5 Tricks Writers Use to Write Scary Movies Like The Nun and Insidious

“We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” 

Horror – the sound of it pervades our senses with thrill, curiosity, excitement, adventure, and sometimes rising heartbeat. 

Have you ever thought about the process of making a true blue horror story?

How are they cooked and constructed in ways that notwithstanding the fact that they are most of the time just made up stories and has nothing to do with our real lives, we still get frightened? 

The fun part is – despite our fears, we still read them, watch them and enjoy them. 

Today, I am going to share with you my 5 building blocks to build a scary world.


“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

Important for any story to have relatable characters but horror story trumps every other genre in this regard. Without believable characters and situations that appear realistic and not just supernatural, very difficult to scare people. 

Next are the plotting and the flow. Must to have a good, if not great, story-line to engage the reader/audience.

The stories that are based on real-life incidents engage the audience more. 

For example, The Conjuring and now "The NUN" - based on the supposed real-life experiences of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who moved into a Rhode Island farmhouse and where they experienced demons and horrible consequences in 1971. 

Conjuring - Movie is great example of how to write a great horror tale

The movie scared millions with its portrayal of a haunted farmhouse. The portrayals of paranormal activities in the house were terrifying and enjoyable at the same time. Contrary to achieve yet made possible by the writers and the filmmakers.


This is the first and foremost real trick to construct a story based on fear. Make sure that the story can scare people by evoking sensations and emotions they never knew that have. 

If the audience could feel such innate fears, then they trust the writer to make them believe whatever he wants them to. Signs of great success. 

The most important part is to establish a connection with the audience. Whenever I read or watch that connects me with my deep fears, I just can not take my mind off it for a very long time. It should also seem realistic to get bejesus out of me. In fact, sometimes the impact is so big that it lasts for days even. 

The last time I was really scared was in the movie "A Quiet Place".

A Quiet Place is great example of how to write a great horror tale

Okay, let’s consider the movie, "Annabelle" in which the demon attaches itself to a doll. John Form is a doctor and he gifts the doll to his pregnant wife. and they start experiencing unusual activities.  Like any horror story, they approach a priest. The priest tells them that about the demon and so on so forth. You get the gist. 

Annabelle (2014) and Annabelle: Creation (2017)

The idea is not new but the treatment and the way the writers have created the surroundings and the atmosphere is the real treat. 


"Imagination is the key to surprise the audience, but to surprise the imagination of the audience is a tougher part."

For this, one must fit himself in the audience’s shoes and perceive the story setting from their perspective and then imagine and portray something that is above that level. 

In such situations an imaginative mind is useful. A peculiar thing about a book as compared to movies is that it has no boundaries of someone's imagination. A reader's mind can imagine a lot more and really go deep down in their horrors. 

A good story is one that succeeds in building up tension and keeps the audience guessing what would happen next.


The beauty of suspense arises when the reader wants more than just jump scares. Can only be possible with a great connect. 

If you remember "The Ring", it pictures the subsistence of a videotape. The tape shows a weird film. And just after it gets over, the viewers receive a phone call where a little girl says “Seven Days” and if in this time you don’t make a copy of this video and make someone else watches, you die a painful death. What happens in those seven days is the crux of the story. And this makes it a great story.

The Ring movie is great example of how to write a great horror tale

At times, the surprises even come at the end of which makes the story more thrilling. The best state entails of the audience waiting for something to arrive and then finding something completely different from what was expected. 


A good horror story should leave its audience with a sense of fear, confusion, and dilemma for long. Happens when a writer is able to establish a good connection between the story and the reader. 

A mix of all above constitutes a good horror story. What I personally believe is that a story to which can connect with you and make you sense the purpose for which it is composed, can be called a success story. 

The Undead by Akay Brothers

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About Ohayo Brother

Akay Brothers - Author of Jason Cage Series.
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