Since The Mist is based off the novella by Stephen King, it's worth a read. Would be good to compare it to the movie.

Now, all of this got away from what Ivre was talking about. Kind of jump to the psychological horror and less horror in general where the writer has to convince us that something is scary. The focus is less on what's out there and more on what's going on on the inside. How the characters deal with it and react to it builds the fear of the stuff outside or being locked in an endless series of cubes.
Going from your no Goosebumps request, I'd like to add to what the others have said by pointing out that some of what makes a scary story scary is in the audience reading it. I go back and laugh at the old Fear Street novels now, but as a kid there were a couple of those that had me afraid to open the next one.

It would also tend to depend on what kind of horror you like. If you're into blood and mayhem something quiet and suspenseful might not do it for you.
Symphony of Magic's avatar

Anxious Citizen

Well, horror is about scaring someone. This is done best when the writer makes us feel scared by using, well, psychology. As has been stated.

The Mist is a story; you should be able to find it somewhere, it's by Stephen King. I would also recommend a little Lovecraft, specifically The Shadow Over Innsmouth. If you are looking for horror books, I also recommend dropping by your local library and looking in the horror section. You should be able to pick up a few good books that way. My mind is a little blank on suggestions right now, unfortunately.
Sir Icehawk
I know it's now what you want, but you can learn a lot by watching movies like The Mist, Breathing Room, The Cube, and such. They're about how humans react to stress. No, you won't see how it can be done in writing, but you can apply what you see to writing.

I would give a list of shorts and longer works that would help, but I don't have one. I'm not a horror reader. I can only suggest going on Amazon, heading to the horror section, sorting by rating, and start picking and reading reviews.

Since The Mist is based off the novella by Stephen King, it's worth a read. Would be good to compare it to the movie.

Now, all of this got away from what Ivre was talking about. Kind of jump to the psychological horror and less horror in general where the writer has to convince us that something is scary. The focus is less on what's out there and more on what's going on on the inside. How the characters deal with it and react to it builds the fear of the stuff outside or being locked in an endless series of cubes.


I never really liked Stephen King, also The Mist wasn't scary at all, Cube 1 and 3 weren't scary either. I'm not sure if my taste have developed a bit but monsters, stalkers, blood and gore, killers don't seem all that scary, so I guess it would be harder to be scared from reading it.

I read a short story about someone walking on a ceiling, however I don't remember the name it was sorta scary I guess. On the cover of a book was a tree head thingy. I guess I'll try to find it again.
As others have stated, psychology is a main factor in horror. However, realism is a wonderful tool. If something seems as though it could actually happen or that could be happening right now at this very moment, it makes the fear that much more real.

When I read horror, I'm not scared by zombies, vampires, werewolves, or other things that go bump in the night. No, not scary in the slightest. It's not real. It can't happen. It won't happen. It's proven it won't happen by the lack of it occurring.

Scary things don't always happen at night, either. Yea, it was a dark and stormy night, but chances are someone isn't going to do something in the middle of a storm. Why? Most likely, the attack would be from the outside of a building. Someone would have to physically break into a house or place of residence. Guess what? Most people don't like being out during a storm. We're spoiled like that.

You know when scary things do tend to happen? During the summer. People are irritable, more likely to kill someone, to harm them, to rape them, or to kidnap them. Summer and winter holidays. Shop-lifting during the holiday season, domestic violence on the rise due to financial frustrations, killings, kidnappings, people being trampled on to death, car accidents (due to weather), stalkers (especially around Valentine's Day), and a number of other things. Those are not unheard of.

If you don't think that's scary, I don't know what to tell you. Yea, who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Probably not very many people, especially now that the big bad wolf is considered sexy. Human potential most certainly is the scariest of them all.

What's even scarier than that is a psychopath without motive. There isn't a reason why this person is running around killing people, but we'd like to think there is. S/he kills people because s/he likes killing people.

The ones who lack self-control are to be feared as well. Those without morals, human decency, the respect for those and their property, and those who know not right from wrong. Those are the people who will do what they wish without fear of consequence.

That's what I think makes a good horror.
Pikachu has Fainted
Sir Icehawk
I know it's now what you want, but you can learn a lot by watching movies like The Mist, Breathing Room, The Cube, and such. They're about how humans react to stress. No, you won't see how it can be done in writing, but you can apply what you see to writing.

I would give a list of shorts and longer works that would help, but I don't have one. I'm not a horror reader. I can only suggest going on Amazon, heading to the horror section, sorting by rating, and start picking and reading reviews.

Since The Mist is based off the novella by Stephen King, it's worth a read. Would be good to compare it to the movie.

