3 Terrifying Tips on Scaring Your Readers

Hello Writer Bugs!

In any kind of fictional story, a little bit of terror can go a long way. But how do you strike fear in the hearts of your readers? Have no fear, I’m here to help! Here are three tips on how to scare your audience senseless.


Setting the Mood

A spooky setting can be a total game changer in a horror story. With this literary element, details are key. Paint a horrifying picture for the audience. No, that does not mean you need copious amounts of blood and guts spilled everywhere. Even the most ordinary places can be transformed into a scary environment. Build an atmosphere that unsettles readers, that only enhances the fear factor of the antagonist. Consider what the weather would be like, or how a room is furnished, or the architecture of a building. Once you provided them with vivid descriptions, let the audience’s imagination handle the rest. Not sure where to start in descriptions? When it doubt, the “it was a dark and stormy night” trick never fails in fiction.

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Solid Characters

In horror – or in any genre, really- you can’t skimp on the characters. The audience isn’t going to care about a damsel-in-distress, Mary Sue who happens to tumble into a haunted basement. And if readers don’t care, they won’t keep reading. And they won’t be afraid when that character is put in danger. Simple as that. However, they might care more about a child running around a creepy hotel. Create complex characters and give them real struggles, flaws and life problems that the audience can identify with. The goal is to make readers care and want to protect the main character. To make them feel like they could be standing in that character’s shoes, facing the same horrors. To have them biting their nails until the very end, just to make sure the character survives the ordeal.

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Pacing Makes Perfect

Specific phrasing or wording can enhance the scary factor in horror fiction. When you have longer sentences, it slows down the action, thereby torturing readers with the suspense. On the other hand, quick and short sentences can keep readers on their toes and get their hearts racing. Those fast, up-tempo phrasing works best when a character is running away from the monster or is internally spiraling into panic and confusion. If the scene doesn’t feel quite right, try switching up the pacing. This one element can change the entire vibe of a scene.

Last week, I experimented in writing horror. I noticed that using short sentences added to the claustrophobic feeling. I almost made myself panic as I was writing the story. And if it scares the writer, it will most definitely scare the reader.

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To my fellow writers out there, how do you go about scaring your audience? Also, with Halloween around the corner, what are you dressing up as for Halloween? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

A Victim At Midnight – (Short Horror Story)

“Poor kid. Didn’t stand a chance.”

There’s yellow police tape hanging across the doorway. Boot prints stained into the rug. Rain pounds against the windows. Sirens are flashing outside.

“What are you talking about?” I ask the detective. He looks through me, fishing for a cigar in his trench coat pocket instead. An entire department of police officers is surveying my living room. Furniture is toppled over. A discarded butcher knife on the floor. “You all need to leave. The landlord will kill me if….”

“Time of death?” The detective lights the cigar, takes a long drag. He stomps up the stairs, I follow. Feet barely touching the ground, as if I were floating. They don’t see me. None of them do.

“Around midnight,” A rookie cop supplies the answer, peering down at their notepad. “Friends say she insisted on walking home alone last night.”

“With a killer on the loose? Smart.”

Scratch marks on the wall leading to the bedroom. Picture frames with family photos are shattered.

“There’s been a mistake. I’m right here. Listen to me.” I plead with them, standing in their way. The detective passes right through me. “I’m here, I’m alive. I’m…”

A body –my body – is sprawled across the floor. A puddle of red soaks the carpet in the bedroom. Two puncture wounds in my neck. Anemic white skin. Eyes and mouth open, a face frozen in horror. I’m staring at my own corpse.

What happened to me? Think. I don’t remember much of last night. I don’t remember dying. But I remember fangs.

Her fangs.

Her claws.

Her voice.

I can’t breathe. Lungs emptied of oxygen. No pulse, only stillness. My chest is hollow. My skin is translucent rice paper. I begin to cry. Tears fall and I can’t feel them roll down my cheeks. I can’t feel anything. I am a wisp of air. A wandering soul trapped in Hell itself.

