Horror Writing Prompts: 61 Ideas to Write Your Next Maniacal Masterpiece

Introduction: What are Horror Writing Prompts?

Horror writing prompts are ideas or suggestions to stimulate creativity and develop better spooky stories. They can be anything from a word or sentence, or even an emotion that you might need to portray in your story. Anything creepy or disturbing to come up with jump shocks or slow-burn creep.

When you are writing horror stories, be they six word wonders or massive novels, then horror writing prompts will help kick-start your inspiration.

The Best Horror Writing Prompts You Should Be Using for Your Next Story

Horror is one of the most popular genres in literature and film. It has been around for centuries, and it will continue to be popular. Horror stories are also a great way to explore the darker side of human nature, which can often be more interesting than the light-hearted fare that dominates much of our media. 

There are many ways to write a horror story, but one of the most popular ways is with horror prompts. These prompts are short pieces of text that help writers get started when they don’t know how to start their story or when they’re looking for inspiration.

The best horror writing prompts can be found by looking at your own fears.

  • What scares you the most?
  • What is your secret phobia?
  • What is your personal nightmare?
  • What keeps you awake at night?

Look deep inside yourself to uncover the horror.

What makes a story super scary?

A horror story makes the reader feel fear and unease.  It is designed to frighten, scare, or shock its readers. It can make them feel terror or great suspense. It is usually in the form of a fictional, supernatural, or science-fiction story. Horror stories usually have a villain or monster that is threatening to harm the protagonist. The horror may come from the presentation of disturbing events, such as violence and murder; it may also come from an atmosphere of extreme suspense and tension.

Some people say that what makes a story scary is when there are ghosts, monsters, or other frightening things in it. Others say that what makes a story scary is when it’s about someone who gets hurt or dies or when something bad happens to them (such as getting kidnapped). Some people prefer the  suspenseful element of it. There are many suspenseful scenes in horror movies and novels that make them scary to watch or read. Suspenseful scenes usually involve some kind of threat or danger, like a killer hiding in the closet.

If something makes your skin creep or crawl, that’s horror! Now lets get to the horror writing prompts.

Start Writing with These Never-Fail Horror Writing Prompts.

Horror stories explore our deepest fears. It is the ultimate form of suspense, and it’s one of the most popular genres in literature. Horror stories can be found in novels, short stories, movies, comics, video games, and even some poetry.

In this section, you will find 61 horror writing prompts to help you get your creative juices flowing or to just have a little fun this Halloween!

