Stephen King is the mastermind behind some of the best-selling horror novels on the market. He has mastered the art of scaring readers through the words on the page and he is frequently publishing new books. Many writers try to replicate his success but he has managed to create an empire because he understands the difference between horror and terror. According to Bustle, he has described three different kinds of terror and he uses them in his novels to create the exact kind of fear that he is aiming for. In other words, he uses these feelings, emotions, and fears to create the ideal situation in his four novels.

In order to write just like Stephen King, it's important that authors understand the three different types of terror that he tries to use in his novels. These three are different because they give readers different reactions. As an author, it's your responsibility to know when to use each kind of terror to create the best possible impact.

The gross-out

There's nothing appetizing about a severed head, a severed finger, or any other kind of body part that's laying out for everyone to see. King explains that the gross-out is the kind of terror that people experience when they see a severed body part. Or when the lights go out in the basement. It can also be a slimy spatter that you all of a sudden find on your arm and you don't know what it is.

It's the "ew" factor that authors use that also creates a sense of fear and panic.

The horror

While some people may freak out when a spider climbs up your arm, Stephen King believes that the core element of horror is something that truly starts to spread panic. He describes it as the unnatural, such as monsters. Not every author likes the idea of writing about monsters, as it may not be real enough for what they're trying to create.

But the horror can also be massive spiders or even zombies walking up and taking a bite out of your arm. The horror is really the next step up from the gross-out factor discussed above, as people who experienced the horror factor may have a tingling down their spine or perhaps even let out a scream.

The terror

The last level of terror is extreme terror and according to Stephen King, it's the worst one.

King explains this kind of terror is like you coming home from a night out and realizing that someone is in your house. It's a kind of terror that when the lights go out in the basement and you're not alone. It could also be you feeling someone breathing down your neck or perhaps even you feel a knife at your throat.

This is the kind of terror that makes you question whether you're going to be alive in a few seconds. Of course, this is the kind of terror that some authors strive for but it might be better if you use it sparingly rather than continuously in your novels.

How do you use Stephen King's three levels of terror in the novels?