“P-Please. You have to help me!” I look the detective dead in the eye. “Please.” The lamp light flickers above us. Thunder rumbles.

“Think it’s the same one that killed the others? That’d be 5 deaths this week.”

The detective pulls a silver cross from around his neck. He nods. “Each one attacked around midnight. Each one drained of blood. Each one with lipstick on their face. It’s her, all right.”

They don’t hear me. I scream anyway. “It can’t end like this. My family, my friends, they need to know I’m okay. Tell them I’m okay.” The light flickers again. A chill enters the room.

“At least this kid put up a fight.” The detective remarks as they drape a sheet over my corpse.

The lights go out.


Hey Writer Bees! This week, I’m playing around with the horror genre. A genre I don’t have much experience writing in. But I do love a good challenge and a good ghost story. Let me know what you think of this short story in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Stay safe and stay creative. (And watch out for vampires!)

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

The Hallotober Tag

Hello Writer Bugs,

Couple weeks ago, I was tagged by Literary Liza to do the Hallotober Tag. And since I’ve been busy getting into the Halloween spirit, I thought a festive tag would be the perfect way to start October. Thank you very much for tagging me, Liza! Peeps, head over to her super cute blog and give her some love.

Here are the rules!

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post 
  • Put the rules at the beginning or after introduction
  • Answer the 13 questions 
  • Tag 13 people to do the tag 
  • Delete Question 13, add a new number one question of your own
  • You are free to use the tag image somewhere in the post

What’s your favorite spooky book?

As a kid, I grew up reading the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Those to me are the quintessential spooky stories. Never been to camp, but I’d imagine those are the kind of stories told at night around a campfire. As an adult, classic Edgar Allen Poe is my jam. Tell-Tale Heart is awesome. That’s the brand of spookiness I like. Those extraordinary situations that give me goosebumps on the back of my neck.

What’s your favorite thing about October?

Sweater weather, for sure. I love dressing in multiple cozy layers. Scarves on top of hoodies on top of flannel shirts on top of frumpy sweaters. We’ve had a hot summer, I’m ready for a chilly autumn full of crunchy leaves. There’s something satisfying about the sound of crunching leaves to my ears. Also, I’m looking forward to the fall foliage in New York. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Those beautiful warm golden colors. My boyfriend and I already planned a weekend trip upstate for mid-October, just to take a break from life and enjoy the season together.

 Are you a big celebrator of Halloween?

Autumn activities, like visiting a pumpkin patch or a haunted house, are always a blast. Fall fairs and festivals are wonderful too. Other than that, I don’t usually have a big celebration for Halloween. Usually, I stay home and watch a movie. If I feel like spoiling myself, maybe eat some sweets. Maybe send some sweets for my nieces and nephew. That’s about it.

What’s your favorite horror movie?

Does Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas count? I hope so. Gorey, jump-scare type movies aren’t my thing. I prefer fun spooky movies over blood-and-guts horror movies. Give me Scooby Doo on Zombie Island any day. Give me Alvin and the chipmunks meet the Wolfman. Give me Linus waiting in the pumpkin patch in Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Wholesome Halloween nostalgia over horror.

Would you rather a cozy night in watching horrors or a big night out in a costume?

I’d choose a cozy night in. Sweatpants and fuzzy socks included. Cuddles included. Preferably with salty snacks and popcorn too. Props to you guys who have big nights out. I’m too introverted for that sort of thing.

Which has been your most favorite costume to date?

When I was about five years old, I dressed as a purple octopus. Really explains a lot about myself as a person today.

Bobbing for apples or pin the hat on the witch?

Haven’t played either game, but if I had to pick, pin the hat on the witch.

How do you celebrate Halloween?

Usually, I stay home, with no plans. However, this year will be different. My boyfriend and I were invited to a costume party with some old college friends of ours. This is probably our first Halloween party as adults. Currently, we are searching for dorky costumes to wear. If you have any ideas for couples’ costumes, please let me know in the comments. We haven’t quite found the perfect outfits yet. 

What’s your least favorite horror?

