It’s that time of year again, Halloween, a time when scary stories are most welcome—even sought after. How do you figure out what might scare people? How about focusing on the things that scared you?
All of us have had things that frightened us when we were children, things like insects (spiders for me), darkness, imaginary creatures in closets or under beds. How about getting lost in a bad area and not being able to find your way home? Or perhaps the fear of heights or of flying? All of these fears can be the basis for a great Halloween story, since many of our childhood fears follow us into adulthood.
Can you recall a time when you were scared? Maybe when you were out running and a stray dog snarled and almost attacked you? How did it make you feel? Frightened, nervous—were you sick to your stomach, pulse increase, did you begin to sweat? All of these responses are the perfect way to involve the reader in your story and have them feel the same way.
Have you ever had a confrontation with someone who wanted to harm you? Perhaps you experienced the “fight or flight syndrome.” You may have been scared to death, but your fear helped you overcome the situation. An instance such as this can be the basis for an exciting frightful tale.
If you involve a likable character, one the reader can accept, and then involve him or her in a tension-filled situation that evolves slowly, you will have a killer story for Halloween. Make sure you leave some room for imagination. Sometimes things left unsaid are the scariest, for it leaves the reader to imagine the worst.