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Writing a scary story

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Nicole Mountjoy

on 5 February 2015

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Transcript of Writing a scary story

Writing a scary story
Think about how your favourite writers write beginnings, middles and endings. Think about how they describe places and characters, and about how they have chosen words that suit a particular story.
The first thing to remember is that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. A story has to be in the right order or your readers won't understand it.

You should use adjectives (words that describe nouns) and adverbs (words that describe verbs) to keep your readers interested.

For example, choose dark, scary adjectives and adverbs to create a dark, scary atmosphere (feeling).

You can also choose whether your story will have lots of characters, dialogue (people talking) and action, or long, slow descriptive pieces of writing - or all of those things!

The setting is the place and time your story is 'set'. Letting your readers know where and when your story is set will help bring the story to life. If the setting is somewhere your readers aren't familiar with then make sure you describe it in detail.
List your characters and make a note of what they're like:

What do they look like?
What do they sound like?
What sort of a person are they?

Make sure you describe them to your reader and that you give them dialogue (things to say) that suits the sort of person they are.
The beginning of a story is where you introduce your readers to your style, setting and characters. Often a writer will give his characters a problem to solve. This keeps the reader interested, as they'll want to find out what happens.
In the middle you develop your story. The reader begins to ask more questions and starts to learn what will happen to the characters.
In the end you tell readers exactly what happens to the characters and how they solved the problems you gave them at the start.
However, with a ghost story, perhaps we could leave the reader guessing in order to create a sense of mystery?
A technique the writer uses to make the reader feel
desperate to know what happens next
So, how do we create suspense?
use short sentences to build up tension
use ellipsis (...) to create the "What happens next?" moment
use similes and metaphors to describe
is there something hidden in the darkness? Can you keep the reader guessing about what is there?
use powerful verbs like crept, whispered, raced...
The boy was as quiet as a mouse as he crept up the dusty, rickety staircase. He had reached the attic. He paused. His heart raced. His hands shook. Sweat poured. He could feel a pair of eyes watching him from the far corner of the empty room...
Dark Forest
Abandoned building
Ghost Story
The opening
Build up
Two boys are out playing when they get caught in a heavy rainstorm. They decide to shelter in a nearby abandoned house.
When they enter they hear strange scratching coming from upstairs. Anxiously, they slowly climb the old staircase.
They decide to explore the house and enter a dusty room with an old portrait on the wall. They hear a loud screech and the door bangs shut, trapping them inside the room.
...you decide!
The Opening
A story can begin in 3 different ways.
1. with dialogue
2. with action
3. with description
"Help!" cried Mick.
"Is that a lifeboat in the distance?" yelled James.
"I can't see in this storm," replied Mick. "Keep on shouting and wave your red scarf."
"Help! HELP!"
Mick clung to the edge of the boat which lurched from side to side with each violent wave. James groaned softly next to him. Suddenly, he spotted a speck on the horizon and shielded his eyes from the lashing rain to see more clearly. A boat!
The once calm, crystal-clear ocean was now murky and waves as big as skyscrapers surrounded the tiny sailing boat. They picked it up like a rag doll and flung it down again whilst the rain lashed down.
Can you sort these openings into the three categories?
• Eye Colour
• Hair Colour
• Skin Colour
• Height
• Weight
• What they might wear

Special Features

Does your character have any special features?
For example they might have scars or spots. Where are these special features?


What does your character like?
This could include the food they like to eat, places they like to go, games they like to play, animals they like, and much more. Try to think up lots of activities your character would like.


What does your character dislike?
This could include the food they do
not like to eat, places they do not like
to go, games they do not like to play,
animals they do not like, and much more.
Try to think up lots of activities your character would dislike


What does your character dislike?
This could include the food they do
not like to eat, places they do not like
to go, games they do not like to play,
animals they do not like, and much more.
Try to think up lots of activities your character would dislike

Who is in your character's family?
Do they have any brothers or sisters?
Who do they live with?
Do they live alone?

Tom is a lovely, kind and funny boy who loves his sister very much and would always protect her.
The creature was massive. It had black fur and yellow teeth and horrible green eyes that glared at you.
Eddy had long brown hair and brown eyes. He wore glasses and preferred to be called Ed. He liked wearing black clothes. Jack, on the other hand, loved wearing the brightest clothes he could. One day he would be wearing orange and the next day he would be wearing bright green. He had short ginger hair and had hazel eyes.
Your story needs an excellent ending!
How can I end my story?
The cliffhanger
Leaves an opening for more developments in the future or ends with a question for the reader to ponder or wonder

The twist
Where we are fairly sure about something, but in the final part everything changes
Narrator addresses the
reader directly
Giving the reader a piece of advice arising from your story. Passing on a moral.
Introduces a mystery
Something that is unresolved so the reader has something to think about when they have finished reading.
A good ending should not be the type of ending that you have heard a million times before. ‘They all lived happily ever after’ should be for children’s fairy tales ONLY. (And whatever you do don’t end with …’and they all went home.’ OR ‘I woke up. It had all been a dream.’)

Try some of these more interesting ways to end a story.

That night, when the boy's didn't return home, a search party goes out looking for them. They search the woods where they have been playing but don't come across the abandoned house, as it is not there...
At last they were free from the evil that had been plaguing them for so long. The sky was blue, the sun shone and the birds sang in the trees. Jack walked across the field whistling and sometimes singing to himself. He hardly had a care in the world as the sun beat down upon him. For this reason he failed to see the rotting flesh of the hand that broke through the soil beneath him, snatching at his ankle and dragging him, screaming, under.
And they all lived happily ever after.

I woke up and it was all a dream.

They went home and had their tea.

Two of the children run back to the town to get help, leaving their friend behind in the abandoned house. Will they return?

Remember, friends might promise to keep a secret, but sooner or later they always give it away.
How will your story end?
with a cliffhanger
with a mystery
with a moral
with a twist
Have a go at writing your own story ending
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