Let's Write Horror: Breaking the Block with 7 Strategies | Udern Stroud | Skillshare

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Let's Write Horror: Breaking the Block with 7 Strategies

teacher avatar Udern Stroud, Creative Hobbyest

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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.

      LWH:BTB Introduction


    • 2.

      LWH:BTB Purpose


    • 3.

      LWH:BTB Control


    • 4.

      LWH:BTB Self-Doubt


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About This Class

23-11-19: This course is going to be redone! I never actually finished this course because of real life stuff and I ran out of steam and motivation. Now that I've made progress in my health and life, I plan to rework this course. I can't say when I'll update and finish the course, but I hope to get around it by the end of January 2024.

23-01-31: Uploaded the third lesson and updated the previous videos with helpful examples at the end.

Welcome to Let's Write Horror: Breaking the Block, where I'll share 7 spooktacular ways to get over those scary creative blocks. While anyone may find these strategies useful, keep in mind that they're tailor-made for Horror writers.

What you’ll learn:

  • Learning the causes of several blocks and how we as Horror writers can overcome them
  • Focus the fear into creativity

This course is for:

  • Writers (and other creatives) who know the basics of their craft and want to dive into a scarier genre
  • Those who aren't afraid to embrace their dark side!

The course will contain:

  • An intro
  • Short stories for examples and references
  • Several videos discussing topics of the subject
  • Horror Prompts for every video
  • An outro

Note: This is not a "How-To". I made this course under the impression that anyone watching already knows how to tell a story, including a scary one. This "Let's Write" course is more proactive.


Some themes and content may be triggering or sensitive to some viewers. These can include foul language, violence, death, and mental health topics. Viewer discretion is advised.

Meet Your Teacher

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Udern Stroud

Creative Hobbyest


Hello and welcome. I go by Udern Stroud (OO-durn).

I used to work as a freelancer but I recently changed jobs at the time of writing this to pursue creativity more as a hobby. I still self-publish under other pen names, but for the last while I've been thinking about my relationship with my creativity and where I want my path as a creative to go.

Despite that, I've been struggling to create and express myself. This is mainly due to leaving a couple of traumatic situations and rebuilding my life after I had to make the difficult decisions to finally deal with them. It's partially thanks to Horror stories that I've slowly been able to get back into the groove and enjoy creat... See full profile

