Giving your readers the chills is a tough thing to do. There's only one Stephen King. As for the rest of us, we have to use all the tricks at our disposal.
- It's in the details. Don't over do it with lavish descriptions of dusty cobwebs, the wind blowing the drapes, and something lurking in the shadows. Drop a chilly detail here and there. Something that might be normal but isn't quite. Something that will make the reader wonder. A writer's best tool in creating a spooky scene is the reader's imagination. The reader will always imagine something horrible and help to give themselves goosebumps.
- Part of the creepiness of a story is in creating suspense and tension. You want the reader on the edge of their seat. An effective way of doing this is through the characters' reactions. Don't let your text be filled with too much thinking. Describe what they're seeing, hearing, smelling. Use all the senses. Write their physical reactions. Spooky stories are about showing rather than telling.
- Even with paranormal tales where things are out of the ordinary, try to keep things as realistic as possible. What scares people the most is if they start thinking something like that is possible. Hit on the things that frighten people the most and use them to help build up the tension.
What tricks do you use for creating a spooky atmosphere in your stories?
(Note: I've been a little busy lately. So these tips are reposted from a post I did in 2011. I've been doing Wicked Wednesdays that long? Wow.)
Click on over to the spooky Untethered Realms and find yourself an enchanted drink. We have the recipes! Even one from Jezebel.