At its heart, horror fiction reminds us that cause and effect is real, even in the fantastical realm of storytelling.
But in between the blaze and the flood it lit the middle of his room, and standing there – shaking the rain off his hat – was a stranger. He was no more than six inches taller than Harvey, his frame scrawny, his skin distinctly yellowish in colour. Barker also creates an ominous tone through indirect means.
He was wearing a fancy suit, a pair of spectacles and a lavish smile.’The scene is suffused with a sense of the unsettling. ‘He looked harmless enough’ draws our attention to the possibility the man could in fact be harm.
Actively learning from great authors will improve your mastery of the horror genre.
When you write a horror novel, it shouldn’t read as though a malevolent force is sitting at a bus stop, waiting to infiltrate your unsuspecting characters’ world ‘just because’.
The wind had started his lamp moving, and when he turned back the whole room seemed to be swinging around.
One moment the fight was blazing in his eyes, the next it was flooding the opposite wall. A peculiar character seems to materialize out of nowhere.
If there’s a malevolent force, being or stranger in your horror novel, make their motivation similar in magnitude to the character’s actions.
Readers will scoff if a creepy doll goes on a murderous rampage in your novel simply because somebody took its batteries out.
Great tone and mood can have readers’ spines tingling before a single character has even spoken or made a terrible decision.
How you describe settings, character movement and actions creates an overarching tone.