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I need a scary sentence story starter! I'm stuck on this for hours! Fast, I need Help!

I want to start like when this girl is handing out Candy to the kids on Halloween. When she finished she went up stairs to brush her teeth and then she heard something. I just need a starter so I get get into more detail in the story. Thank you!

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Have you heard of en medias res? It is a literary term that means "in the middle" and refers to the practice of starting a story in the middle and then using flashbacks to fill in the details.

Now although you don't have to start exactly in the middle, you could start with the noise or something even scarier, let the action go on for a bit, then have the main character tell the story of how it all started. Then you need to transition back to present time and tell the rest of the story in the usual order.

Using the "in the middle" format, you could start with what was known (ie an earthquake sound and it's consequence), then bring it forward into the present. What do you think would happen to the story if you told it this way?
Good luck!  Elizabeth M.

HOW ABOUT THIS?

She thought nothing was wrong as she cheerfully handed out candy to the smiling children as they stood against the background of the serene, dark night.  But the quietude and happiness belied what awaited her.  As the minutes and hours passed, and her candy jar emptied while the giggles departed, she walked upstairs, past the telephone, into the bathroom, and closed the door behind her.  She noticed it was stuck again, but decided to wait to fix it until after finishing the important task of brushing her teeth.  She laughed one last time and abruptly stopped as she was interrupted by...

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16 Answers

Anne,

It's important when setting a scene of any kind to play to readers' emotions and create an image, so your story can play in their mind's eye while reading.  The best way to practice doing this is by incorporating each of the senses into your story, starting with the introduction.  What did she hear "thumping" around outside or down stairs?  Did she smell something strange that alarmed her?  Did she feel something scary in her house... her bathtub eerily and strangely overflowing so she walked into the bathroom stepping on the unusually wet floor? Did she see an image (of a shadow, a person, a zombie) in the mirror behind while brushing her teeth or a person climbing through the bathroom window? Taste may not work here at this point in the story, but may come later unless her toothpaste creepily tasted like candy or brains or_____... did the intruder or monster switch it out when she wasn't looking?

~Susan

Anne,

Try starting your first paragraph by setting the scene.  Use the word, "Imagine..." or try "After disseminating candy to the neighborhood ghosts, goblins, and ________________.  _______________ (vivid action verb) up the stairs to brush her teeth.  (Introduce sensory detail here regarding what she heard)

Hope this helps.

Kristen M.

Anne from L.A. --  Right now, you have an everyday situation (handing out candy on Halloween), and have brought in a scary element (the sound). Was this a new sound (ie a lion chomping on bones, the sound of an earthquake, only lower or higher)? How did her actions change? Is she a girl who would go get someone, check it out herself, or pretend it did not happen?

Using the "in the middle" format, you could start with what was known (ie an earthquake sound and it's consequence), then bring it forward into the present. What do you think would happen to the story if you told it this way?
Good luck!

Hi Anne, Your story sounds very interesting! Your goal is to set the scene for the horror that is about to occur or begins in the upstairs bathroom. I’m not sure how long the story is going to be, but I will assume it is a short story assignment. This would be one or two main characters. To set the scene you might try to use descriptives that bring “scary” to mind for the readers from the beginning. I have two suggestion for approach this. These are just quick examples and your opening should include the scene as you see it unfolding.

1. Describe a few characters that set the stage for scary - why she might of encountered them. The bathroom horror doesn’t have to be mentioned right away but you want your reader ready for something that is ‘Scary”. Here is an example...

Anne was exhausted from passing out trick or treat candy to witches, ghost, vampires, super heros and the walking dead. From her bathroom window she watched as the porch lights in the neighborhood turned off one by one returning it to its’ moonlit peaceful state. With relief, Anne thought “Ahhh- Halloween is over. Time to brush my teeth and off to bed I go!”

You can now begin the scary scenes that happen in the bathroom.