  1. The house was old and decrepit with peeling paint that seemed to be coming off in flakes. It looked as if it had been abandoned for years with no one living there since the last decade. But there was a light on inside – so someone must be inside.
  2. You’re walking through an abandoned house, when you see something moving in the shadows. 
  3. A woman wakes up in her bedroom with no memory of the last few hours before she went to sleep. She looks around her and sees that her dresser drawers are open and clothes are strewn all over the floor
  4. A man takes his dog for a walk in the woods and has an eerie feeling he’s being followed by someone
  5. You’ve been invited to spend Halloween night in an abandoned house on the edge of town, but you soon realize that there are things inside that house that don’t want you there
  6. Your child says they are being bullied at school but a kid called Tom, but when your speak to the principal she says there is nobody called Tom at the school.
  7. A man wakes up in a hospital bed after being knocked out for days with no memory of what happened to him
  8. What would happen if your nightmares were coming true right before your eyes?
  9. You’re sitting at home alone one evening when your doorbell rings – you don’t have a doorbell. 
  10. A person wakes up in a room that is unfamiliar to them and they can’t remember why they’re there.
  11. You come home and find that your house has been ransacked.
  12. You wake up in the middle of the night to someone screaming your name from outside your window.
  13. The protagonist is lost in an unfamiliar place and suddenly realizes they can’t find their way back home
  14. You’re walking home from school when suddenly, without warning, everything goes black.
  15. If you could see one person’s thoughts before they died, who would it be and what would they be thinking about right before they died?
  16. A child’s room is full of blood, but nobody knows why.
  17. What would happen if you were told that everyone had been given a second chance at life?
  18. What’s the scariest place you’ve ever been to?
  19. A man wakes up from a coma after being in a car accident. He realizes that he has amnesia and can’t remember anything from before his accident, but he also notices that his body is covered with scars and wounds. 
  20. Have you ever dreamed about something so scary that it woke you up and left your heart racing and your skin feeling like it was crawling with bugs? 
  21. You wake up in a room without any furniture or windows. The walls are completely white and there is nothing else around you except for an old-fashioned phone on the floor next to your feet. What do you do?
  22. What if your neighbour was always watching you from their window?
  23. What if you went to sleep as usual, but couldn’t wake up?
  24. What would happen if all of the clocks in the world suddenly stopped working?
  25. A man is driving down the highway when he feels something moving on his leg. 
  26. What if you found out your worst fear was real?
  27. An object that has been in your family for generations and is now haunted by its past.
  28. The doctor tells you that you have a terminal illness and only has a few months to live.
  29. What if your family was killed in front of you?
  30. A man takes an old family photo album out of his closet to reminisce about his childhood memories and realises he’s not in any of the pictures.
  31. A man wakes up in the middle of the night to find his wife missing from their bed. He searches the house and finds her in the kitchen, holding a knife.
  32. Your past has come back to haunt you
  33. The protagonist lives in constant fear of death
  34. You’re sitting in class, when suddenly you see your teacher’s thoughts – they’re planning on murdering every student in the classroom!
  35. You’re walking home from school and see a person dressed in all black walking towards you.
  36. What if you saw your reflection in the mirror and it wasn’t your own?
  37. You find out that someone close to you was trying to kill you?
  38. You wake up in the middle of the night and see someone standing at the end of your bed staring at you.
  39. The protagonist wakes up after being asleep and discovers ten/one hundred/one thousand years have passed.
  40. What if you were living alone in an old house and noticed something odd about the fireplace.
  41. The protagonist has a recurring nightmare where they’re being chased by something terrifying, and that day, they see the thing in daylight.
  42. You’ve been invited to your old best friend’s house for dinner, but when you arrive they don’t answer the door. You walk around looking for them and find their back door broken open.
  43. What would be the absolute worst way to die?
  44. You’re in the countryside, and you find a barn with a strange light coming from inside.
  45. A man has been following you for days, what should you do?
  46. You’re at home alone when you hear something outside your house. You go out of your front door and see someone standing there
  47. You find out that your new neighbour is a serial killer.
  48. You notice friends go missing one by one.
  49. You’re trapped in a dark tunnel with no way out.
  50. A person wakes up from a dream only to find out it was not just a dream
  51. You were walking home from school when you saw a man running from your house.
  52. A man wakes up in a room, he doesn’t know where he is and he can’t remember anything about his life. He reaches for a cup of water and suddenly everything comes back to him at once – what happened last night, who he is, what his name is…
  53. Your roommate has been acting weird lately and is doing strange things at night while you’re asleep.
  54. Your uncle was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was younger, but he seems perfectly normal now.
  55. A woman goes into a room and sees her dead husband on the bed.
  56. Someone finds out your darkest secret.
  57. You’re in a dark alley and hear footsteps coming closer and closer.
  58. You seen an alert on your cell phone – there’s a serial killer loose in your neighbourhood.
  59. Your favourite toy came alive while you were playing with it.
  60. You’re walking home from work late one night when suddenly an animal jumps out from behind you.
  61. You hear strange noises coming from your attic at night and think there might be a ghost living there. 

Six Word Horror Stories as writing prompts

Horror stories don’t have to be thousand-page tomes from the likes of Stephen King.  You can write a six-word horror story in just six words. These tiny little micro fictions make perfect horror writing prompts. Use the technique to distil your ideas before diving into a longer piece of fiction.

If you want even more ideas, why not try this handy horror plot generator?

Examples of Six Word Horror Stories to use as horror writing prompts

Unlocking the cage, she stepped out.

Man… in the walls… is watching…

I smiled. My reflection did not.

Darling, this tea tastes of almonds…

In bed, I hear IT breathing.

Each fingernail was slowly peeled back.

Conclusion: Making the Most of Our Horror Writing Prompts

We all have a dark side. It is time to unleash it.

Horror stories are a great way for us to let go of our inhibitions and explore our deepest fears. The best horror stories are those which deal with the human condition and not just jump scares. Hopefully, these horror writing prompts will kick you off with some new scary stories.

And if you write a really great six word horror story, whether you used these horror writing prompts or not, why not enter it in our FREE contest?

Do feel free to add your own preferred horror writing prompts in the comments section!

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