🤖 How to Write Terrifying Horror Stories, According to ChatGPT

I asked ChatGPT to compose a 500-word article in the style of Alfred Hitchcock, on the basics of writing terrifying horror stories. Here’s what it came up with:

As an aficionado of the macabre, I have always been fascinated by the art of horror storytelling. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of fear that a well-crafted horror story can elicit. However, the art of crafting a truly terrifying tale is not for the faint of heart. It requires a careful balance of suspense, tension, and shock. But fear not, dear reader, for I am here to guide you through the basics of writing a truly terrifying horror story.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that horror is all about the unknown. It is the fear of what lurks in the shadows, the things that go bump in the night, and the inexplicable forces that we cannot comprehend. As such, a successful horror story should be built around a central mystery or unknown element that keeps the reader on edge throughout.

This mystery could be a supernatural force, a monstrous creature, or even just the dark recesses of the human psyche. Whatever the source of fear, it is important to keep it shrouded in mystery for as long as possible. Tease the reader with hints and clues, but never reveal too much too soon. The longer the mystery remains unsolved, the greater the tension will be.

Another key element of horror storytelling is the setting. A spooky location can enhance the fear factor of a story exponentially. Whether it’s an abandoned house, a dark forest, or a haunted graveyard, the setting should be atmospheric and foreboding. Use descriptive language to paint a vivid picture of the surroundings, and play up the creepy details to heighten the sense of unease.

But setting alone is not enough to create a truly terrifying tale. The characters themselves must be relatable and vulnerable. The reader must care about what happens to them, and fear for their safety. The best horror stories put ordinary people in extraordinary situations, forcing them to confront their deepest fears and weaknesses.

Of course, no horror story would be complete without a healthy dose of suspense and surprise. The key to effective suspense is pacing. Slow down the action at key moments, building tension through detailed descriptions of the character’s surroundings and internal thoughts. Then, just when the reader thinks they know what’s coming, throw in a surprise twist to keep them on their toes.

But perhaps the most important aspect of writing a terrifying horror story is to tap into the primal fears that reside within all of us. Fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of loss, and fear of the supernatural are all powerful emotions that can be harnessed to create a truly spine-chilling experience.

In conclusion, writing a truly terrifying horror story is no easy feat. It requires a delicate balance of mystery, setting, character, pacing, and primal fear. But with a little bit of skill and a lot of imagination, anyone can craft a story that will leave readers trembling in fear. So go forth, dear reader, and let your darkest fears guide you on your journey into the realm of horror storytelling.

ChatGPT Mar 14 Version

What do you think? I’m not convinced of its Hitchcock impression, but the content’s not bad, right? So, are writers doomed or elevated by this latest A.I. iteration? And if you like that, you should check out the visual art I created using another A.I. tool: WOMBO Dream

What horror means to me, by @CAnthonyBiron

When I was a kid, we lived in a big old house. Everywhere, there were dark corners and shadowy spaces – just like any place that’s been around for a hundred years. My room had a closet, and I always kept it closed – especially before going to sleep. One night I had a dream about it. I was walking toward the closet door, and I couldn’t stop my hand from reaching forward. I turned the handle and looked inside. There, above my head, beside a naked bulb with a string, was a trap door I’d never seen. I looked away for an instant, and when my gaze returned, the panel had shifted. It was open a crack – just enough to let me see the darkness of an undiscovered attic. Something was up there, and it was looking at me.

That’s what I think about when I write horror.

And I want both of us – reader and writer – to explore that shadowy place together.

By @CAnthonyBironhttps://canthonybiron.ca/

Cries from the Catacombs, by @Matthew_NCC1701

Why Write Horror?

Why should you write horror? Why shouldn’t you? You may not even be asking yourselves these questions, because you just know that’s what you want to write about. Perhaps you are like Stephen King who, in an interview early in his career, admitted that he wrote horror because he loved scaring the shit out of people.

Now, don’t ask me to quote the source of that interview. I don’t know. Might have been in a Playboy magazine that I snuck from my dad’s office drawer, I don’t remember. Google it if you want to know if it’s true. I pull a lot of stuff out of my ass-orted memory collection. Sometimes it’s verifiable, sometimes not, but we’re getting off the point here …

First, let’s get one more thing out of the way: I am going to assume if you are reading this, that you are a writer. I will never tell you if you should or should not be a writer. That is for you to decide. Personally, I think writers write because not to write is suicide (I think that’s from Mr King as well. Maybe he should have written this essay!) Even though I’m too lazy to edit, I write every day out of mere compulsion: words just come to my head and I jot them down.

But HORROR! Why this genre and not something like Romance or Sci-Fi or Fantasy or Dummies manuals? I think if you are on this site (thank you, PG Patey, Keeper of the Keys to the Horrorprompt Catacombs), you are attracted to the dark side of fiction, the creeping things, the blood spatter patterns across the dank walls of the crypt, and if you are, then you should write horror.

Again, why? I liken it to something that I heard a comedian say once (again, from my grabbag of things I’ve picked up along the way), that being in a room full of people making jokes about things that make us all mad (i.e. traffic, waiting in lines, flying in economy class, etc.) is cathartic. It is a room of people all laughing together at the same things that make everybody mad, that everybody can come together and it’s a giant emotional release. Then, everyone goes out into the night, feeling a bit better.

It’s similar with horror: write what scares you. Write what you think will scare others. When you do this, you are sharing, and your readers partake, and everybody comes together in a cathartic “safe zone” (i.e. your words on the page/screen) and together, everyone can face the horror equally, and manage it better.

The world is a damn scary place. Most of the time we’ve got no one to share it with, and we wander it alone. Writing horror helps us all to know that we call can face this fear together.

So, pick up that pen or grab that keyboard and start slinging some blood spatter patterns against the wall of that crypt!

By @Matthew_NCC1701http://verblegherulous.zenandtaoacousticcafe.com/

“The Unkindness” is available on Patreon now!

“The Unkindness”, a short horror story by PG Patey

Join me on Patreon today for early access to my new short horror story, “The Unkindness“. Choose your level of support and get full benefits, regardless of your Tier selection. Everyone gets everything, starting at $1/month. Thank you for supporting my creative work!

Coming to wordsfrombehindthemask.com on May 1st!

The Unkindness” will be available to everyone here on May 1st.

Thank you,

➰ PG Patey