The horror of writing horror

A manic few weeks including the flu and wedding dress shopping (so much fun!) has meant that this post is coming at you later than planned, but here it is! Today I am going to be talking about how much harder it was than I thought it would be to start writing a horror story.

So in an endeavor to make some actual factual money from this writing lark I’ve been focusing on writing short stories to submit to magazines. Fear not loyal followers, my novel has not been left discarded! I go on holiday in 2 weeks and that will be my sole writing focus while I’m away! But until then I’m working on these submit-able monkeys! So, as I was saying, I’ve been looking to sell some short stories. I found a magazine that accepts fantasy and horror stories and thought “fantastic!” I’ve already got the first 3,500 words of a scary short written, I’ll whack the end of that one out and bish bash bosh; money in the bank! Oh how wrong I was…

Re-reading those first 3000ish words I realised how different writing a horror story was to writing my casual fantasy novel. Reading it again 3 months after having written it I realised how stilted the writing was, how over descriptive the language was and worst of all how NOT at all scary in the slightest it was. In a nutshell, it was shit. So naturally I had a minor strop, planned to scrap it and wanted to start writing a whole new story. But after a long chat with Chris who convinced me it was salvageable I endeavored to fix it! I plotted the story out more and worked out a structure that would really keep the suspense going where the previous structure had failed. And now, 1,500 words into the re-work it has definite legs!

I think this has been the first time I’ve really seen the proper hard work that needs to go into certain stories. My current novel is written in a far more relaxed style and that works perfectly for it so I guess I just kind of assumed that would be the case for everything I wrote. But that isn’t always going to be the case and I very much felt that the story not being good was a failure on my part rather than realising writing is just bound to be harder in different genres and styles. So stress not dear reader! If you feel like you’re bad at writing perhaps you’re just trying to write the wrong thing?! Find your niche to build up some confidence and then just work harder and put the effort in in the areas that you do struggle with. It might not always work but it should definitely get better 🙂


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