Research for Horror Writers


A necessary evil in the writing world, yes. Although all writers do research for the same reason–to better the story–there are a few different ways this can be done. For example, if I were to write a book about mythology, I would absolutely have to research so that my facts were correct. That I was writing a story with the correct information.

Now, I don’t write the type of stories where I need to do a lot of fact checking. But I do research. When I’m writing a horror story, I immerse myself in the world of fright. For my first novel (a NA psychological horror that will be released in May), the Bleeding Heart, I did research the process of tattooing. Mostly I needed to make sure that I was using the correct lingo. I also watched a lot of Dexter. This helped with describing all the blood…

For my next novel, the one that is currently stewing in its own juices in my mind, I am doing research in a totally different way. I am reading a few titles that will help me get into the mindset of a sociopath. The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes and The Psychopath Test will serve as examples of how the girl next door can be so dark and unstable.

I am also watching a lot of psychological thrillers and murder mysteries. Watching actors/actresses facial expressions when afraid helps to get that into writing. So that the reader can feel the fear and darkness of a character’s soul.


This type of research can be depressing and freaking scary. I tend to push the limit and so when I’m writing a piece that is dark, I find myself more melancholy. Dreams tend to be more vivid and I wake up more during the night. But as my characters find themselves pulled out of the midnight and depths of their despair, I too can see the light again.

I can’t be alone in this feeling. How about you? How do you get/sustain/describe your ideas in your novels? When you travel down that dusty road alone, do you feel the darkness tugging at your insides?

Amy - Midnight Society Signatures

  • Kathy Palm
    March 24, 2015

    I have yet to write a horror ms, but I have one in my head. I have written the short story that is the mc’s backstory and that required research into Japanese Oni… totally cool. But I love the creepy psychological stuff and have written a few shorts where being in their headspace was difficult and yet fascinating. I like living in the shadows, but because of life as a wife and mom I must not stay there.

  • Kissed by Ink
    March 24, 2015

    I totally agree. I do notice that I get a little quieter during this research, and if you know me at all this is totally not me:) And Japanese Oni…so cool! I hope to read some of your writing very soon!!

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