The Ring. But let me explain. When I was little, I had that stereotypical teenager babysitter who watched R-rated movies. That scene where the girl is pushed down the well scared me for life. It was one of those moments when you are too terrified to look away. Yeah, I still cannot handle that movie.

Do you have a favorite trick or treating memory?

Growing up, I was the only girl in a friend group of boys. For the 90’s kids out there, I was always the Reggie Rocket of the gang. That being said, I have fond memories of trick-or-treating with the boys on a chilly night . My younger brother dressed like Yu-GI-Oh. The other kids dressed as ninjas and pirates. And me, in an orange tutu and butterfly wings. Then, at the end of the night, we sat around a pile of candy and traded pieces. “I’ll give you two Kit-Kats for a tootsie-pop.” “Deal!” Those were the days, huh?

What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?

The spooky vibes. The decorations. People in costumes. Pets in costumes.

Scary costume or silly costume?

Silly. I don’t do scary costumes. And I don’t do sexy costumes either, for that matter. Is it wrong to just like cute, comfortable costumes? Or better yet, regular clothes that look like a character’s outfit from a cartoon or T.V. show?

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Gummy bears or gummy lifesavers are my favorite. Gummy anything really. I’m allergic to dairy, so I had to steer clear from most chocolate candies. Although I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, honorable mentions for favorite candy would be Jolly Ranchers and Starbursts. 


My Questions

  1. What’s your favorite spooky book?
  2. What’s your favorite thing about October?
  3.  Are you a big celebrator of Halloween?
  4. What’s your favorite horror movie?
  5. Would you rather a cozy night in watching horrors or a big night out in a costume?
  6. Which has been your most favorite costume to date?
  7. Bobbing for apples or pin the hat on the witch?
  8. How do you celebrate Halloween?
  9. What’s your least favorite horror?
  10. Do you have a favorite trick or treating memory?
  11. What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?
  12. Scary costume or silly costume?
  13. Have you every had a ghostly encounter?

I tag my blogger buddy and poet extraordinaire Jai Lynn to do this tag. And anyone else who wants to participate in this tag. Have fun!

Stay safe and stay creative!

— Lady Jabberwocky

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

How to Consistently Create Content for Your Blog

Hey Writer Bees,

I received another great question from my Q&A, this one from dharkanein. They write:

Congrats dear. I just want to know how you keep yourself on track…of course of writing daily that too for such a long period. As I have gone much up and down through this journey and stop writing…and I too have completed my 4 years of blogging a week ago. So basically I want a tip for the consistency.

First off, congrats on your 4 years of blogging. That’s awesome!

Its a lot of pressure to create blog content consistently. Other bloggers will probably agree. Regularly pumping out content can be stressful sometimes. Here are three ways I keep myself on track and stay consistent.

Have a Schedule

Calendar GIFs | Tenor

Maintaining a posting schedule is super important. When you set yourself up with deadlines, you fall into a rhythm. Choose a specific “post day” and find a schedule that works best for you. For me, I post prompts on Monday and on Friday, I post writing tips and stories. That 2-posts-a-week routine fits my life. I try to stick to that plan as best I can, but things happen. And when they do, you can’t be too hard on yourself. Scheduling posts ahead of time helps manage that posting plan too. I have a couple weeks worth of prompts pre-scheduled for September. If you can’t write ahead of time, have a general idea of what you want to write about on posting day. Honestly, most of my Friday posts are written Thursday night. I’m a self-proclaimed procrastinator, but I’m a procrastinator with deadlines and those deadlines keeps me on track.

Knowing Your Voice

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In every post, I use the same tone and voice. When I started this blog, I wanted to write about writing in a candid, conversational way. I didn’t want to sound like a professor giving a lecture. I wanted content to sound fun and relaxed but also informative and honest. Readers should expect the same kind of content each time they read a post. When you write a post, remember who your audience is. Remember the tone you are going for. Keeping the overall vibe the same is a big part of being consistent as a blogger.

