The Writer’s Digest Guide on How to Write a Horror Story
Is your goal to be the next Stephen King (or, at least, create stories and sell them at his level)? That's why we're here to help. Welcome to the Writer’s Digest guide to writing horror stories. With sections built to help you achieve your writing goals—whether it's writing your first draft, improving your craft, or learning how to publish a book—Writer's Digest provides tips and advice for writers of all levels.
Writer’s Digest has a wealth of resources to offer and has been helping aspiring writers for more than 90 years. The best books on writing fiction and information on writing horror fiction can be found on our site. Have an idea for a story but haven't started it yet? Let us teach you how to start writing a book and achieve your goal of writing a manuscript.
Before you jump in, you must first decide whether you are writing horror fiction or writing fantasy (or possibly another genre). You can do this by creating a logline or the blurb that goes on the back of your book. This will help give you a basic focus on what your story is about. From there, you can outline, summarize or just start writing. If you still aren't sure which method is for you and you are wondering how to start writing, look to Writer’s Digest’s amazing writing workshops and writing tutorials to help better your skills at writing a horror novel.
Don't send your manuscript out into the wild of literary agencies without a professional edit and critique first. Writer's Digest 2nd Draft offers a professional writing critique service that provides a high-level review of your work, pointing out reasons your manuscript may be get rejected (or may be getting rejected, if you've already been sending it out). Receive an overall evaluation of your manuscript's strengths and weaknesses, a solid proofread or get help with how to write a query letter. We will give you what you need to find success.
Getting an Agent
Writing a manuscript is only the first step for you to get published. You also need to find a literary agent and a publisher. But where do you start your search? That's where Writer's Market and the Guide to Literary Agents comes in. Both are the go-to resources for learning how to get published. Between the two you'll have access to more than 8,000 listings of book publishers and literary agents. You'll also be able to track all of your submissions online, find freelance opportunities and more.
Finally, enter one of the Writer’s Digest writing contests and find out how your writing stacks up against other writers' works. There are competitions for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, scriptwriting and more. And oh yeah, there's plenty for horror writing too, such as Writer’s Digest Annual Genre Fiction Competition where you can enter your short horror stories into the Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition and our Popular Fiction Awards which includes a horror writing contest.