Learn to Write Horror with Examples | Henry Gacia | Skillshare

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Learn to Write Horror with Examples

teacher avatar Henry Gacia, Horror Scholar and Wordsmith

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      What's this class about?


    • 2.

      How to come up with ideas?


    • 3.

      Perspective: First or third?


    • 4.

      Show! Don't tell.


    • 5.

      The Opening


    • 6.

      The Conflict


    • 7.

      The Climax


    • 8.

      The End


    • 9.

      Thank you!


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About This Class

Welcome to Horror Academy

This class has a more practical approach to learn the basis on writing any type of story but particularly horror stories, for those who understand better when examples are the main priority.

If you want to check a class that goes deeper on theory side, please check our class focused on that on this same channel.

This class is for everyone who ever wanted to start writing horror short stories but didn't know how to start. This is a very basic class that will cover simple concepts in order to boost your confidence and give you a bit of practice on writing short stories. 

Welcome, to Horror Academy.

Meet Your Teacher

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Henry Gacia

Horror Scholar and Wordsmith


I believe Horror fiction is a gateway to a more Magical life and as such it's been my obsession for all of my life.

My goal here is to create the tools for people to learn to better understand how to appreciate and create horror in all of its shapes; from literature, films, videogames, art, comics, and so on.

Welcome to Horror Academy. May you learn something new today. See you in class.

