Book Update: The Crow Joins the Tome

I can't believe it's September already, and the summer is fading away. It always seems to go by so fast. At least for me. Summer is my favorite time of year. Anyway, I'm thrilled to announce I have a new short story finished called "The Crow". So now I have 4 completed stories for my upcoming anthology book. I plan on starting another story this month but I'm not sure what it will be called yet. The goal is 16 terrifying tales overall. I think that's a good amount of stories for an anthology. Some books only have 10 or 13 tales, and some over 30. What do you think? 🐦💀


Book Update: 3 Short Horror Stories in the Can

I started writing my anthology book the last day of June. It's now one month and 13 days later and I have three short stories completed. I'm actually surprised I've written this many this fast because I'm usually a slow writer. At least with screenplays, which I've been writing since 2008. 

Many of those screenplays I made into short films and two of them were made into feature-length films (self-produced). Clearly, the change to prose is a better fit for me. I don't have to worry about all the hassles and limitations of an independent film production, and I can let my imagination run free. I think that's why I'm writing so quick. 

Anyway, the stories so far are "Horror on Interstate 89", "In the Walls", and "Someone at the Door". I'm aiming for 16 scary stories overall. The book (currently untitled) should be out next Halloween. That is the goal. More updates to come as things creep along. 📕🖋💀


8 Tips For Writing Short Horror Stories

Have you been writing short horror stories for a few years or maybe only a few days? These tips will help improve your short stories and even longer stories too. Keep in mind: there are no rules. These are only guidelines.

Giant spider creeping up on a child.
💀 Make your prose scary!

1. Start with what scares you. 

Heights? Losing your teeth? Spiders? Clowns? Are there situations or places that scare you? Explore your fears.

2. Limit the number of characters.  

Readers connect with your story through your characters. Too many and your readers will fail to identify with them and may even have trouble telling them apart. For flash fiction and super short stories, no more than three characters are probably best.

3. Limit the time frame of the story. 

You don't want your plot going slack so it's best to compress the action into the briefest time period possible. Having the story take place over several days or hours or "real-time" in most cases is going to be more effective than spreading a short story out over weeks or months or years. There are always exceptions of course.

4. Establish the Setup.

The setup should be established right away, especially in a short story. This should include:

✔ The setting/backdrop: time period (when), location (where), is it day or night?

The tone (atmospheric/creepy).

The viewpoint character (your main character who the story is being told through).

The viewpoint character's story goal/motivation (which may change as the story progresses).

The inciting incident that jump-starts the story into action. 

You can delay the inciting incident a bit by foreshadowing or hinting at the conflict to come. Basically, get this stuff established and out of the way so your reader is grounded in the story and then you can pull the rug out from under them and slowly scare their pants off.

5. Choose your POV wisely.  

POV (point of view) is the perspective from which your story is told. For horror, a close POV with your main character is key. This puts you right there with them and even inside their head so you know what they're thinking and feeling. That's why I recommend writing in a first person POV or a close third person POV. Here's a great article on POVs.

6. Use the 5 senses.  

Once again this is why a first person or close third person POV is key. We can SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, and TOUCH along with the main character. Although, don't try to force all of these into your story. Use them where they would naturally fit so you can enhance what the reader is experiencing... fear.

7. Use internal dialogue.

Basically, internal dialogue is what your character is thinking. It's the conversation they have with themselves. This is why first person or a close third person POV are key. We can get inside their head and eavesdrop. This is one of your most powerful tools as a writer but you also don't want to overuse it. Here's a great article on using internal dialogue.

8. Avoid cliches.

If you're writing horror, I'm assuming you're a horror fan. Take note of all the genre cliches. The things you've seen or read a million times or the plot points you can sense coming from a mile away. My advice is to avoid them or twist them up so your readers have no idea what's going to happen next. Don't be predictable! Here's a list of 44 horror cliches.


5 Classic Short Horror Stories You Can Read Online For Free

Are you in the mood for some creepy old tales? Delve into these classic short stories by some of the greatest masters of horror and suspense. All 5 of these famous tales are available to read online for free...

A cursed monkey's paw that grants three wishes.

1. The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs

Three wishes are granted to the owner of the Monkey's Paw, but the wishes come with an enormous price for interfering with fate. The story was first published in 1902 in the collection The Lady of the Barge.

2. The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood

A man accompanies his adventurous aunt to a notorious house where, a century ago, a servant was murdered by her jealous suitor. The story was first published in 1906 in the collection The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories.

3. The Scythe by Ray Bradbury

A man and his starving family discover a dead wheat farmer who is grasping a single blade of wheat and leaves his farm to who ever discovers him. The story was first published in the July 1943 issue of Weird Tales.

4. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

A small American town prepares for its annual tradition—a lottery in which every family must participate, and no one wants to win. The story was first published in the June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker.

5. The Outsider by H. P. Lovecraft

A mysterious individual who has been living alone in a castle for as long as he can remember decides to break free in search of human contact and light. The story was first published in the April 1926 issue of Weird Tales.


Welcome to the Scares!

My short story "Horror on Interstate 89" will be posted here on my blog this Halloween. I'm excited to release this sample story, and I think it will creep you out. This story is one of 16 tales I'm aiming to put in my upcoming anthology book. I'm hoping to get the book out by next Halloween on Amazon (ebook and paperback) if all goes as planned. The book is untitled for now. See you on October 31, 2022 for a creepy treat. 💀🍬