Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Horror

Emotion Horror

When you want to write the emotion horror, it's important to "show" the emotion your character is experiencing through their physical reactions and dialogue, rather than "tell" it. In this article we provide you with inspiration so you can avoid emotional tells and immerse your readers in your story.

Horror is an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. It is an emotion that is often associated with the supernatural, violence, and the unknown. It can be experienced in response to a variety of situations, including frightening stories, horror movies, or real-life events that evoke feelings of terror or revulsion. As a writer, creating horror in your characters can be a powerful tool to engage your readers and create an unforgettable experience.

  1. Different Types of Horror
  2. Situations Associated with Horror
  3. Physical Reactions to Horror
  4. Thoughts Associated with Horror
  5. Atmosphere of Horror
  6. Verbs Associated with Horror
  7. Emotions Before Horror
  8. Emotions After Horror
  9. Telling Horror Examples to Avoid
  10. Practical Examples of Showing Horror
  11. Exercises for Showing Horror

Different Types of Horror

Here are some different types of horror:

  • Dread
  • Terror
  • Apprehension
  • Unease
  • Panic
  • Revulsion
  • Disgust
  • Shock
  • Paranoia

Situations Associated with Horror

Here are some situations where a character might experience the emotion of horror:

  • Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event, such as a violent crime or natural disaster
  • Being in an unfamiliar or dangerous environment, such as a haunted house or dark alleyway
  • Confronting a menacing or threatening individual, such as a serial killer or supernatural entity
  • Uncovering a dark secret or sinister plot, such as a conspiracy or cover-up
  • Experiencing a loss or tragedy, such as the death of a loved one or a serious illness
  • Encountering supernatural or paranormal phenomena, such as ghosts or demons
  • Being trapped or helpless in a terrifying situation, such as being buried alive or trapped in a burning building

Physical Reactions to Horror

Here are some physical reactions a character experiencing horror might have:

• Hypervigilance or paranoia

Thoughts Associated with Horror

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing horror might have:

  • I can't believe this is happening.
  • This is too much to handle.
  • I need to get out of here right now.
  • What if I don't make it out alive?
  • My heart is pounding so hard, it feels like it's going to burst.
  • I can't even look at what's happening.
  • Please let this be a nightmare that I can wake up from.
  • I feel so helpless and vulnerable.
  • How can anyone do something so cruel/monstrous?

Atmosphere of Horror

Here are some ways that you might reflect the emotion of horror in the atmosphere of your scene:

  • Use dark and eerie settings such as abandoned buildings, forests, or cemeteries to create a sense of unease and fear.
  • Incorporate weather elements like thunderstorms, howling winds, or heavy rain to add a sense of foreboding and impending danger.
  • Describe the setting in a way that is unsettling and creepy, such as mentioning strange sounds, odd smells, or unexplained movements.
  • Use lighting to create a spooky atmosphere, such as flickering lights or shadows that seem to move on their own.
  • Create a feeling of isolation and helplessness by placing the characters in a remote or secluded location where they have limited resources and no one to turn to for help.
  • Use symbolism to convey the horror emotion, such as incorporating scary objects like skulls, bones, or creepy dolls into the scene.
  • Use sensory details to make the reader feel like they are a part of the scene, such as describing the cold dampness of a dark basement or the smell of decay in an abandoned house.

Keep in mind that these are just a few examples, and there are many other ways to mirror the emotion of horror through the settings or atmosphere of a scene. The key is to create a sense of dread and fear that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

Verbs Associated with Horror

Here are some verbs commonly associated with the emotion of horror:

  • Terrify
  • Frighten
  • Startle
  • Petrify
  • Shock
  • Appall
  • Alarm
  • Scare
  • Daunt
  • Dismay
  • Unnerve
  • Menace
  • Horrify
  • Creep out

Emotions Before Horror

Here are some emotions that may come before a character experiences horror:

  • Curiosity
  • Confusion
  • Suspense
  • Tension
  • Fear
  • Dread
  • Unease
  • Apprehension
  • Paranoia

Emotions After Horror

Here are some emotions that may come after a character experiences horror:

  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Dread
  • Shock
  • Trauma
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Insecurity
  • Nightmares

Telling Horror Examples to Avoid

Here are some examples of telling the emotion horror in a sentence. You should avoid things like this:

  • Jane was feeling horrified by what she saw.
  • Sarah felt a chill run down her spine as she looked at the haunted house.
  • The sight of the monster made John feel horrified.
  • The characters were all horrified by the gruesome scene.
  • The feeling of horror was overwhelming.
  • The horror on their faces was evident.
  • The story was filled with horror from beginning to end.
  • The reader was left feeling horrified by the events of the book.
  • The horror movie was too much for some viewers to handle.

Practical Examples of Showing Horror

Here are some examples of showing horror in a sentence:

  • The sound of footsteps echoed through the empty hallway.
  • The rusty hinges creaked as the door slowly opened.
  • The dimly lit room was filled with shadows that seemed to move on their own.
  • A cold breeze blew through the broken window, making the curtains dance.

Exercises for Showing Horror

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing horror:

  • Start by brainstorming a list of things that scare you. Then, challenge yourself to take those fears and translate them into your character's fears. What are their deepest, darkest fears?
  • Consider the physical reactions that come with fear. Does your character's heart race? Do they feel nauseous? Do they get sweaty palms? Use these physical cues to convey the emotion of horror.
  • Write a scene from your character's perspective where they encounter something terrifying. Use sensory details to paint a vivid picture of what's happening.
  • Explore your character's backstory to see if there are any traumatic experiences that could contribute to their fear. How do those experiences impact their current behavior and reactions to fear?
  • Play with pacing and suspense to build up to the moment of horror. Use short, choppy sentences to convey a sense of urgency and unease.
  • Experiment with different types of horror, such as psychological horror or supernatural horror. How does your character react differently to each type?

Want more help with showing emotion instead of telling? You find more help in our full thesaurus of emotions.

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