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1. LWH:BTB Introduction: Hello there. So you also got a nasty block you're trying to get over her. Well, I don't know how much I can help, but I'll give it a shot. Welcome to. Let's write horror, breaking the block. This course is all about helping horror writers who found themselves facing the terrifying monster known as the creative block. While there are general techniques for blocks, I've found that there are lots of times where my creative block and actually be genre specific. This course is best for creators of horror, thriller, suspense who are struggling to write a scary. We intend to discuss the types of blocks you may have with the goal of confronting them and creating, again, using our experiences as a professional creative writer, we will review several techniques that we have used to conquer our blocks when it comes to writing suspense and horror, we plan to include some of our own stories as examples, along with two sentence horror story prompts. There are three reasons. The first one is that they are focused short, and to the point, We will go over other ways to beat a block for writing horror, but writing to sentence short stories will be our main goal. Now, since there's different types of learners that we'll try to accommodate, the five main types we plan to include subtitles for auditory learners, bullet point lists like this one for right and learners, discussion prompts for the social learners, extra art and images for the visual learners and limit the animation for fellow kinesthetic learners. An extra thing I'm adding is a story within the videos. I'm adding this because with art, you must show but not tell. In e-learning, you must show, not Battelle. And I loved the idea that with this, I can show along with tell a story within the course. It sounds like the best way I can do that. This is because reading or watching another person's story is actually a great way to break a block because it gives me inspiration. When I see something I really enjoy. It makes me want to create something just as enjoyable and it gives someone else that amazing feeling. Make sure to have either a writing file or notebook to write the prompts and any notes and share them with the class when you're finished the course by submitting them as a project. Of course, if some stories feel very personal, you don't have to include those in your submission. Two sentence horror story submissions can be writing short comics or aren't. Voice recordings and videos. Let's give you a prompt to work on right now. The prompt is from Hope. For now, write to just one sentence describing hope or about a character showing hope. What is the hope that motivates the character? Here's ours. The water is cool and refreshing as I washed my stained hands. With all that sudden done. Let's write horror. 2. LWH:BTB Purpose: In mythology, amuses goddess of inspiration and the arts. For creative works, amuse is a person's motivation and purpose. If you have a block because you've lost your muse, that means that you're struggling with your reason for creativity. Now, about how that fits into horror in several other horror writing guides I've found, the first lesson always pops the question, what is horror? Not really a fan of this question. You can find the definition of horror in any Theo source. One says, Whoever is a sense of painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay. I think a better question. And one more related to block breaking is, why do you want to write horror? Well, I think I'll write horror because it's helped me process the scarier times in my life. I found myself in places and around people who weren't very stable and that made things unpredictable and uneasy. Because of this, I found it hard to express myself around others and found ways to do it privately. I write horror as a way of processing my fears by taking all of these anxious thoughts and putting them onto paper, I can get them out of my head. It also allows us to take a step back from the situation and to look at it from a distance. It's useful because it helps us find a solution. That's not the only reason I write horror nowadays, but it was my main reason for getting interested in the genre. It's one of the ways I've tried to cope with my fears and smallness in the world. One of my current reasons for writing horrors that exciton Russian feeling that happens when I make a threatening character, have them do threatening things and then watch my fans react to adult like. And then I'm all tears our mind to drink. In summary, one way that we can have a horror block is when we've forgotten or changed our purpose for writing fear. What we can do about that is to ask ourselves why we want to write horror and gravitate towards that. Some reasons are coping with anxieties. Exploring a theme or thinking about the unknown. It almost falls back on that phrase, right, to what you know. But maybe it was horror. We can flip it and say, right what you don't know. The prompt. I want you to take inspiration from yourself and write a two sentence horror story about a scary or intense situation that has happened in your life. You can write it as it really happened or throw a metaphor. If you find your muse is your main block, then I hope this prompt will help. Boot NOR a block can happen when you lose your muse or reason for creating. So we just need to find something scaring gravitate towards that. Yeah, we got to look for something scary. Let's see what is around us. Not see that getting a headache. I look around for something pleasant as I walked by the sea, but it's no use. I can see are the flashbacks of violence. 3. LWH:BTB Control: Horror is the genre I actually get the most blocks with. If creative blocks happen because of de-motivation, there might be another reason why writing what you know or don't know won't always work. Horror is about exploring feelings of dread, despair, and disempowerment. These are some pretty unpleasant feelings and people typically don't like doing something unpleasant. Exploring our insecurities is one of them. And even if we can digest these feelings, how do we structure them? Well, the best way I found out how to do that is writing like a joke. Think about it. Both horror and comedy rely on one thing. Tension. Both need to wind up the tension and then release it. The only difference is that jokes do that with a punchline and scary stories do that with a spooky reveal. Of course, that can still be a challenge because it screws with our sense of self-control. This can make us feel helpless. Interestingly enough, that people can find a comfort and helplessness. I mean, if they're helpless, they won't feel like there are responsible for anything or an aim to be expected to do anything. They don't need to take control or make choices. Maybe they're overwhelmed with responsibilities and can take on anymore. They might push these onto other people because they don't want these experiences. However, these ideas can turn people into their own horror stories. Another reason I find myself demotivated is one, creativity isn't bringing me joy. It's like I want to create. I have ideas, but there's another part of my mind that saying, I'm not having fun, that's too scary. I'm tired or I want to chill. I find that this is when I feel stressed or constrained by time. Even if creating is fun, it's still takes effort. You still have to make time for it and put your energy towards it. This is hard when I've already given pieces of my time or energy for other tasks. What's the most frightening thing is probably that despite however we feel that story won't get written until we write it. Instead of letting these feelings turn us into horror stories, we need to channel them into our written stories. In summary, while our anxieties and stress can fuel our fears, demotivate us and make us feel helpless. We can still learn to utilize them. That's what horror writers do best. Some ways I've tried to deal with that is by making a schedule, listening to music, or breaking down what I want to create into smaller tasks. Simplifying. I'll say to that part of my mind, give me 5 min to do this task. We like it and will continue. And if we don't, then we'll stop and do what you want. I find communicating with myself like this works. Although if you feel like your anxieties are getting the better view and it's actually hurting you or your creativity. Please take a break, find support like a friend or indulge in another activity. Prompt, census. Write a two sentence horror story about a sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch that scares you. The five senses or four, if you're disabled. Or how we experience the world and how we judge whether we are somewhere safe or unsafe. Staring at the MP space, my jaw said firm and tight. Motivation came in the morning, but now it has taken flights, stretch entities, the a sub shoulders, wrist, and my song rings over the empty building. Then I hear someone singing along. 4. LWH:BTB Self-Doubt: In horror, one of the things we worry about the most is whether or not our story is scary. Other aspects I can think of are whether the character is sympathetic enough or if the mystery makes sense. Our worries feed our self-doubt. It's understandable, especially for horror. As we said earlier, the genre deals with feelings that people don't like dealing with. So when it comes to writing for the genre, It's almost like we're fighting with that defensive part of our mind. Our defensive part wants to protect us so it blocks out or pushes down these negative thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it goes the other way and actively indulges in doubts and fears from past failures. That's just to protect us from something worse that could happen, but too much can make us afraid of trying anything. Lacking genuine support to help with these feelings can make things worse. Something that feeds my self-doubt is the fear of getting my hopes up. I'll mount my expectations so high that when it fails, I'm left disappointed and with nothing to show for my efforts. It can be very devastating. On the plus side, I found a solution. It doesn't work all the time, but it's given me the confidence to step out of my little pit now and again. That's to lower expectations for all my work and myself. This is another reason why I decided to use the two sentence horror story for our prompts. They're designed to curb our expectations and not need a lot of aspects to focus on. Anyone who's watching this course is likely going through a block and asking you to write a longer story or a novel by the end of this short course is an unfair expectation. For creative blocks, the best thing to do is just to take little steps. Also, if you tried the other prompts and find writing something scary still feels difficult than lower that desire for now and focus on writing something that's just a little creepy or spooky. At the very least, it should express how you feel, which is the original purpose of art. Prompt: Write a two sentence horror story on a worst-case scenario. Pick a situation you're afraid of and write how things will go wrong. This is the fifth version of the course I've made. I still have the first one up as the original Let's write horror to remind me how far I've come. I think the reason why I kept trying is because I believed I had potential. So I experimented with a few versions and presentation styles. The least I could do is try again. I don't know how many people this will help it, but I'll try to appreciate that I didn't throw in the towel after one or two failures. If you find your creative block is due to self-doubt and fear of failure, I hope that this course will give you the confidence to try again. That's all we can really do at the end of the day. Can we please eat? I'm hungry! We're hungry. I don't wanna. I just wanna rest. Just take five-minutes, okay? We can eat something and well, in 5 min, if you don't like that, then we'll go back here and you can rest and I'll shut up. Okay. After the diagnosis, I used my savings to travel and seek help. It wasn't until I saw the bodies on the property that the only help was death.