Brainstorming Ideas

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Easier said than done, but brainstorming posts ahead of time helps with consistency. Sometimes, post ideas happen when you least expect. I always keep a scrap of paper or notebook handy, just in case inspiration strikes. Lately, I’ve been daydreaming about blog ideas while brushing my teeth or doing the dishes. I’ll just stop for a second and think ‘huh, that’d be a good post for the blog’ then write it down. If you build up a stock pile of potential posts, ideas that suit your niche, you’ll have ideas ready for when you need them. And you won’t be scrambling to write a post last minute. Because, let’s be real, we’ve all been there.


Thank you for the awesome question. Hope you find these tips helpful.

To my fellow bloggers out there, how do you keep consistent with your blogging? How do you stay on track and manage it all? Share your experience in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Thank you to 1,000 Followers!

Hello Writer Bees,

I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this.

My little blog has reached 1,000 followers.

Thank you very much for all the love and support and well wishes. I truly have the most wonderful readers out there, I’m so incredibly lucky. For me, it isn’t about views or follower counts. I just want to inspire and encourage others in their creative endeavors. Hope to get back to doing that soon.

I’m currently on a break. Still figuring out how to juggling everything – a blog, a day job, a WIP – while keeping my mental health in mind. Learning to not be so hard on myself. Maybe the world won’t come to an end if I need to occasionally miss a Friday post.

I’ve been taking the time to focus on my mystery WIP. Editing is a challenge, but it’s coming along. Who knows? Maybe someday it will be ready for an actual audience.

Oh! And next week, my boyfriend and I are going on a little weekend vacation. I think he’s been feeling burnt out lately too. We’re both overdue for a break. We’ll take some time for ourselves, to relax and to forget about real world responsibilities. Everybody needs that once in a while right?

Once again, thank you all for… Everything. Really, you guys are amazing. I’m grateful to have an outstanding readership of fellow creatives.


Got a question for me and my experience as a writer? Ask away! I’m an open book.

Got a problem with your WIP? I’m here to help!

Got a question about fiction writing or freelance writing? Lemme know in the comments!


Stay safe and keep writing!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Taking a Break from Blogging (Mental Health Check)

Hello Writer Bees,

Ever feel like a candle burning at both ends?

Yeah, me too.

For some time now, I’ve being feeling stretched thin. Pushing myself and trying to everything until my battery depleted.

Keeping my mental health in mind, I need to take a step back from blogging. That might mean no Friday posts for awhile, or posting every other week, or reposting old posts. I’m not sure yet. Prompts of the Week will still be happening on Mondays though. The next few weeks will be up in the air. Sorry about that, I hope you guys understand.

This is such a hard post for me to write. I feel guilty. Creating content and encouraging other writers is my passion. I feel guilty about taking a break, like I’m letting you guys down. But when your head and heart need some time off, it’s not about when it’s convenient for others. It’s about taking care of yourself, so you can take care of others. Guess I’m still learning that.

I need to focus on life outside of the blog for a bit.

Thank you all for understanding and supporting my humble little blog. It means a lot to me.

Stay safe and keep writing.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Month of Mystery Wrap Up!

Hello Writer Bees!

May of Mystery was awesome, in my opinion! Thank you all so much for stopping by and celebrating mystery fiction with me. All of your comments were wonderful. Felt like you guys really got into the spirit of detective fiction. In case you missed it, here is a wrap up of all the posts from May of Mystery.

Mystery Prompts of the Week

Main Friday Posts


Another Genre Themed Month?

This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for awhile now. May of Mystery was fun and all you amazing readers really seemed to enjoy it. If I do another month dedicated to a specific genre, what genre should I focus on? Fantasy? Horror? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Apologies for the short post this week. I’ve been feeling sick and exhausted, but I didn’t want to let you guys down. What do you want to see next on this blog? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and keep writing!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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3 Easy Ways to Gain Your First Blog Followers

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope all is well in your world.

You know what question I’ve been asked a bunch of times in the comments lately? How do you gain a following on your blog? Some of you seem genuinely interested in building an audience, which is great! Part of the fun of having a blog is growing a readership. I’m happy to help as best I can.

