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Horror screenwriting requires an aptitude and ability to write creatively and in accordance with horror screenwriting standards. Besides these, an insight into what constitutes horror will be of great help. Also, you must decide whether you want your script to be action-driven or character-driven. The latter is better for horror screenwriting since a horrid character or creature propels the story forward with a more eerie effect. Since the dawn of time, people have enjoyed being scared.
Hollywood is currently realizing the need for producing low-budget movies especially those belonging to the horror category. Screenwriters are being encouraged to take to horror screenwriting, delving deep into the subconscious mind to craft compelling yet strange stories. A few helpful tips to do so include the following:
- Start the script with a bang. The writer should hook the audience within the first ten pages such they want to know what is coming next. Even if the plot is dealing with the old faithful vampires or zombies, give a cool twist to it so that the viewers' senses are engrossed completely without feeling that they 'have seen it before'.
- Use sounds and lights to bring in a haunting effect in horror screenwriting. For example, claustrophobic thunder, lighting, a dark night, loud shrieking, heavy rain, and wolves howling convey a much more frightening affect than a dozen dialogues.
- Wide-eyed spectators move to the edge of the seat by plots about psychopaths or murderers out on the prowl. Anything that cannot be explained by human reasoning provokes a scary sensation in the audience. While undertaking horror screenwriting, maintain the mystery till the very end, and perhaps end on an unforeseeable note, leaving the viewers shuddering to the bones.
- Generally, horror films do not need the support of prominent sub-plots. They only tend to confuse viewers and may even neutralize the horrific atmosphere.
- Place the hero in a tight corner where he cannot escape the terror.
- Whet the audience's dread by first introducing something that turns out to be a farce.
- Several times let the evil attack the hero. This furthers the apprehension of the audience, setting their adrenaline rushing.
Most novices find it beneficial to work with a professional horror screenwriter. This can save a lot of time and effort writing scenes that will not work within your horror script. Even experienced horror writers benefit by working with and gaining advice and tips from other screenwriters.
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