Posted in Writing, Writing Inspiration

Genre Fiction Friday: Brainstorming Ideas For Horror Stories


Sometimes the hardest part is knowing where and when to start. That is where I am stuck right now. Since I’ve been focusing so much of my time on non-fiction (i.e. work), I’ve found it difficult to dive back into fiction. It has also been difficult to schedule time for fiction in between work and personal goals. However, starting now I’m going to be making time. I’m going to be scheduling (at least) one hour a day to fiction. But I digress…

Everyone in WFPS writes for different genres: Devon is mostly sci-fi (with a dash of romance), Jacob works in fantasy, Katy works with folklore and literary fiction, Guy dabbles with Lovecraftian themes, etc.

My genre of choice is thriller/horror. In my opinion, horror and comedy are both extremely difficult genres because there are few universal scary or funny things. While some things may be funny to some, they are not to others. The same goes with horror. As a horror writer, I want to be able to poke at your animalistic need and drive for survival.


While brainstorming this afternoon, my goals will be to try an hit as many of these as possible (while trying to create a “realistic” story and a frightening atmosphere):

  • the fear of the UNKNOWN
  • the fear of the UNEXPECTED
  • play on the UNNATURAL
  • give the reader a feeling of HELPLESSNESS
  • give the reader a sense of URGENCY and INTENSITY
  • poke at your UNCONSCIOUS and PRIMAL FEARS

If you want to break it down even more, it all boils down to:

  • Subversion – when the value system or principles of a society is contradicted or reversed
  • Admonition – a warning or cautionary device
  • The Fear of the Unknown – as in the dark, the future, or the depths of the human mind

That last one is my favorite. Is that creepy? Okay, let me move on…

In order to find your own twist on ideas that will fall into one of these categories you can try one of these methods:

  • Trap your character(s) in something
  • Curse your character(s)
  • Throw in a monster (after you make the audience sympathetic to and fall in love with your protagonist — though that is not necessarily mandatory, just make the audience feel something toward your protagonist)
  • Grab something from the headlines and twist that idea into your own story
  • Transform your character(s) into something else.
  • Tweak the environment

Since I like to focus on the human psyche (often times we are the scariest things on earth — just ask Dean from Supernatural) so I’ll probably do a bit of transformation and trapping.

Hopefully this has helped you some. If I’ve missed anything or if you would like to share your ideas on the topic of brainstorming in the horror genre, make sure to comment below or send me an e-mail at

Love, Joy



I'm Jocelyn DeVore - writer, reader, student for life, daughter, friend, artist, nerd, movie lover, avid coffee drinker, obsessive reader, and girl.

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