Bear in mind, in no way do I consider myself a professional blogger. I’m just a lady with a blog, who writes posts every week and likes to connect with the writing community. But If my personal experience enlightens you, then I’m willing to share what I know and what I’ve experienced. So today, I’m talking about some easy ways to increase your blog follower count.

Post Regularly

Have a schedule and be consistent with it. If your posts are unpredictable, readers won’t know when to stop by your blog. They won’t know when to hop on the bus if the bus arrives at different times. Construct a timetable that works best for you. Whether it’s once a week or everyday at noon, commit to posting on a specific day and creating content on a regular basis. That way, readers will know when to tune in and can rely on you for consistent content. And overtime, the audience will gravitate towards your chosen “post day”. Another quick tip, consider having themed days. I’ve seen a lot of creators do “fiction Fridays” or “speed build Sundays”. It may seem a bit gimmicky, but those can also draw a crowd.

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Blogging schedules are also great for bloggers too, not just the audience. They help get you in the routine of blogging. No need to be incredibly strict with it. Schedule’s can be changed and be flexible. Life happens. When I first started out, I posted whenever I felt like it. Not many folks checked out my blog. Soon enough, I realized this sporadic schedule wasn’t working for me or potential readers. I had to make a change and really think about a proper schedule for the Lady Jabberwocky blog. How often do I want to post? Twice a week was a good fit for my content. I do my best to get a post out every Monday and Friday. And that works for me and my readers.

Stick with a Subject

I dedicated an entire post to finding you blogging niche for a reason. When your blog topic is unfocused or covers varying subjects, it may be difficult to grow an audience. However, if the topic is too specific, you won’t gain much traction either. Balance is the key. When you are clear and concise with the blog’s subject matter, readers with notice. No matter your blogging niche, there is a target audience who’d really enjoy your content. Tags are super important, by the way. They help wandering readers find posts they’re interested in. When you write a blog post, make sure there are a bunch of tags attached. Honestly, the more, the merrier. You can really grab an audience’s attention with the right tags. Tags are a way for readers to find you and your content.

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I write about creative writing. Some days, I’ll share my personal journey as a fiction writer and freelance writer. Some days, I’ll share writing advice and words of encouragement for fellow creators. Some days, I’ll share a story. All of these different bubbles are all covered under the umbrella of ‘creative writing’. And in every one of my posts, there’s at least a dozen tags. Sure, some words may seem silly or repetitive, but I think of it as tossing a wide net. Whatever draws readers in, am I right?

Connect with the Community

Connect with others in your online community. On WordPress, search tags and words that are relevant to your niche. See what other bloggers are writing about. Make sure to like, comment and share their posts. Find and follow blogs centered around your blog’s topic. It’s a good way of meet and connect with bloggers swimming in the same waters as you. When you subscribe to another blog, they might subscribe back to yours. I don’t want it to sound like an ulterior motive, but it has worked for me. ‘Follow for follow’ tactics do work, especially when you are starting out.

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Also, consider joining other social media platforms. Spreading your blog on multiple platforms means more eyes are looking, which means more potential readers. And it’s easier to connect with people that have similar interests to you on social sites. If I knew then what I know now, I would have joined Twitter when I started this blog. It wasn’t a big mistake, in the grand scheme of things. Frankly, I sometimes wonder if my follower count would be different if I have expanded to other social media platforms sooner. Just some food for thought. Hindsight is 2020.


At the end of the day, it’s not about how many followers you have, it’s about creating awesome content. Don’t start a blog with hopes of becoming some famous influencer. Start a blog because you have something to say, because you have something you love and want to share with the world.

I started this blog to share my writer experience and to encourage others in their creative endeavors. That motive keeps me blogging. And for the record, I wrote this post during my lunch break. And I’m quite pleased with it. See? Make the most out of your time.

Shout outs are in order. Thanks to thereallydimoo and Faye Arcand for reaching out and asking about building a following. Hope I answered your question. I did my best.

Stay safe and keep writing, writer bees.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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