How to Add SPOOK to Your Story

It’s October, and I’m loving the fall weather! But all the ghosties and spiderwebs around the neighborhoods got me thinking: what are some ways to make our writing spooky?

So today we’ll discuss three quick tips to add some spook to any story. Here we go!

The Sound of Language

I’m pretty sure I’ve discussed this before, but just in case, or if you’re new to the blog, one of the easiest ways to set the tone of a story is by deliberately choosing specific words.

Let’s look at an example, and you decide which sounds spookier:

  1. cemetery
  2. graveyard

If you picked graveyard, then you’re among the majority of readers!

You see, the way a word sounds can do a lot to set the tone and feel of a piece of work. Many soft sounds like ‘s’ and ‘h’ (or a ‘c’ that sounds like ‘s’) can lend a feeling of peace and contentment to a passage. But the use of harder sounds like ‘g’ and ‘k’ can introduce harsher thoughts to a reader, good for thrillers and horror or scenes that you want to feel scary.

Word Choice

But beyond just the sound, think about how your words affect the feel of a story.

If you describe something as ‘rosy’, that won’t have quite the same effect as ‘scarlet’ or ‘crimson.’ Much like above, scarlet and crimson have the harsher sounds…but they are also associated with spooky themes like blood, unlike rosy which may lead a reader to think of flowers (not so scary).

So think about the connotations your word choice has. What images are naturally evoked by the word? Will it add to your feeling of spookiness?

Descriptions

Bringing both of those two things together are descriptions. Use the word sounds and connotations to create spooky imagery. Instead of a vast rose garden, why not dead beds of thorns? Or rather than a child’s baby doll, there may be a cracked porcelain doll head.

Use your knowledge of word sounds and usage to paint a creepy picture, and immerse us in the scene.

Draw in all the senses.

Make us feel the spookiness, like the chill down our spine. The call of an owl. The sticky web stuck to our face.

Setting can do so much to create the tone for your story, so use it like the power tool it is!

Now, take these spooky ideas, and go write a spooky story!

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News!

Last week was the cover reveal for Pumpkin Spice Pie-Jinks! If you missed it, hop back to the post to catch up. I’m approaching the end of the editing and uploading process, so it will be available oh so soon!

In the meantime, be sure to add it to Goodreads so you don’t miss the release!