Horror-FAIL Friday: How NOT to Write Horror PART Deux

How NOT to Write Horror Part Deux

My mascara is running!

Just a couple weeks ago, I introduced you folks to a “How to Write Horror” Wiki that had some rather generalized ideas about writing the genre. Most tried to make it sound as easy as riding a bike. On top of the “you just need to do this, this, and this” trope, it was clearly written by someone with a misguided sense of writing in general. Need I remind you of the “don’t forget the details” line…

This week, continuing with our instructional foray into the world of horror writing, I stumbled across this Instructables page about how to write horror. This one blows the other one out of the water. Not only are the ideas cliched, there are places where the writer either forgot which word to use or used spell-check and didn’t re-read their stunning how-to masterpiece. Case in point: a line that says “…a person despaired and appeared again…” So, the person went into a massive sob-fest causing them to go invisible, and then they reappeared, good as new?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here are this author’s ideas about how to write horror:

1.) “Make a list of scary things that scares you.” That sentence makes me cringe. The rest of the paragraph does, too.

2.) The age old setting debacle. Here’s their tip: ” it is more scary if there is just one place in your story because you can make things up.” WHAT? You mean if you go to numerous places in your book, you can’t make stuff up? Who made that rule?

3.) The author can’t make up their mind whether they’re talking about the past of the character or the setting in this. Basically, he/she states it needs to have a past. Well…job well done there, old sport. I never thought someone or someplace might need a history! I’VE LEARNED SO MUCH ALREADY!

4.) Again…with the details. “It’s time to detail everything.” Okie dokie. Just bring those cars in here, grab some paint, and we’ll start detailing!

5.) …Oh. It just gets worse and worse. “Often the protagonists are loners because the[y] are alone.” Wow. Brilliant observation. And no, your protagonist does not need to be a loner.

6.) Plan your story. This is the step with the least number of spelling and sentence structure issues so far.

7.) “The first thing you must have is a first sentence” so you can “creat” your story. Good God.

8.) I’m pretty sure the person who wrote this doesn’t understand what “exposition” means. I can’t…even… Just… What?

9.) What is with this “Don’t use TOO MUCH mystery” shit? Why is that the absolute WORST crime you can commit in the process of writing a story? Don’t forget to “add enough details and extra description” while writing to ensure that your novel is purple-prosed to death. But, for the love of all that is holy, GO EASY ON THE MYSTERY!

There are steps 10 and 11. I’m not even going to go there. It’s all too laughable.

“You are finish”





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