Saturday, 26 March 2011

How to Write Horror article by Lily Childs


When I was first approached by Annie Evett, Managing Editor at the excellent online writers' resource 'Write Anything' to write an article on how to write horror, my initial reaction was How? I just do it!

But when I sat and properly contemplated the question I realised that actually, there are of course skills involved in presenting a story that thrills and disturbs in equal measure. But it's a case of balance between method and flow, and ultimately the final edit.

As Write Anything's audience is already made up of aspiring or established writers I decided to present the article as generic advise for writers of all ages and levels of experience who are considering trying their hand at the horror genre.

I peppered it with my own methodology but as someone who dislikes rules would hope readers might consider my advice, but write as themselves - with their own voice.

If you would like to read How to Write Horror by Lily Childs I would welcome your comments.

Thank you, Annie for the invitation to contribute.


  1. Enjoyed that, Lily. Left the following comment over there...

    "Great article, Lily. Well written and well set out.

    When I first started writing, Horror was my thing as I read a lot of James Herbert and Shaun Hutson. I enjoy different aspects of writing and different genres but after reading this I can feel a horror story coming on. Thanks!"

    (Did you get my email?)

  2. Wow - cheers already guys!

    I'll check my other PC for your email David. Must alter my server settings...

  3. I really enjoyed that article, Lily. Some fantastic advice. I especially like the bit about getting it all out first, then tuning it to your audience or market.

  4. Absolutely horror is atmosphere and POV. Excellent points from one who knows her horror well!

  5. good basic advice there, Lily, hope lots of wannabe horror writers take note ... everything depends on wrapping the horror around a story. Nothing else will do.

  6. Great writing Lily, and great advice.

    You definitely know of which you speak. And the greatest piece of wisdom in the piece is that bit at the end that reminded me of Hamlet... to thy own self be true. That is one thing that definitely shows in your writing.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Your article is as readable as your horror. In fact I felt the horror oozing from the page.

    Thanks for the advice!


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.