The Art of Horror Writing: Crafting a First Line That Will Leave Readers Wanting More #amwritinghorror #writingcommunity #horrorcommunity

Horror novel writing tips

When it comes to horror novels, the first line is crucial. It's the first thing that readers see, and it sets the stage for the entire story. It needs to be gripping, intriguing, and, above all, terrifying. You want to inspire the reader to keep reading.

The first line should be crafted to grab the reader's attention and draw them in, making them want to read on to find out what happens next. A good horror novel's first line should leave the reader with a sense of unease, foreshadowing the horrors to come.

Below is a video where I take random books I found on Amazon and judge their first lines. You can see how a reader judges your first line.


Think about some of the most iconic horror novels in history. "Josh and I hated our new house" from R.L. Stine or "Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house." from Neil Gaiman are both opening lines that are memorable and set the tone for the story. Horror novels are no different.

Here are some examples of great horror novel first lines:

"The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years--if it ever did end--began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain." - Stephen King, IT

"The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted." - Joe Hill, NOS4A2

"I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ." - Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

Each opening line sets the tone for the horror story that follows. They create a sense of unease and dread, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat, eager to find out what happens next.

When writing a horror novel, take the time to craft a first line that will grip your reader and draw them into your terrifying world. The first line sets the tone for the entire story, and it could make or break your book. 

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