2. Describe the atmosphere and the mind set of the main character as a scared person. Explain briefly why she is scared and include a little of surroundings. Example:

Anne was relieved when the trick or treaters had stopped coming to her door. She hated Halloween. All it ever brought to her was horrifying memories of the year her best friend disappeared while trick or treating. Relieved that the night was over, Anne went to the bathroom to prepare for bed. As she stood there, brushing her teeth she recalled the echoes of her friend’s screams for help as something - a winged monster scooped her up into the night air. Anne was the last person to every see her. No one believed Anne’s story about the winged monster.

You can now begin the scary scenes that happen in the bathroom.

I wish you luck on your story assignment. Remember, set the scene to be scary for your readers by using information about the surroundings or the main character.

There is a little trick that movie makers are using: e.g. a scene in a cozy room. People are gathering at a fireplace, the camera starts to focus on the emormous painting of an angry looking ancestor...Later this painting will play a dominat role as well as the ancestor. In your story writing you want to guide the reader the same manipulating way like the director of photography does. Visualize your story. Your "scary sentence starter" is the starting point of this manipulation. Par Example:

 

The Inner Child

Brushing her teeth Anne admired herself in the mirror of the medicine cabinet. Her thoughts went back to the children's glowing faces, specially the little girl that remindes her of herself as a child sticks in her mind. Same heart shape of face, shiny dark hair, hazelnut eyes; she smiles while focussing back to her own reflection.

Melancholy daydreaming Anne suddenly feels uneasy: is there a swelling sound of susurrant withered leaves. A sound somehow withdrawing from the inside of the cabinet. She shakes her head in disbelief, but freezes watching her reflection slowly changing to the girl's image. Only this time the girl's face is not glowing, it's infuriating....

Here’s one idea…

She reached for her toothbrush, thankful for the silence. Not that she minded handing out candy on Halloween. She liked it. But the silence was welcoming. She stopped brushing and cocked her head. What was that? She put the toothbrush down and moved toward the door. The sound was closer. Her heart was beating loud and fast.

Or maybe this one…

She turned off the porch light and set the bowl of candy on the table. Trick or treating was officially over. She sighed. Thankful for the silence, she began walking up the stairs to brush her teeth. Something made her pause. Turning her head, she looked to see if the door was locked. It was. Looking out the window, the street appeared to be just as empty and silent as the house. Silly, she thought and took another step. Then she heard it again.

Aisha, Try to work from one of these.... A loud thump came from the attic above me and the door slammed shut locking me in the dark bathroom.

 

The breaking of glass seemed to come from upstairs until I heard Mr. Filbert screaming for me to open the front door.

Stephen King's books are always frightening to me, and I will always remember his words, "It is not always the chainsaw, or Chucky with the axe, but what ever is frightening to you.  It could be a big dog, or a car, or a cell phone.  Just imagine!

Melissa had always loved Halloween-her favorite time of year! Scary, funny, and SPOOKY! She had just given the last of her candy to the kids in the neighborhood and was exhausted from so much fun. She had spent weeks decorating her house with ghosts, goblins, and noises in the dark. As she trudged up the stairs to brush her teeth and get ready for bed, an odd noise came from the spare bedroom. An eerie noise, a scary noise, an " I never heard that before" noise. She thought, " I'll bet it's Joey trying to scare me!". But when she went to the door and opened it, she became paralized with fear because...

Melissa enjoyed Halloween. Her favorite parts, besides handing out candy was eating the candy. She loved the minature Snickers. It was getting close to her bedtime and being a responsible young lady she had to brush her teeth; especially after eating so many candy bars. So, Melissa headed upstairs to get ready for bed but as she approached the bathroom she heard this creepy voice say: "Melissa.....where's my candy?"

Katie gave the last of her Halloween candy to the trick or treaters. She went up stairs to brush her teeth and then she heard something. Footsteps slow and heavy were progressing up the stairs. They almost sounded inhuman, zombie like.

I think a story is especially disturbing when it starts off mundane: you will lull your reader into a false sense of security. I'd start off by describing how the central character in your story wanted to go out with her friends, but her parents made her give out candy, or something like this. If you are describing run-of-the-mill events, then when creepy things start to happen, it will be even more frightening!

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