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Level: Beginner

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1. What's this class about?: welcome or schoolers to another class from or a calm and have the right over. This time, Instead of focusing on theory, we will be reviewing examples. If you do happen to want to know about theory, please check our other class on the same topic here on skills sharp, where you will be able to know a little bit more in debt about what it takes on the three side. To write a short story to break for this class will be to write examples off each of the sections we will be reviewing. Use the examples given to how a needy own what to write. You have to ride the full story out off it. But if you do want to, you can don't forget to leave all of your questions and comments down below. I remember. If you have any feedback, please do let us know. Welcome Dura kind 2. How to come up with ideas?: I am of the opinion that there's no such thing as a bad idea. There's always a new way to twist a not idea, a new way to tell you. So I'm trying to him to be Arena instead. Aim to ride a good story. I started. I do want to tell, or unity will come in time as long as you keep on writing. But in the meantime, just why, whatever you want right on, just give it your own twist. Sometimes you will find that that's more than enough. Let's review a few examples. The Shining It's a haunted house position story. The dust is the mixing of boats of generous as well as the location being a holder instead of a house. It is a haunted house. It has to use one of the characters to do Expedia Interview With a Vampire. It's just a vampire book. The twist is giving the central focus and drama to the vampires. Instead of having a human protagonist by even relatable stories and feelings to them, it flipped the vampire general forever. Rosemary's Baby. It's a demonic possession cold dish book. The twist, his words focus lies. Instead of being in the supernatural part of it. It focuses on the apparent paranoia off someone living in this extraordinary events, something similar to that. What happens in the hunting movie in the regional one 28 days later is just a some B movie . But it changed so many of the rules, but in so simple ways, it first turns somebody into, ah, actual decisions. The first movie that did this on, instead of being just barely moving on that they are highly agile, they are, and they are just aggression machines. Now let's do a couple of four own tourists. First, we have the hospital setting. This is perhaps one of the most overused sayings in or fiction, but let's try to give the twist. What if your hospital is the only place that is actually safe? Turning the usual dreaded place into a safe haven? Well, do something weird into their readers minds on into your characters actions as well. This is just a stretching. What are the usual expectations for particular are saving or theme turned them upside down . Change them completely. Now we have the ideal fun imaginary friend. This is another job that was not so overused. We can't know all the twist that can be given to it from a being actually a ghost to being someone here and in the house to the child having hallucinations on revealing it. Waas the child itself that that was doing the whole thing, etcetera. Let's give it a twist shall way this time. The focus. What if the imaginary friend is truly imaginary? But it doesn't mean that it can't think I feel a receipt, so we will see the story through the eyes off the imaginary friend. As the child who imagine it becomes haunted by another presence. I'm able prices. Imagine being what kind you do to help your child. We also how the typical as assassination or a story. What, you don't know what three in what's now did The character is Gracie or whatever. This is another typical cliche story. The main character is either hallucinating the whole thing or made believe it is hallucinating. The whole thing was someone else or something else is actually making everything happen. Let's give it a twist. Let's say the person is really hallucinating. But instead of him being the one that is coaching the damage on the outside. The hellis nations themselves are the ones that are making everything. Whatever he hallucinates, whatever he imagines is for that brief time real news. 3. Perspective: First or third?: try to write in third person perspective when you want to jump from one character to the next, next to the next. If you are using multiple main characters of multiple points of view in your story, you want to use the third person best or most of the time. If your story only has one point of view, do you can get away with first person writing, however, do keep in mind that first person writing it tends to be a bit harder. Ah, we tend to write in our own particular voices all the time. That's that's That's the way we do it. But when you write in first person, you have to write us the character of the character the way he feels, the way he thinks what he does, you help to finish your mind to adjust to the character you are writing. Otherwise, every time you will want to write in first person, all of the characters will sound similar because it's just you steal if the story is very, very personal, and you want the readers to understand the characters, feelings, emotions on and internal problems more than anything else, it's probably better to use the first person. Of course, these are just suggestions. It really, really all depends on the way you write on the story you want to ride. Every rule is meant to be broken, and these are not particulary hard rules. These are just things that I consider to be better. When you are first starting writing, it just makes things easier. But try to experiment. Try, try to do your own thing on. In time, you will find whatever suits you best. Now let's review third and first perspectives, using in a few paragraphs from injury with a vampire. That is how descriptive but the void of emotion it is on the first part off it is telling a story, but not the character story. Not yet, anyway. I see, say the vampire thoughtfully. I'm slowly. He walked across the room towards the window. For a long time. He stood there against the dim light from the visa. Later street on the passing beams of traffic, the boy could see the furnishings of the room more clearly. Now they found out table. The chairs of washbasin hung on one wall with a mirror, he said his briefcase on the table unweighted. Now let's see a second paragraph from for their hand in the book. It is much more emotional in any personal and it feels. And so I turned my mind Today is now to be resting my close. It's on trunks of everything that was not essential to me. On the real it'll waas essential to me, really on. Much of that might remain in the townhouse to which I was certain I will return sooner or later, if only to move my positions to another similar one and start in your life in New Orleans. I can't conceive of living in forever. I wound, but it takes my mind on the heart on Europe. Now let's try to do the same thing. Using their story of her own, he always