Horror comedy can be tricky to write because you must make the reader laugh while also scaring them. If you use too much humour, the story can become silly but, if you use too much horror, it isn’t funny anymore.
To write a horror comedy story, focus on creating fear with the right setting and tone. Reduce unnecessary information and focus on the characters and events. Then, build up the tension with small events and end the story on a high note.
Read some Horror Comedy Tropes here
If you get the recipe right, horror comedy is one of the best genres to write. It has all the creepy scares that we love, but it also has the fun factor that makes horror stories so engaging. Here are some of the ways to write a horror comedy.
Focus on Fear
Most horror comedies have a dark and suspenseful undertone that keeps the audience on edge. This tension is usually built up through a series of scary gags or scenes that take place in a creepy setting. Here are some tips on how to focus on fear:
Use the right setting
Most horror comedies take place in an ordinary space. This is because typical settings allow the audience to relate to the characters, thus making it easier for them to become immersed in the story.
It also allows you to add details that are usually uncommon in a common setting. For example, if you are doing a story about ghosts haunting an apartment complex then you can add slight details that suggest that something supernatural is happening like flickering lights or objects floating mid-air.
Use the right tone
Fear and humour can be brought to life through tone. Most horror comedies are done with a combination peppy and tense tone.
This is done on purpose to convey the feeling of fear and tension in the audience’s mind while having enough energy for humour. By doing this, you will create a more effective story.
These tones give you more freedom in developing your characters and setting. They also help create fear and humour in your audience’s mind.
Get into your character’s head
Scary situations are most effective when the main characters are involved. This gets more focus from the reader and allows you to build up suspense.
For example, if you have a scene where a character has been chased by ghosts then make sure that the audience can see what the character sees. It will be scary if they see ghosts in the darkness.
Don’t let the audience see the ending
The ending of a horror comedy is often more suspenseful than a scary scene taken alone.
Do not reveal everything that happens to your characters throughout the story. Leave some surprises for the climax.
Good comedy and good horror never reveal the punchline. Build tension, let it hang, and then hit the reader with the outcome.
Reduce the Bloat
When writing horror comedies, it is essential that you reduce the amount of information you include.
This is because too much information will kill the tension and make your audience lose interest.
It is often better to include only what the reader needs to know. This will keep them engaged and will allow them to have a fuller understanding of the story.
The following are some tips on reducing the amount of information:
Use action to simplify
When it comes to writing horror, you must focus on the underlying events of the story. Keep your audience engaged by showing them what’s happening with action.
For example, in a scene where a character gets attacked by ghosts, show how they run away and collapse in fear. This will help the audience understand what’s going on, and build fear because they can relate.
Read more about writing Action Horror here
Cram the facts at the end
Try leaving out facts and details in your story.
Instead, you should focus on developing your characters and setting. That way when you reveal information to your audience it will make sense instead of seeming random.
Often, the details you leave out will create intrigue and keep the reader interested.
Use the right details
Some details can be useful in reducing the bloat in your story while others can take away from the fear.
You should only use the details that will help your audience understand what’s happening and feel fear.
For example, if a character is being chased by ghosts then it is not necessary to mention the details of the room they are running through. Nor is it important to describe the way they are running.
You can just say that a presence is chasing the character and they madly pulled open the door or something like that. This lets the reader know that the character is afraid, they are running, they are in a room, they must get to another room through the door etc. You don’t have to say everything.
Use the Right Flow
Flow means controlling how information is displayed to your audience. In horror comedies, you should focus on a slow build-up to a climax.
Fast reveals will take away from the suspense and make it seem like you are rushing through your story.
The following are tips on how to use the right flow:
Introduce the characters early
The best way to use flow is to introduce your characters early in the story. This allows your audience to get a sense of who they are and how they act before you start revealing big events.
You should also make sure that you incorporate suspense into the characters’ introductions so that your audience becomes interested. This will also give you more freedom in exploring their personalities as they face challenges and solve problems throughout your story.
Start with small events
When starting a horror comedy, it is better to start with small revelations. Slowly build up tension and suspense before revealing more information to your audience.
It takes time for your audience to get interested in your characters and understand them.
End with a bang
The best way to end a horror comedy is by having a big reveal and a big climax. You could have the payoff to a running joke or have the characters spectacularly defeat evil.
The reader should end the story on a high so don’t worry too much about an epilogue or wrapping up loose ends. All the loose ends should be tied up neatly by the time the protagonist makes it to the climax.