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5 Things to Consider If You’re Writing a Horror Novel For The First Time

Want to Write A Horror Novel?

Whether you’re a seasoned author or a novice writer just starting, a horror novel can be a thrilling, engaging, and imaginative project. In this blog post, we will discuss the things to consider if you are writing a horror novel for the first time.

From character development, setting, and plot to the use of suspense, horror tropes, and imagery, we will go through the elements that can help you create a compelling and engaging horror novel.

So, let’s dive in and explore the different things you’ll need to consider as you embark on your journey to writing a horror novel.

1) Develop Your Concept

When writing a horror novel for the first time, you must believe that a good horror novel is all about the scares.

And to create a spine-tingling story, you must develop a truly terrifying concept which will compel the readers to keep turning the pages and say, “I’ve never read anything like this before!”

Plan out the plot, characters, settings, and other elements of the story before you begin writing. Take some time to brainstorm ideas and jot down notes about each one.

Think about how to combine various elements to create an influential horror novel. Consider where the story will take place, who the main characters are, what kinds of conflicts they might face, and how their journey will end.

Once the concept is developed, you can start creating a draft of your horror novel for further writing.

Palmetto publishing can help you transform your manuscript into a customisable book that can be enjoyed and shared across many platforms.

Pro Tip: Make sure to pay attention to detail while writing and developing the concept. This will bring your story alive in readers’ eyes.

2) Write Effective Horror Scenes

An effective horror scene should make readers feel a sense of dread and fear and keep them engaged. Therefore, to do this, you need to use tonal language that conveys the scene’s emotion and creates an atmosphere of suspense and terror.

You need to highlight the details about how much light there is in a particular scene area, what kind of noises or music can be heard, and how people react.

You may also use foreshadowing – hinting at something that will occur later in the story – as this can help build suspense and increase tension.

Using descriptive language that evokes a sense of dread is the best that you can put in writing a horror scene.

However, remember that less is often more. Thus, keep your scenes concise, so readers are left with an intense fear without being overwhelmed by too much detail or description.

You may write a draft at first in case you need to make additional changes later. By doing so, you’ll be able to create compelling horror scenes that most impact readers’ emotions.

Pro Tip: Keep your horror storyline concise. Use your choice of words carefully to have the maximum impact on your readers.

3) Introduce Characters Tactically

Here are some tips for introducing characters tactically while you are writing a horror novel for the first time.

i) Establish Their Roles Early On

Make sure each character has a clear purpose in the story. Doing so will help the reader understand why each character is present and how they fit into the narrative structure.

ii) Reveal Characters Slowly

Don’t give away too much information about any one character too early on in your story. Instead, slowly reveal your characters’ motivations, backstories, and other details as your plot progress.

iii) Use Tonality To Persuade

How you write about your characters should be persuasive and draw readers into their stories.

You can use tonality to create suspense or evoke fear and dread in the reader to make them even more invested in what’s happening between your characters and what might happen next.

iv) Focus On Character Relationships

One of the best ways to introduce multiple characters quickly is by highlighting their relationships—how they interact, how they feel about each other, etc.

v) Create Contrast With Antagonists

Make sure your antagonists have qualities that contrast those of the protagonists or other prominent characters to highlight their differences more clearly and create more tension throughout your story arc.

Pro Tip: Build up the character characteristics in your book gradually and with relevancy to pique readers’ curiosity in learning more about them.

4) Edit Your Novel

A thorough edit involves checking for proper grammar and punctuation, ensuring the story is cohesive and addressing all plot points.

In addition to these basics, as a horror writer, you must consider the stories’ tone, pacing, and structure. Your novels should have suspenseful scenes to keep the reader in constant anticipation.

Finally, have a well-organised story structure with a clear beginning, middle, and end for fine furnishing.

Pro Tip: In short, editing is essential for crafting a well-written and effective horror novel that will keep readers hooked from beginning to end.

5) Publish and Promote Your Book

Once the novel is ready to be published, you should take the time to explore its publishing options, such as traditional print publishing, e-book publishing, or self-publishing.

After that, promoting the work through an online presence, such as on social media channels or by attending readings, book signings, and other events, is crucial to increase the total sale of your book.

You may also reach out to prominent book reviewers and other authors to help spread the word about the novel to potential readers.

Pro Tip: Publishing and promoting a horror novel is essential for reaching the intended audience, building an author platform, generating buzz, increasing visibility, and encouraging word-of-mouth. Without promotion, even the best horror novel can go unnoticed. MORE: 10 Common Book Marketing Mistakes Writers Make 


Writing a horror novel for the first time is quite a challenge. But with the proper techniques and a comprehensive understanding of the genre, you’ll be able to craft an engaging and suspenseful work of fiction.

Research the genre and its conventions, create a detailed plot map and build believable characters and settings. Applying these tips and tricks will allow you to create an effective horror novel that will leave readers with a lasting impression.

Good Luck!

BIO: Gary Ekhert is obsessed with dogs, tech, and FPS games. Coffee addict, and during his spare time he binge-watches old shows on Netflix or enjoys a good book. A true believer of the saying “words have the power to change the world” and lives life embracing the present.

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