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In the light - horror writing prompt

Updated: May 5, 2023

They say that writing horror is one of the hardest genres because everyone's fears are different. In my opinion, as a writer this is the perfect opportunity to share your fears, to use your skill with words and make your reader feel them too. Today's prompt is drawing from that idea and allowing you to feel and share those fears with your reader. So, if you're wanting to experiment with writing horror, try this prompt to bring out your fears on paper (or screen).



Like I've said previously, writing prompts aren't designed to bring out the novel in you, they are just exercises to get you writing. However, who knows where they could lead...



In the light


That moment, when you wake up in the middle of the night. You hear a noise, or see a shadow and your mind goes straight to that place of fear. The only thing to ease this fear, is light.


Darkness brings out and exercises your imagination. When you see a shadow in the night, you turn on the light and it's your coat hanging on the back of your door, but what if it isn't?


What‘s your worst fear in that moment? What do you think it is, the second before you turn that light on?


The prompt


You wake up in the middle of the night.


Why? What makes you wake up, a sound? Light? A dream?


When you open your eyes, you jump up as you see/hear something.


Describe what you see or hear.


Let your mind wander... What is the worst thing it could be?


Tell us what your worst fear of the noise or shadow is.


Then rationalise... human intuition, what it this most likely going to be?


Tell us what it's probably going to be, a shadow of a lamp or a creak in the house.


Reach out and turn on the light...


Describe the action, how you're feeling in that moment, build the tension. Are you doing it quickly to get it over and done with, or slowly in fear?


What do you see?


Show me what's in front of you. What's your worst fear, the thing you were most scared of?


What happens next?


Please, I beg, do not end this prompt with 'and it was all just a dream...'



3 tips for writing horror


Sentence Structures - Simple sentences are your best friend and great for building tension in your writing.


Show don't tell - Description is everything, even the small details add to the environment you are building.


Choose your words carefully - Make sure you're using the right synonyms. There are so many ways to say scared and there can be a huge difference between the meaning of each one, for example jittery and petrified.



Why not try a Science Fiction prompt next?

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