Now, all of this got away from what Ivre was talking about. Kind of jump to the psychological horror and less horror in general where the writer has to convince us that something is scary. The focus is less on what's out there and more on what's going on on the inside. How the characters deal with it and react to it builds the fear of the stuff outside or being locked in an endless series of cubes.


I never really liked Stephen King, also The Mist wasn't scary at all, Cube 1 and 3 weren't scary either. I'm not sure if my taste have developed a bit but monsters, stalkers, blood and gore, killers don't seem all that scary, so I guess it would be harder to be scared from reading it.

I read a short story about someone walking on a ceiling, however I don't remember the name it was sorta scary I guess. On the cover of a book was a tree head thingy. I guess I'll try to find it again.
Try Psycho then, the original rather than the remake, it's one of my favorite horror movies because it plays human psychology to mess with you.
Tympest
Pikachu has Fainted
Sir Icehawk
I know it's now what you want, but you can learn a lot by watching movies like The Mist, Breathing Room, The Cube, and such. They're about how humans react to stress. No, you won't see how it can be done in writing, but you can apply what you see to writing.

I would give a list of shorts and longer works that would help, but I don't have one. I'm not a horror reader. I can only suggest going on Amazon, heading to the horror section, sorting by rating, and start picking and reading reviews.

Since The Mist is based off the novella by Stephen King, it's worth a read. Would be good to compare it to the movie.

Now, all of this got away from what Ivre was talking about. Kind of jump to the psychological horror and less horror in general where the writer has to convince us that something is scary. The focus is less on what's out there and more on what's going on on the inside. How the characters deal with it and react to it builds the fear of the stuff outside or being locked in an endless series of cubes.


I never really liked Stephen King, also The Mist wasn't scary at all, Cube 1 and 3 weren't scary either. I'm not sure if my taste have developed a bit but monsters, stalkers, blood and gore, killers don't seem all that scary, so I guess it would be harder to be scared from reading it.

I read a short story about someone walking on a ceiling, however I don't remember the name it was sorta scary I guess. On the cover of a book was a tree head thingy. I guess I'll try to find it again.
Try Psycho then, the original rather than the remake, it's one of my favorite horror movies because it plays human psychology to mess with you.


I read half of a review of "Psycho" and can say I will went the movie tonight :3
Pikachu has Fainted
Tympest
Pikachu has Fainted
Sir Icehawk
I know it's now what you want, but you can learn a lot by watching movies like The Mist, Breathing Room, The Cube, and such. They're about how humans react to stress. No, you won't see how it can be done in writing, but you can apply what you see to writing.

I would give a list of shorts and longer works that would help, but I don't have one. I'm not a horror reader. I can only suggest going on Amazon, heading to the horror section, sorting by rating, and start picking and reading reviews.

Since The Mist is based off the novella by Stephen King, it's worth a read. Would be good to compare it to the movie.

Now, all of this got away from what Ivre was talking about. Kind of jump to the psychological horror and less horror in general where the writer has to convince us that something is scary. The focus is less on what's out there and more on what's going on on the inside. How the characters deal with it and react to it builds the fear of the stuff outside or being locked in an endless series of cubes.


I never really liked Stephen King, also The Mist wasn't scary at all, Cube 1 and 3 weren't scary either. I'm not sure if my taste have developed a bit but monsters, stalkers, blood and gore, killers don't seem all that scary, so I guess it would be harder to be scared from reading it.

I read a short story about someone walking on a ceiling, however I don't remember the name it was sorta scary I guess. On the cover of a book was a tree head thingy. I guess I'll try to find it again.
Try Psycho then, the original rather than the remake, it's one of my favorite horror movies because it plays human psychology to mess with you.


I read half of a review of "Psycho" and can say I will went the movie tonight :3
Like I said, one of my favorites because Hitchcock is amazing at slow psychological horror.
Have you read or seen Pet Sematary? Man, the book had me up and awake for days. I read it during high school, but I'd seen the movie as a kid. The movie kept me scared for about eight years, but the book? I almost don't want to re-read it. Horrifying part is I found out Stephen King used real stuff in the book. Like the Pet Sematary? It actually existed! Where he lived! For a short time. I'm sure they moved after he wrote the book. *shivers* Geez, what really got me though is that for some reason, Pet Sematary 2 was way scarier and stuck more closely to the book than the first one. Ticked me off a little.

Oh, what Saffron was saying about realism. YES! YES! YES!

Example Time!!!

Ever played Limbo? It's a video game for XboX. At first it creeped me out and I had no idea why. I played it a year or two later and it still disturbed me, but I figured out why. The body of the kid you play (and other bodies and elements of the game) was so real! Moved (and not moved, and died on the game objects) like a real body. I mean, it flopped around and swung (if his head was caught on a spike and suspended in the air). It was just all over creepy because of the realism. I say try to aim for the realism. I don't get scared easy, so that will really creep people out.

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