Some of my favorite stories to read are the scary ones, and as a writer, horror is a genre that I love experimenting with. Something that is never fun when writing is writer’s block that comes, and one thing to help with that is by looking up writing prompts. This get’s the creative juices flowing, and not only does it help with writer’s block, but you can also experiment with your writing style and what you write about.
These writing prompts are perfect for any time of the year, especially if you are getting in the scary mood for Halloween.
1. Novel About Your Life
“A man reads a novel, soon realizing the story is his very own – and according to the book a killer is looming.”
This prompt is definitely at the top of my to-do list! You can dive into your story’s protagonist, starting with how they found this novel.
Where did they find it?
Was it the attic, basement, or shed?
Maybe it was delivered to their doorstep by a stranger?
When did your character start realizing the novel was their life?
Maybe there are details in the novel that only they know, something they didn’t share with anyone. The novel could go back to the earliest part of their lives, far enough to where it is almost unrecognizable, but as it gets closer to the present moment of their life, the reader begins to realize how copy-and-paste the novel is of their life.
Does the novel go past when the serial killer shows up? The reader can use this to try and fight for their life.
“A priest is a vampire.”
This is a shorter prompt, but you can let your creativity and imagination flow by what kind of character you want to create.
What is the horror part?
Is the Vampire Priest killing its churchgoers?
Or is there a vampire hunter after the priest?
Maybe the vampire has a good and evil conflict, fighting its urge to be evil?
3. Losing Yourself
“You feel yourself slowly becoming a monster.”
These are some of my favorite prompts, books, and movies. To watch a protagonist slowly losing themselves to an outside force. You can add many different elements to this story – maybe they are turning into a monster ( like a vampire or werewolves), maybe there are demons, or maybe life has been so negative that they are losing who they used to be.
There are so many different ways you can write this, and you can really implement many themes into your story.
4. Home Alone
“While working late and alone, you hear voices upstairs.”
Like with the other prompts, you can get creative with this one.
In your story, what are the voices?
Are they ghosts?
Are real people breaking in?
Or is it your protagonist’s mind?
This is honestly a nightmare. You are just relaxing in your own home, working and studying when suddenly you hear noises and voices. How would you react in this situation?
5. Childhood photos
“Looking back at childhood photos, you see something strange.”
This is another one that I have to try out immediately! This makes me think of the scene in Insidious where in the father’s childhood photos, there’s a ghostly figure in the back of them, slowly getting closer to him. This is precisely what I think of when I see this prompt.
If you aren’t interested in the ghost part of this idea, then you can play with so many different factors. Maybe there’s someone the protagonist has never seen before in the back of their childhood photos.
What if there’s someone who you thought passed away or who had gone missing?
What if something unsettling your parents did in the background? Some mysterious thing they never told you about?
6. Human Mind
“The human mind is truly the scariest thing of all.”
This is another prompt where your creativity can really flow. You can always write about human nature in different ways, and I think writing about the human mind fits the horror genre. Humans are capable of almost anything, and I think you can really write about that.
Maybe, it’s someone’s mind who is doing something evil? Showing how humans can be capable of terrible things.
Or, maybe, it is someone losing themselves because of their mind, almost like the earlier prompt. What if their minds are imagining things causing their lives to go downhill.
One thing that makes me think of the human mind are movies like “Goodnight, Mommy” and “The Uninvited.”
7. Missing Child
“A girl goes missing. Fifteen years later, her parents get a call from her older self. But they listen in fear because they killed their daughter that dark night years ago.”
This is my favorite prompt from the entire article and something I would love to write one day. The prompt reminds me of POV videos I’ve seen on TikTok and movies and shows I’ve seen in the past.
You can really dive into a lot with this prompt, like the relationship with the daughter and parents before she goes missing. What kind of family were they? Did the parents hate their daughter? Are there other kids in the family?
How was their life during the 15 years of the daughter being missing? Do they ever talk about? Do they pretend to be this grieving family, still looking for their daughter, pleading for her to come home even thought they already know what happened to her?
Is this the daughter’s ghost coming back to haunt them, or is she really alive? Maybe she wants to get revenge on her parents for what they did to her, and she plans on messing with them first.
Maybe she becomes open to the public at the end, or even middle of the story, to expose her parents.
You can go down so many different routes with this story.
I hope these prompts give you some ideas for some horror movies and you create something truly terrifying from them.
Which writing prompt was your favorite? Let us know down below!