Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dark, Creepy or Horrifying: Writing Scary Stories For Children

When you hear the words, "scary" and "horror," it's not uncommon to think of vampires, witches, and zombies. 

In writing horror stories for children, R.L. Stine, the author of the Goosebumps series of children's books, used animals, a dummy, lawn gnomes, monsters and other spooky characters to horrify kids. 

Author Neil Gaiman created, Coraline, a dark fantasy for children about the main character who finds a locked door in the living room on an old house in which she and her parents just moved. Coraline is warned by mice not to go through the door. The mice were being trained by Mr. Bobo, "the crazy old man upstairs," who says he's training a mouse circus. Of course, Coraline goes through the door, thus beginning a dark adventure that has parts that can even "creep-out" some adults. 

While these stories are popular (both Goosebumps and Coraline have been turned into movies), as a writer, you have several alternatives. You can choose to write dark and scary children's stories, or "pleasantly" scary stories, like MANA author Winifred Parker.  

Ms. Parker, author of 2 Pleasantly Scary Stories For Children, enjoyed telling her grandchildren scary stories as much as they enjoyed listening to them. Her grandson, Vince's request to tell him stories was the catalyst for Ms. Parker to write a book. To their delight, Ms. Parker made Vince and his sister Julia, characters in her book. 

The book, 2 Pleasantly Scary Stories For Children targets children 6 to 11 years old, are whimsical and involve mysteries.  The first story involves 8-year-old Julia O'Brien and her 14-year-old brother, VInce, who, with their friends, embark on an adventure on solving a the mystery of missing dogs in their neighborhood.

In the second scary story, the O'Brien family takes a summer vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota. While there, Julia and Vince investigate mysterious happenings at a cave.   

Both stories have adventures, clear messages about right and wrong, and valuable information about the Black Hills of South Dakota that both children, parents and teachers will enjoy.

If you need help in writing your children's scary-horror stories, here are 5 resources that will get you started: 

1. How to Write Horror for Children by Sarah Todd

2. Playground For Fear: Horror Fiction For Children by Robert Hood

3. How to Write Your Own Scary Story – Read Write Think

4. How to Write Middle Grade Horror – 7 Tips by Chuck Sambuchino

5. How to Write a Really Creepy Ghost Story – Waterstones

Click HERE to review 2 Pleasantly Scary Stories For Children

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