used to think that he would not exist but hated as he saw the corn on one bedroom he was in. He could feel there was something off to his own existence, but he was really nonetheless. He could think he could talk in a word, abstract way. He could feel the wind on his face, the warm off the lamp that stayed all night long and even the hook off his child. So much is sure he exists that he can no longer deny the fear that has said on the back of his neck, for he knows something is wrong. Something is very wrong. This is a better way to tell the reader about the characters on their place. It's a way to talk to the reader about this story. Let's try to do it differently is the same idea to same paragraph. But Regan in first person, I always used to think that I hope not exist on yet here I am. I see the corn on one better my men on the girl that sleeping next to me all I can say that this this feels off. But I realized anything else out there, whether you can see it or not. The fact I'm thinking this should prove it right. But I can also dog, even if only one person can hear me on. I can feel kind off from the way in the first sunny day to the warm this night lamp is giving me. I can, in a way, also feel when she hooks me, I exist on. I can deny it, Which is why I can't deny Hurrican over the fact that today something is wrong. Something is very wrong. In this particular example, we can see the character speaking his mind. It's a lot more personal. I like to use first person when I want things to be more personally on through personal, when I want to tell a story that it's more just a story. However, as I said, these are just one way to do it. It can be done in many different ways, So experiment try it yourself on See you in the next one. 4. Show! Don't tell.: these have to be one of the most overused advice is ever. So we will not stay here for long. If you don't know what this means, it just means to show through descriptions how your character feels acts, uh, things, what your character is doing in every sense of the world, inside and outside. Two descriptions. It's a very simple that buys, but it's also very powerful. A clenched fist forthcoming face saves more than the works, angry or fear. Just make sure to another were use it. Sometimes the simplest way to write something is the best way. Just keep in mind the pace of your story. They feeling you want to communicate in the moment on just will be fine. Let's write the same scene twice on different possible story. The doctor stood there, Philip Fear to the point of being Hispanics. It was really all real, and it was too late to do something about it. The thing then just beat him in the face. It was not very interesting right now. Let's do it again. The doctor stood there and for a brief 2nd 1 that same way too long, he could not comprehend what's in front of him and that such his body felt numb. And Steve, what brought him bag was a warm string off piece that started running to his right away. He had a moment to feel the warm on almost immediate cold afterwards, of the be living It's Ladder. Instead, shivered on his hands, started their heart as he was teaching them in fists too tight for his own sake. He was able to notice older than almost had enough time to regret the way he'd feel the next morning, after putting so much tension in his body. But the second was over. The thing was riel, all of it was real, and he saw the deed growing near his face. He knew it was too late, too late to do anything about it. His face felt warm. What? And then nothing. All right. I may have over use it a bit, but you get the point. There's no need to be as descriptive of this particular paragraph is, especially in fast paced scenes. Try to use it to enhance the experience of your reader while reading your story 5. The Opening: the opening is extremely important to hook people in to give them a question to make them a promise is what will keep them invested from the beginning to the end. But how do we do this? Well, first, you can make it entrancing this particular story. This is my personal favorite off Lovecraft on all of it because of the hour on their way here, writes in here. I was far from home on the spell of the Eastern Sea was upon me in the toilet that I heard it pounding on Iraq's. I knew it lay just about the hell where the twisting wear those right against the clearing sky and the first source of evening on because my father's hot called me to the old town beyond, I pushed onto the shallow, new fallen snow on the road that sword lonely up the world. Oberon drink a moment of trees on on the world, a very in ancient town I had never seen but often dream tough. Make it a mystery, Make everyone wonder, have never hurt uneven, approximate adequate explanation off the over Martin speech this by the large numbers of witnesses. No two accounts agree on the testimony taken by local authorities contains the most amazing discrepancies. Or you can also make it a quest. A promise the man in black fled across the desert on the guns linger, followed. This is, by the way, one of my favorite openings ever. It is. Ah, from Stephen King, the Doctor. Our Book one. It's a beautiful, beautiful book. It's a beautiful, beautiful Open. Now let's start writing our own story. Let's do a couple opening paragraphs, Okay? I used to think that a yoke no exist on here I am. It feels off. But for a while I was grateful. Now I'm just full of dread on a part of me Wishes I did not exist. But if I didn't nobody would know. Nobody could do anything about whatever is happening tonight. But also I sent here or something like that and they wonder, can they do something? You see, I'm riel Whether you can see me or not hear me or not. Believe it or not, I can think And I can't even feel in my own way from the wind of a sunny day to the warm these night lamp Next to me is giving me. I can feel when she hooks me. I exist on I can tonight. Which is why I can deny nor ignore the fact that today something is wrong. Something is very wrong. And it scares me like nothing else called Scare on imaginary friend. But yes, I am imaginary I can't take her away. I can't warn olders I can save her. Or can I? Please. There's anything out there. Anyone out there? Anyone listening? Please tell me I can save her. Please just please What we did with this example he waas to present a problem. A conflict right away. We were opening with a serious off conflicts and a series of goals were making a promise A some sort of quest mystery. What does he mean when he says his imaginary What is this thing that is wrong? Enough! What can he do about it? There is enough information in this few short paragraphs to just hook the radio rain on to make him want to know more about this. Now let's see what's next 6. The Conflict: conflict is just any obstacle that your characters have to face, physical or not, in order for them to achieve their goals. Sometimes the comfort can be explained in a single sentence on sometimes it takes chapters and chapters off one particular book to fully develop on. Understand, it's the some examples in Bram Stoker's Dracula. The conflict for the characters