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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Gardner

6 Tips for your Students: Writing a Spooky Story

Spooky season is here which means it’s time for dressing up, apple bobbing and spooky stories! To get your class or children excited about writing this year, encourage their creativity with some terror-some tales. Take a look below at our tips on writing the creepiest story around!

Get your class inspired

When you enjoy writing, it naturally flows, so the first thing you want to focus on is inspiring your students! For the spooky season, spend time reading classic scary stories in class, such as R.L Steine’s Goosebumps series or Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Ensure you make it

as fun and engaging as possible when reading together by using props, costumes and different voices. If your students enjoy reading together as a class, they’ll find writing their own spooky stories more engaging.

Create the Perfect Character(s)

A story’s characters drive the plot, and during the spooky season there’s a whole host of different characters your students can employ. Get creative and draw or create your creepy characters together in class – it will help your students visualize them more and make the story easier to write!

A few character suggestions:

  • A friendly ghost

  • A witch

  • A monster

  • A werewolf

  • A vampire

The list is endless! How many can you and your class come up with?

Encourage your students to focus on one main character, with a few secondary characters. When creating their characters, ensure your students consider their background, family, age, likes and dislikes and everything else! It’s vital to know the character inside and out to build an interesting story.

Build Suspense

The key to any spooky story is building suspense… and it’s not always as difficult as it seems. Take a look at our top tips for driving up the tension and creating more intrigue in your writing!

  • End a chapter or section with a cliffhanger

Experiment with cliffhangers with your class, and then encourage them to use them in their own writing. What did the character find in that box in the attic? Who or what did they see in the haunted woods? Wait a little bit before you answer these questions, and the stories will be full of mystery.

  • Use ellipses

Ellipses are an easy way to create suspension in short bursts. Just remember to use them sparingly, otherwise they can lose all their dramatic effect. Experiment with using ellipses with your class by adding them on the end of various different sentences and seeing which work best.

  • Give characters interesting backstories

A character that has an interesting, mysterious backstory will always add intrigue to a plot. Encourage your class to think of an interesting history or secret that doesn’t come to light until the end of the story.

Set the Scene with a Good Description

To set the tone of a story, there’s nothing like a powerful description. Create a list of spooky adjectives with your class, and see how many your students can use in their writing. Some examples include:

  • Horrendous

  • Murky

  • Eerie

  • Unearthly

  • Beastly

  • Abandoned

  • Blood-curdling

What else can your class think of?

Use interesting adjectives to describe all elements of the story. Perhaps it was a foggy night during a particularly cold winter? How would you describe it? Or what could you say about the creaky door of an old abandoned house? Think about what you the readers should feel when reading, and how words can reflect this. Encourage your class to think outside the box and describe all elements of the story!

Develop an Interesting Plot

A story can have spooky characters and a creepy setting, but a good plot is the heart of a story. So how can you help your students write an interesting tale? Encourage your class to think of an exciting and scary incident that the story can revolve around. What will happen in the beginning, middle and end? A great way to get it going is by using spooky writing prompts. Need a few ideas? Take a look below!

  • You find an alien in your closet

  • You wake up as a different person every day

  • You find a mysterious old box in your attic

  • You have a sleepover in a haunted house for one night

  • You find an old book in library that has predicted some of the future

  • You become friends with a monster who keeps causing mischief

  • Your toys come to life when you sleep and wreak havov

  • You find a time capsule in your garden… but it’s from 100 years in the future

  • A group of witches moves in next door

  • Whenever you watch any TV show, the characters appear in your living room

  • You are sharing scary stories around a fire at summer camp, but one of them comes true…

Create a Spooky Setting

For a scary story, the setting is one of the most important parts, and can bring with it lots of exciting plots. Before your students begin writing their story, get them to think about where they want it to take place. To help them imagine it clearly, print out pictures of several different settings and encourage students to think about what they’d see, hear and smell, as well as what kind of people or creatures might be lurking there…

A few setting ideas to share with your class include:

  • A haunted castle

  • A graveyard

  • A church

  • A forest

  • An attic

  • An abandoned house

For more writing tips and tricks, visit BoomWriter and check out our spooktacular writing events for the spooky season!

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