People are scared of different things. Some people are scared of the dark. Others freeze up completely when they see a spider. Fear is an interesting concept, and crime novels often play on fear, as the readers are left feeling lucky that they are not experiencing the grief and emotions the Main Character is dealing with. Of course, there is a level of horror in a crime novel, as the readers are scared of whatever is happening in the book. Maybe they are scared of the crime itself, or maybe they are scared the crime won't be solved because of the incompetent detective, who suffers from a drinking problem.

When you are writing your crime novel, think of it like a horror story. You want to have a level of fear and horror in your book, as a crime is something scary. Whether its someone being gunned down in an alley or a child being kidnapped, there's a level of fear. Your readers don't want to be the victim and they surely don't want whatever crime you are detailing to happen to you.

What constitutes being scary?

When you are writing your novel, you must think about how scary you want your story to be. Some writers thrive on the fear factor: the more nervewracking detail the better. Others try to go for a more realistic story, where science and grief play a role. The scene isn't described as blood dripping down the walls, but more in terms of hair and fingerprints.

It becomes a scientific mystery rather than a horrific tale.

It's important to understand the difference between Horror And Terror. When you watch a horror movie, you may get certain shock effects. They are small bursts of shock and fear, where you are left with disgust or a sense of surprise. Maybe the villain jumps out from behind a door and you are shocked.

But you are also surprised because you were convinced he died in the fire that happened 10 minutes prior.

With terror, you don't necessarily get that surprise effect. Terror is when you manage to create such fear that your audience thinks about it for a while. They leave the theatre with a sense of shock. They think about your book for weeks because they can't get over how terrifying the story - or a single scene - was.

It isn't just a temporary shock or surprise. Terror lingers.

Can you use both?

You are able to use both kinds of fear in a story, especially if you can make it work without overdoing the horror aspect. If you are writing a story and you are trying to put in too many shock effects or terrifying scenes, you may lose your reader. The story isn't believable and your main character may not be relatable. You can create a few horrific scenes that set the tone for the main character and have the climax be a terror-filled scene.

How do you use horror and terror in your novels?