Now that we talked a little about the basics of horror, let’s get into the messy translation of writing. How do you brainstorm ideas then rip them out of your brain and nail them, squirming, to the page?
When it comes to generating the first spark that can evolve into a story, there are a few approaches worth taking. The simplest is just to leave yourself open to ideas. If you feed your imagination a steady diet of books and music and horror and art and anything else that transports you to other worlds and perspectives, you’ve probably been struck by the sneaky arrows of inspiration.
I asked u/CommonGrackle where some of her ideas come from:
“Literally, shower thoughts. I'll just be chilling there, washing my hair and my brain goes, "what if ducks were bigger and very aggressive carnivores?" I think having an active imagination that cannot be reined in is part of what makes writers who they are.”
The trouble with ideas is that they can be quick, slick, hard-to-catch. They’re stealthy, too, and an idea might be there and gone before you even realize it. If your goal is writing, in any genre, teaching yourself to recognize the random thoughts that might grow into plots is essential. I’d recommend taking notes, either by hand or on your phone. Jot down anything that leaps out to you over the course of the day whether it’s something usual you see, a dream, the way a song makes you feel. The more you get used to catching all ideas in motion, the better you’ll become at recognizing the ones with potential.
Staying open to inspiration is great but sometimes you need to be more active in tracking down the story. Both CommonGrackle and I agree that putting yourself in a comfortable place, turning on some music, and brainstorming can get the ideas flowing. Rehn likes to create outlines but usually only rough ones, the bones of a house that he can connect as he sees fit during the story. I usually avoid outlines unless it’s long-form fiction like a novel. Whether you’re a planner or a seat of your pantser, here are some good tips I found from author Jeff Goins on breaking Writer’s Block: https://goinswriter.com/how-to-overcome-writers-block/