Hello there, my dear minions. Today, Uncle Hel will give you several pieces of writing advice on how to make the most out of fear factor in your creepypastas.
Before we begin, I just want to clarify that what I am about to say here is largely subjective: it only covers my knowledge and preferences. Even so, it is very versatile, and will serve you fine in most situations.
- Stephen King defined three different kinds of horror. They are:
- Gross-out: this type of horror plays on the disgust. Things such as dismemberment, disembowelment, gore, biological horrors (such as boils, cancers, rot and decay). In short this is a horror that is based around the flesh. Some of the best examples of Gross-out horror include: Dogscape; Chimerical; It Breathes, It Bleeds, It Breeds; and the first Silent Hill film.
- Horror: this is the classics. The danger is there, and it is purely visible. This goes very well with cryptids, beings, monsters and generally things that are alive and want to eat you.
- Terror: my personal favourite out of the three. It plays on the danger of the unknown and unseen. I personally like to call it “Cold Fear” and as you delve into the genre, you may soon see why. It’s the hand that caresses you in the dark, the sound that you may or may not have heard, the ghostly visage in the corner of your eye, eerie silence… Examples of this genre include: The Woman in the Snow and Shell Shock.
- As basic as this advice may be: think of what scares you. Write down your fears, with every single last bit of soul you have. It works surprisingly well.
- Don’t hesitate to dwell in extremes: while some things (such as graphical animal cruelty) are off the menu because FANDOM says so, there are ample subjects that would leave your average Average Joe a mess. Some of the most renowned stories on this wiki (The Gym Teacher, in example) are NSFW, and if you can use it as more than a simple shock tactic, you can increase the creepy in your piece by a lot.
- Precipitation can be incredibly useful. How to make that forest creepier? Make it snow. How to make that night seem even more larger than you? Make it rain. Add hail for the full frontal massacre. Blood rain is a classic. There are many possibilities.
- Ambiguity can work to your advantage if you know how to use it properly.
- As Lovecraft said, the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. A wendigo going after you to eat your pancreas is scary, sure. But what’s even more scary? When you don’t know its intentions. When you aren’t sure if it’s really going to kill you or if it’s just toying with you. The uncertainty can kill. Literally.
- Isolate your protagonist. Since the dawn of their existence, humans have huddled together because numbers gave them strength and a sense of security. And even today, that remains hardcoded in our minds. It is because of this that solitude can be maddening. When you know that there is nobody to help you, nobody to save you. Only your inevitable doom.
- Utilize music. Some of the better pastas on this site have their origin in songs. Listen to it, let it fill you and inspire you. To advanced writers, any music is good (they can make something from nothing), but beginners that decide to take this road should try Doom Metal.
- The kick at the end is scary. But do you know what’s scarier still? No end at all. Ever. Stories that are in the end revealed as infinite loops or something that never ends have hellish potential, and I pick the word “hellish” for a reason: it removes all sense of hope and salvation, and leaves the victim to forever drown in their own despair. Examples include Banshee's Cry and Devilman Crybaby.
- Unless the story in itself is an experience in itself, happy endings should be avoided at all costs.
- Stories containing deities are a whole other scale. Fearing vampires is reasonable because they can kill and eat you. But fearing gods is different: they could stomp you into the ground without even noticing they did so. And such vast and (to us puny mortals) incomprehensible power can evoke a whole new kind of fear. That fear you experience when you know you cannot possibly escape.
- Make your reader hate you. Create a character who is impossible not to love, and then throw them into the pit with wolves. But then, offer them an exit. Only to take it away. Then, enjoy your own evil and moral filth as you bathe in the tears of your readers while listening to their screams of despair from your antique gramophone.
- Set the tone of the story as light, only to give it an incredibly dark twist soon after.
And that covers about everything I was going to say. I may update this blog in the future. Or not. It all depends...
Anyhow, I hope that this little guide was of help to you. Happy writing, and keep 'em comming for as long as it's possible.