This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
EU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the European Union version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > Feel the Fear

Feel the Fear
Writing Magazine

Feel the Fear

Posted Thursday, October 6, 2016   |   4293 views   |   General Interest   |   Comments (0) Understand how fear works to keep your readers on the edge of their seats, says Alex Davis

Two of the finest books of horror non-fiction remain – undisputably – Stephen King’s On Writing and Danse Macabre. Not only are they penned by an established master of the form, but they are books that show a great understanding of what it is that frightens people. King is a writer with a superb imagination, but it is possibly this innate knowledge of how to exploit human fear that built him such a successful career.

Now, we can’t all be on a par with Stephen King – those sort of long-lasting bestsellers are almost a phenomenon – but there’s a lot to be said for a solid grasp of what it is that makes people afraid. It’s not as simple a question as it may appear, and horror in all its forms – TV, film, books – is fundamentally designed to play with your mind, reaching in and forcing you to feel a sense of dread. So how can we make the most of this as a writer?

UNIVERSAL HORROR
No, I’m not referring to the old school monster movies here, more that there are some fears that are absolutely common to all of us. When you go back – way back – in human evolution, fear had a particular purpose: survival. Primitive mankind was very little about exploration and taking risks, but safety and sticking to what was known. The fear of the unknown was a reflex that would keep early man out of harm’s way – if there’s a chance it could be dangerous, why explore it?

And in the same vein, one of the fundamentals of horror is that much of it explores the unknown. The supernatural, that question of what happens on the other side of death, the monstrous, the alien, the otherwordly, all of these things are crucial to horror. What form these take varies a great deal, but it’s important to keep this thought at the core of your horror work.


For more great articles like this get the November 2016 issue of Writing Magazine below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - September 2018 Replica & Mobile Edition included
€5.49
Or 549 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 3.67 per issue
SAVE
33%
€43.99
Or 4399 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only € 4.00 per issue
SAVE
27%
€23.99
Or 2399 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only € 4.49 per issue
SAVE
18%
€4.49
Or 449 points

View Issues

About Writing Magazine

Writing Magazine is the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for ALL writers. Whether you write for pleasure or publication, whatever your style or genre, this magazine has something to help you.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Writing Magazine today.

Most read articles this month


ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

When she took up scuba 40 years ago, Alexandra Hildred had no idea that her life would become inextricably linked with a Tudor warship. Now the Mary Rose Trust’s Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance & Human Remains, she tells STEVE WEINMAN about the lead-up to the raising of the iconic wreck, still one of the biggest such operations ever attempted. More...
WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

Nashville songwriter Mark Cawley shares some tactics for reviving those elusive creative juices when you’ve lost the flow More...
The 5 Best Photography Magazines

The 5 Best Photography Magazines

Here at pocketmags.com, we have the 5 best photography magazines to inspire and inform your skills and get you snapping away with your beloved camera of choice! More...
5 Digital Magazines for Spring

5 Digital Magazines for Spring

Here at Pocketmags, we simply cannot wait to welcome in a new season of bloom and blossom. Jumpstart your motivation with our selection of 5 digital magazines for spring. More...
The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

From the early days of digging our hands into playdough and getting messy with paper mache, to growing up and learning how to meticulously operate a needle and thread for the very first time, we will always have the wonderful movement of arts and crafts to thank for these simple pleasures of life. More...
The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

It’s time to literally stop and smell the roses and grow a patch of paradise that you can not only enjoy but also, be the proud owner of. Give the birds and butterflies a reason to mingle amongst the tulips and a chance for your garden to be the best it can be. More...
New to Pocketmags: True Crime Library

New to Pocketmags: True Crime Library

Pocketmags is eager to announce the adoption of a range of new and thrilling titles - ones that are sure to fascinate or spook you to your core - we introduce you to, True Crime Library. More...
The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

Get ready to pack your things and go - it’s time to hit the road Jack! Put the pedal to the metal and ride the route until the sun goes down - after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination. More...
Who Will Get Your Nomination? Total Film or Empire

Who Will Get Your Nomination? Total Film or Empire

Pocketmags is celebrating another year of incredible filmmaking by reflecting on two of our top selling digital film magazines, Total Film magazine and Empire magazine. More...
The 5 Best Food Magazines

The 5 Best Food Magazines

Our trusty list of the 5 best food magazines will help to inspire your inner chef and create the everyday meals you can start getting excited about. More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points