First Draft: Craft Top-Notch Cinematic Scares With These 101 Terrifying Horror Story Prompts

Prev1 of 10Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

In partnership with Creative Screenwriting and ScreenCraft, “First Draft” is a series on everything to do with screenwriting.


Welcome to the story den of horror, scares, and the macabre.

Most writers are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas from?” A majority of the time, writers find it difficult to answer that question.

We get our ideas from a plethora of sources—news headlines, novels, television shows, movies, our lives, our fears, our phobias, etc. They can come from a scene or moment in a film that wasn’t fully explored. They can come from a single visual that entices the creative mind—a seed that continues to grow and grow until the writer is forced to finally put it to paper or screen.

In the spirit of helping writers find those seeds, here we offer 101 originally conceived and terrifying story prompts that you can use as inspiration for your next horror story.

They may inspire screenplays, novels, short stories, or even smaller moments that you can include in what stories you are already writing or what you will create in your upcoming projects.

But beware! If you scare easily—and have active imaginations like most writers do—turn up the lights and proceed with caution…

1. A girl goes missing in the woods and her parents find only a decrepit and scary doll left behind. They soon learn that the doll is actually their daughter. And she’s alive.

2. New residents to an old neighborhood are invited by their friendly neighbors to a Halloween party. The neighbors are vampires.

3. A family dog runs away from home. He returns a year later to the delight of his family. But there’s something different about him. Something demonic.

4. A girl goes missing. Fifteen years later her parents get a call from her older self. But they listen in fear because they killed their daughter that dark night years ago.

5. A man reads a novel, soon realizing that the story is his very own—and according to the book, a killer is looming.

6. A scientist clones his family that died in an airplane crash—but soon learns the repercussions of playing God.

7. A man wakes up bound to an electric chair.

8. A man wakes up in a coffin next to a fresh dead body.

9. A woman wakes up to find her family gone and her doors and windows boarded up with no way to escape.

10. A man afraid of snakes is shipwrecked on an island covered with them.

Prev1 of 10Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

1 Comment

  1. Richard Cornell

    November 2, 2017 at 8:02 am

    A single picture is a 1,000 words. How easy it is to put words on paper, but hard to make those words stand out on film.
    “Dad answer’s phone to find that he is now talking with his daughter who has been bury in the basement for 15 years”. “It is also the night of the dead”. “The other bodies who also have been bury in the basement are creeping up the stairs”.
    Since every 3-5 seconds is a cut the horror is trying to get enough items on film where their are no retakes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[i]
[i]