Some people think that horror writing is all about the scare effect. You want to present your readers with an event so terrifying that they will think about the book for months to come. However, this isn't always the case. Horror isn't just about creating something so scary and horrific that people can't get it off their minds. It is also about introducing something that is so beyond emotional that they don't want to think about it. It's about creating a scenario that truly frightens your readers. But, how do you do this with fear and mystery?

You have to remember that fear and mystery are connected.

Fear is something we all experience, whether it is something we are afraid of or something we are truly scared of. Fear is the anticipation of something bad happening. Mystery, on the other hand, is like solving a puzzle. According to Joseph Blake Parker, we have to remember that humans fear what they don't understand. This is also applicable for a horror story. Readers don't need all of the answers up front.

The fear of not knowing

Fear is an interesting cup of tea. Some authors thrive on fear because it is a way to truly push the envelope when it comes to introducing a horrific act. These writers play on fear to scare readers, but also to keep them turning the pages. It can be an internal fear, or it could be the fear that something may happen to the protagonist.

It's important to know that a mystery novel can still be categorized as a horror novel if you play on this fear. A mystery is all about not knowing something, and not having the answer to something can cause fear. Who is the serial killer stalking the young women? No one knows. You could be sitting next to him.

A desperate journey for the truth

A mystery is about solving a puzzle. It's about finding the answers to the questions posed in the book. For example, in a murder mystery, it's about finding out who killed the victim. Once you have an explanation, you don't have a mystery anymore. The puzzle is solved. Once your readers understand this explanation, they will cease to be afraid.

The fear has dissolved, but they may have a lingering fear that the crime you've presented in your book could happen again. You will often see movies play on this fear by ending the movie with a hint that the nightmare isn't over. Maybe the killer escaped a mental institution. Maybe the flesh-eating disease isn't cured. Maybe the spirit in the mirror is still very dangerous.

How do you combine mystery and fear in your horror novels?