How Do You Write a Horror Series?

How to write a horror series

If you have ever thought about writing books, you have probably heard that writing a series is the best way to make money. That may be true, but it can also be a lot of fun to plan a whole series, especially a horror series.

To start writing a horror series, first choose the type of series you want: interconnected, episodic or interlinked. Work out a plot structure that can carry over to several books. Create a central conflict and mini conflicts. Build an interesting and believable world to immerse the reader, and create memorable characters.

Writing a series takes a lot more planning than writing a stand-alone book. When writing a horror series, you also have to plan out the shocking moments to scare the reader. Horror requires sudden and shocking scares as well as a slow-burn sense of dread, so it can be more difficult to spread it over multiple books. It is possible, though. Here are some tips to get you started with writing a horror series.

Choose the Type of Serial to Write


A serial is a series of interconnected stories, in which every story is somehow related to the other stories. The serial can be a single long story or a collection of short stories. When writing a serial, it is often useful to introduce characters or themes from the first story early on, so that they can be expanded upon and further developed in later stories. This is because a serial does not work as a self-contained story; it only works because of the way it ties all of its stories together.

Between series, you must leave your leader with some unanswered questions, so that the reader can continue the adventure. If you do not do this, the reader will feel that there are too many loose ends left dangling at the end of each story.


The episodic is a collection of short stories that are connected only by the characters and their actions. Unlike the serial, each story does not have to have a relationship with others. There are many examples of episodic fiction in books and comic books, but it can be found in television shows as well: Doctor Who, The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the excellent BBC series), etc.


An interlinked story is one in which the various episodes are not necessarily directly connected but contain recurring themes and motifs. Examples of this kind of story can be found in the works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. In many ways, writing interlinked stories is more difficult than writing a serial or an episodic novel, because you need to ensure that your themes and motifs tie together without contradicting each other (as well as without boring the reader).

Suitable Plot Structure

After deciding the type of serial, you need to decide on the type of plot structure for your novel. Here are some of the most common ones:

Linear Plot Structure

The linear plot structure starts in one place and ends in another. It is very simple to write but can be very boring. To prevent it from becoming too simple, you can try to weave different subplots into your story. For example, if you write a horror novel that starts as an adventure story and then moves on to a romance novel, you will have increased the complexity of your story.

A cyclic plot structure

The cyclic plot structure is very similar to the linear plot structure, but it can be more complex. This type of plot structure has a beginning, an ending and several places in between that have smaller subplots. This can be very effective when you are writing about a character who changes over time or when you are writing about multiple points of view within the same story.

A circular plot structure

This type of plot structure is opposite to the linear plot structure. In other words, it begins and ends in the same place, but then it loops back and starts all over again. Within this type of story, you can only go from one place to another; you cannot go back, because there is nowhere else to go from that point onward.

A spiral plot structure

The spiral plot structure uses multiple loops that keep going over and over again. Use this type of story when you want to show that history is repeating itself in some way.

Series Structure

After deciding on the plot structure, you need to decide on the overall structure of your serial. Here are some of the most common types:


This type of series has each story taking place after the previous one, without any breaks in between. This is especially useful when you are writing a story that loops back over itself (like a cyclic or spiral plot arch).


This type of series has each story taking place in a parallel universe to the other stories. This storyline is best used when you want to show that time can be changed or events can be repeated, so it is not limited to only appearing in one book.

World Building

World building is simply the process by which you create a world for your characters to live and interact in. This type of story requires detailed backgrounds, cultures and other details about the world that your characters are in. In addition to describing the physical setting of your story, you must also effectively describe the society of the era that you are writing about. For example, if you write a book set in Victorian England, you will need to describe how social class is determined and how people live their lives.

In addition to describing the setting, you must also describe your world’s history. This is often called “world building”, but this is not strictly accurate. For example, if you wrote a story about geography, you would not need to explain why Mount Everest was in the Himalayas or why New York City existed where it did. However, people did not live in big cities and countries only a few hundred years ago; therefore, it is an important detail to include when writing a historical novel.