is Dracula and everything that he does. This is a very straightforward conflict, however. You can see through the whole book, developing in different ways as the goals change, escaping his castle, surviving in scuttle, gilded, outsmarted and city. But it can get a lot more complicated in the festival By H. P. Lovecraft. The goal of the character is to visit his family and reconnect with his family's past. The conflict is his family's into really words stuff. At some point it becomes escaping the situation. But he was never really in any danger or know that we truly new. So, perhaps, is just to say in his mind, or rather to understand what's going on in. Is there real conflict? And this is the case for many off the graph stories. Another squat, unquote simple conflict is in the Shining. The conflict is the whole hotel, but we can also see the conflict as being personal as Jack becoming a psycho on trying to mortar his. Finally in there, we will have empire. The conflict is different for each character, for Louis is himself on his new existence. Sometimes that means the start or Armand or cloudy our his own theorist, but in reality is just against himself in duct, our Willard. The goal. The character on the antagonist in the first line of the book, like we saw in the last lecture. But we also learn the conflict the desert. They warned that the gunslinger has to go through the whole book if they want. That puts most of the obstacle that stops him from his goal. In our little story, we can see the conflict at the end of the first part off when our main character feels that something is very wrong. But let's add up to it. I can almost see it approaching right now, except I can't Onda coming from someone you can't usually see, either. That's a scary tell. There's a shallow here. It already court part of the room except that if you try to see it, it's gone. It moves, but it's still there is more like feeling. But since I'm kind of new with all of this fin in part, I can't really explain it. It's called It's darkness and I can sense it moving. I know it's coming to. This is bed, It's getting closer. And so I got closer to the sea. She can't sends it. Or at least not that I know off. She wasn't walking up all night, not even for a glass of water on anything. It's better this way. I'm afraid that if she noticed something's wrong, the wrong will. Well, I don't know what it will do but can't be good. Nothing that is that cold. Nothing that has that stench. It's waking. It's looking this way. I can feel it. It's thinking I can't ask for help. I can do anything about it. Donor than stay close to the sea on wait for the best, but denied his own. I wish I knew what to do. I wish I had a way to help the CIA. The conflict is the show is thing on the factor. Character can do anything about it, but just feel it. Let's take it once the border to the final, rather the most interesting confrontation in the next lecture. 7. The Climax: the climate is the combination off the conflict. It's the highest point of any particular story it's done is raised to escape from the hotel that is going to explode in the Shining. Or it's the fight against Dracula at the end of the book. It's also usually, they says, the way to finish a horror story, because after the climax, there's nothing that much interesting that's going to happen in the book now that struck ride or on climates, as if he ran back to the bedroom, I stood still in front of the door. It was stupid. I knew it. There was nothing I could possibly do and get. I felt determined. I could hear. This is screams behind me and I saw her tears. Just thinking about her made me not want to move. I felt fear for her, but also knew it didn't matter. The thing came up to me, and in the moment I thought he was going through me. I close my eyes, but it stopped or rather it clashed against me against my body. And then I realized, I say up in my I say, What's that have to do something? I was able to fight back. Not a second happened when I launched myself against it and I could see the surprise on his mouth form face because after all, not even eat could see me. I punched and kicked and beat on. For a brief moment, I thought I could win for a brave woman. Right before I saw its eyes again close to me, he was thinking again, I need Waas way too quick and it went to me like I was not even there anymore. But I waas. But they wasn't. I could feel myself being torn apart and something that I only could think off. Spain close my whole being. This is not the ending, of course, but is the highest point of four story. It is a moment in which we cheer it. Not everything is lost just to realise that there was no point to it in the same scene. In just a few paragraphs, the highest point under fall, leaving everything ready for 8. The End: the ending is adultery section. Not every or a story has one other than the climax are not. Every other story needs one. The shorter the story that roar disease, however, ah well crafted ending can comfort candy resolution or can scare the crap out of people, whichever recent, you have to craft unending after the climax. After everything is done in your book End of story, just keep in mind that it has to fit with the tongue on field off the whole book. That is some examples. An interview with a vampire. It is Armand at against Daniel's car in Stephen King's It ISS migrating his forgetting. Everything in Festival is the main character reading the newspaper allowed. How everybody got it wrong on each one of these endings. It's typed to his story very well, because, remember, I remember well, about two years can kill a good story. I fell to the floor, and I thought it was funny that I could touch the floor like that. I should just Spanish your coterie it right. But before anything else could happen, I heard it, and I felt it called sugar down my spine. Who wants a love the most beautiful laugh ever, coming from behind shouting and screaming, but not in fear. Rather in Joey. I couldn't see her, but I knew it was Hera D. C. She was not a friend did. Did I feel the monster? Did I again? Again? I heard heart saying her boy's scoring the whole room. I wanted to smile, even though I did not understand what was going on. I wanted to, but but But I always used to think that I would not exist on get here. I am actually the corn warm bedroom. I mean on the girl that sleeping next to me. All I can say is that it feels off. I can tell you where I must release anything else out there where you can see me or not. The fact I'm thinking this should prove it right. But I can also dog even if only one person can hear me. And I can feel kinda from the wind for sunny day to the warm this night lamp is giving me. I can, in a way, also fear when she talks me exist and I can deny it, which is why I can deny no, ignore the fact that today, today something's wrong, something is very wrong. Something has been wrong for a very long time. 9. Thank you! : Thank you so much for taking this class on. Congratulations. For which, in the end, don't forget to post your project down below. On again. Thank you for taking this class. See you the next time.