They’re So Good, It’s Scary: 13 Quotes From Horror, Thriller and Suspense Writers

“When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me, and try to put those feelings into books.”
Author:
Publish date:

With Halloween coming soon, we're getting into the spirit of the season with these 13 quotes on the writing life from famous authors of horror, thriller and suspense:

432054-wrote-1916

1. “So where do the ideas—the salable ideas—come from? They come from my nightmares. Not the night-time variety, as a rule, but the ones that hide just beyond the doorway that separates the conscious from the unconscious.”
—Stephen King, “The Horror Writer Market and the Ten Bears,” November 1973, WD

2. “The first thing you have to know about writing is that it is something you must do everyday. There are two reasons for this rule: Getting the work done and connecting with your unconscious mind.”
—Walter Mosley

3. “I hope people are reading my work in the future. I hope I have done more than frightened a couple of generations. I hope I’ve inspired a few people one way or another.”
—Richard Matheson

4. “When one is writing a novel in the first person, one must be that person.”
—Daphne du Maurier

5. “When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me, and try to put those feelings into books.”
R.L. Stine

6. “[Horror fiction] shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.”
—Clive Barker

7. “Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem.”
Edgar Allan Poe

8. “I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it and make it work and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.”
Shirley Jackson

9. “Writing is writing, and stories are stories. Perhaps the only true genres are fiction and nonfiction. And even there, who can be sure?”
—Tanith Lee

10. “I always wanted to be in the world of entertainment. I just love the idea of an audience being happy with what I am doing. Writing is showbusiness for shy people. That’s how I see it.”
—Lee Child

11. I don’t think there is enough respect in general for the time it takes to write consistently good fiction. Too many people think they will master writing overnight, or that they are as good as they will ever be.”
—Tananarive Due

12. “What I love about the thriller form is that it makes you write a story. You can’t get lost in your own genius, which is a dangerous place for writers. You don’t want to ever get complacent. If a book starts going too well, I usually know there’s a problem. I need to struggle. I need that self-doubt. I need to think it’s not the best thing ever.”
—Harlan Coben, WD Interview, January 2011

13. "My reason for writing stories is to give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly and detailedly and stably the vague, elusive, fragmentary impressions of wonder, beauty, and adventurous expectancy which are conveyed to me by certain sights (scenic, architectural, atmospheric, etc.), ideas, occurrences, and images encountered in art and literature."
—H.P. Lovecraft 

Want to write your own horror, thriller or suspense novel? Then learn from a master with The Writer's Digest Annotated Classic: Dracula.

___________

Tiffany Luckey is the associate editor of Writer's Digest. She also writes about TV and pop culture at AnotherTVBlog.com. Follow Tiffany on Twitter @TiffanyElle.

Headshot_Tiffany Luckey
Pedal vs. Peddle (Grammar Rules)

Pedal vs. Peddle (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use pedal and peddle with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Marissa Levien: On Pinning Down Your Novel's Middle

Marissa Levien: On Pinning Down Your Novel's Middle

Debut author Marissa Levien discusses how she always knew what the beginning and the end of her science fiction novel The World Gives Way would be, but that the middle remained elusive.

Drawing the Line for Withholding Secrets in Young Adult and Middle-Grade Novels

Drawing the Line for Withholding Secrets in Young Adult and Middle Grade Novels

Middle-grade and young adult author Ren Koppel Torres shares the top tips for how you can keep secrets from your characters and readers.

Payal Doshi: On Letting Rejection Bring You Clarity

Payal Doshi: On Letting Rejection Bring You Clarity

Middle-grade author Payal Doshi discusses the sometimes-disheartening process of querying a novel and how she used rejection to fuel her passion for writing.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Writer’s Digest Conference Announcements and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce that our 2021 Annual Conference will be virtual, registration is open for our 2021 in-person Novel Conference, and more!

Rajani LaRocca: On Letting Your Synopsis Guide Your Writing

Rajani LaRocca: On Letting Your Synopsis Guide Your Writing

In this article, middle-grade author Rajani LaRocca discusses how the synopsis for her newest release, Much Ado About Baseball, guided her writing process.

From Script

Adding Your Personal Connection to Your Stories and Building Your Brand As a Writer (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, Script’s Editor Sadie Dean interviews Dickinson creator/showrunner/EP Alena Smith, learn how to divide and conquer as screenwriter in the business and creating fruitful relationships. Plus, a brand new Script Talk video interview with writer/director/actress Djaka Souaré about her journey as a mentor and mentee in the WOCUnite and #StartWith8Hollywood mentorship programs.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Penfyr: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn penfyr, a Welsh tercet form.

Editorial Road-Mapping: Start Your Self-Editing Process Here

Editorial Road-Mapping: Start Your Self-Editing Process Here

Editorial road-mapping begins with a challenge of willpower and ends with a battle-plan for transforming your manuscript into the book you dreamed it could be. Let editor Kris Spisak give you that map!