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Can you help me start writing a short short horror story similar to "A Rose for Emily"...

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user84631 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:02 AM via web

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Can you help me start writing a short short horror story similar to "A Rose for Emily" by Williams Faulkner or "A Feather Pillow" by Horacio Quiroga?

I have to write a horror story about a fictional character and set the story in a normal suburban neighborhood. It also must have a shocking secret that lies hidden in the character's past, and outline the plot events that will reveal the secret. It has to include vivid, descriptive details that create a mysterious atmosphere but a believable setting. The startling truth must be in the last sentence.

***Honestly, i HATE horror stories!! I don't like them, don't watch them, don't read them, and I'm definitely not good at writing one. Therefore, I REALLY need help. ******

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 17, 2013 at 4:08 PM (Answer #1)

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To begin the writing on this story, you will want to have two things in place before you really get started. Just as Faulkner's story is narrated out of temporal order, you will want to write your story "backwards". 

Before you begin, you should should have a definite idea of what the secret is going to be and who the main character or characters are. Most likely, you will come up with both together as the secret will go a long way to helping to define the character. 

To determine these two things (Secret/Character), you may be helped by taking some notes, making a list or two, or talking out your ideas with a friend. To help come up with ideas, you can think about news stories that have surprised or shocked you in the past or pick up today's news paper and see what jumps out at you. 

Here are a couple possibilities:

  • A person thought to be very poor goes missing and when they go into the house the authorities find piles of money. Maybe the money is a foreign currency, but it represents real wealth. There is also a note that says the person is not coming back because they've gone on a permanent vacation. 
  • A man and wife sleep on their porch at night for a whole summer. People believe they are doing this to stay cool, but it turns out they have dug up the floors of their house in a search for gold. And they found something else instead...

You should think about what you are interested in, what kind of characters might actually be found in your own neighborhood and what kind of secrets they may have lurking in the attic, or the basement, or the garage. 

Once you know who your character is (or who your characters are) and you know what secret will ultimately be revealed, you can begin to plot out a story that will lead to the unveiling of the secret.


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