We have been set a hard task at college this week - well for me anyway - to write a horror story in 500-700 words.
I don't think I have ever written a horror story in my life, so this task is even harder than the fairytale we had to write last week. I think I may have to have several attempts before i come up with something passable. It's the starting that is the hardest part.
I suppose when writing in this genre the author should look at what scares them and build on that - for me it's spiders and rats but they just seem too obvious a choice to write about. I did consider writing about something I know about and giving it a twist - a child' guinea pig becomes possessed by a ghost or a demon for instance.
Richard Spurling says show don't tell, which is a good maxim.
"Like all fiction, horror is not going to work unless you can take your reader away into another world. The basic tools and techniques of good writing are as critical in horror as they are in all genres. It could even be argued that the only difference between the genres lies in the emotions targeted."
Basically I believe a horror story works well if a reader can emotionally engage with it - the emotional response usually being along the lines of fear and discomfort.