You also need to describe the languages, religions, culture and other aspects of the world that people would have in your story. For example, if you wrote a book set in China during the Tang Dynasty, you would describe everything from the language spoken by all of the main characters to what music was popular at this point in history.


The setting is one of the most important parts of your story. It is what gives your readers the feeling that they are actually there, in the story with your characters. It involves describing the physical setting, but it also involves describing the social setting. In addition, you need to describe how characters react to their surroundings.


Your characters need to feel something at all times. This is one of the most important parts of your story; without mood, your readers will not feel any connection to the characters.


Characters are the main way that you connect with your readers and make them feel like they are actually in the book. Everyone has a different personality, so you need to show each character’s traits and how they react to other people and situations within your story.

Not only do you need to describe each character’s personality, but also every action they make and every conversation they have. For example, if you write a story about an alien wizard who has adventures and fights bad guys, you will need to describe the wizard’s fighting style, his skills with magic, how his magic works and other things that make him unique.

If you have more than one character in your story, you will also need to name all of the characters for your readers to keep track of. It helps when writing a serial to relate characters to each other in some way. For example, if you write a serial about a hunter who fights monsters and trains with his friend, you will probably want to name him “Jack the Hunter” or “The Hunter”.

When naming your characters, you need to be descriptive. If you want your readers to know what the main character is feeling at all times (like in an action-adventure), use this kind of approach:

Meet Joe: He has a big scar across his face and wears faded blue jeans. He lives in a small apartment with his parents. He loves his girlfriend, Sarah. He is a mechanic and works at a garage with his best friend Charlie. Charlie also wears blue jeans and has a tattoo on his forearm of an eagle fighting a dragon, but he doesn’t live with his parents and wears faded green cargo pants.

Planning – Only as Much as Needed

There are many ways that you can use to plan out your story. However, before you start planning everything in your story, make sure that you have a good idea of what kind of book it will be. The best method is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What genres do I want to write?
  • Where do I want my series to take place? In an imaginary world? Another world? On another planet?
  • How much time do I have to write my novel? A trilogy? A series of novellas? Or a full-length novel?
  • How many characters will there be and what are their roles in the story?
  • What type of conflict will there be (physical, emotional, topical, political and so on)?
  • What theme do I want to explore in my book?
  • Is it a standalone novel or is it part of a series with other books already written and published?
  • How will my story’s beginning look?

Once you have answered these questions, you can start planning out your story. However, this is not the end of the process; there are further steps to take which will help you with writing your book.

If you plan out your book’s content ahead of time, it will also help you with organizing and planning the novel. This can save a lot of time when writing it because you will already have a general idea of what pages to write and how many times to repeat certain action sequences or scenes.

Central Conflict and Mini Conflict

Every story has two main conflicts: the central conflict and the mini conflict.

The central conflict is the main conflict that drives your story. It is your main character who is causing all of the action in the story and this is what makes it a novel. However, this shouldn’t be your only focus; there are many other things that you can include in your book. These minor conflicts are what keep your characters interesting throughout their story, but they are not as important as the central conflict.

The mini conflict is something that happens to one or more of your characters but does not impact the main story. For example, in Harry Potter, the mini conflict is finding out whether or not Harry really has Voldemort’s blood running through his veins. However, this conflict doesn’t have much impact on Harry’s character; it would have been just as easy for him to go back to Hogwarts and try another time to save Cedric Diggory by trying out for Quidditch again.

This is not to say that your story should include a mini conflict every time. However, if you have a very flat story where nothing interesting happens, you might want to add some kind of mini conflict. For example, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, his conflict was getting past the obstacle of the magical barrier to get into Hogwarts.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot of information here, but don’t let it intimidate you. The most important thing is that you write a story you can get lost in. As long as you are interested in the world you have created, and you want to find out what will happen to the characters you have dreamed up, then you are on the right track. Keep up the writing and try not to scare yourself too much.