When you first decide you want to write a screenplay the first thing you need to think of is what genre you are interested in and what do you think you could write. What I will be explaining in this article is specifically aimed at horror. Although the general rules of screenwriting are the same there are certain things that change depending on the genre. Here I’ll be giving you my top five tips for writing a horror screenplay.
1. Always Decide On Your Sub Genre First
Horror is an overall genre of film but now you need to decide on the sub genre and go deeper into the subject. Will it be a ghost story? An monster story? A thriller? Once you have decided on your sub genre then you will start to get more specific ideas.
2. Think Of A Theme Before You Start Writing
The theme of the screenplay is what you story is about. The theme should be able to sum up the story in one sentence. Such as “the line separating the living and the dead has been crossed”. This is the theme of White Noise.
3. Create Engaging Characters
Good characters are essential to a good screenplay. Make sure that your characters have some type of weakness that can be exploited in some way or another, that way your characters will become more full and alive.
4. Find The Right Setting
This is probably the most important part of writing a horror screenplay. Have a think about your theme and your characters and list a few places that you think would suit the story. Have a look through them and list the pros and cons about that setting. Do this until you decide what location or locations you want to use.
5. Devise An Interesting Plot
Once you have your characters, setting and theme you can then use them to think of an interesting plot. Most horror films have some kind of twist at the end. To think of a good twist then take a look at all of your characters and think to yourself “what would happen if the consequences changed?”
These tips are just a base for what you could do. Over time you will develop you own ways of writing and thinking of characterisation and plots. Writing a horror screenplay can take a lot of time, just be patient and keep trying to think of new ideas along the way.