There is no denying that a good horror story, no matter if it’s a movie, a book, or a game, is a unique experience that sends chills down your spine and makes you feel more alive.
But a good horror story has to be complex; it needs a lot of time for introduction and to evolve the story. Well, it turns out that it doesn’t...
Fortunately, for true horror fans, there is a subreddit called r/TwoSentenceHorror , where they can find frightening micro-stories that are just two sentences long. This online community was founded in 2014, and over 320k people have joined since, and many of them shared their stories.
The reporters asked some of the moderators of r/TwoSentenceHorror to tell them more about the community.
“First of all, I think the anatomy of a two-sentence horror story will change from writer to writer. However, I have seen the following pattern: Line one - set up; line two - twist. Often times, the real horror element does not come until the second line. This is a very common approach," two_sentence_critic said.
But although many of the tales can be analyzed like that, such a form does not guarantee a text will become viral. "Thankfully, there is no exact answer," two_sentence_critic said. "That would be boring. Some of the top posts are existential horrors, like mine. Others incorporate revenge, visceral and/or body horror, weird fiction, sci-fi, fantasy elements, historical fiction, crime, and abuse. Note: we do not include trigger warnings as we feel this acts as a spoiler. You've been warned."
Legioneer, another moderator of r/TwoSentenceHorror, thinks that there is a lot of diversity in the most popular tales, and most of them have unique ideas and good twists. "A story that has a good enough hook and payoff will go far. There are some more common themes, like murderers, comas, or stories from the perspective of a pet, but any theme can work if it is creative enough and well written."
Legioneer believes the subreddit has grew to be so popular because it is very easy to scroll through and share your own stories. "A lot of readers don't have the time to read a whole series on NoSleep, and a lot of potential writers don't have the time to write them. r/TwoSentenceHorror is different. You don't need to have that same level of commitment, spending hours reading or drafting something up only to be potentially disappointed by the end result. Our scares are bite-sized, so you can visit our sub for just 5 minutes or binge for 5 hours, and there will always be new stories to read," they said.
If you like these stories and want to create your own, the moderators want to give you some tips on where to begin: Try to come up with a something that is universal and causes fear in everybody. "If you're a new writer, here's a few hints to start off with: incapacitation, complete control, anonymity, or delusions," moderator WoodenPiano explained. "Some cliché traps which people fall into are cannibalism, darkness, death, or other topics that only target specific fears."
Once you make a concept, clarify it completely. "Don't leave people hanging, wondering what exactly is the twist, unless it really makes the story that much better," WoodenPiano added. "In-your-face horror more often than not shocks readers more than slow and concealed horror. People who write about existentialism or identity crisis often run into this problem."
Some most used approaches include breaking the fiction barrier (tales that people can't easily pass off as simply imagined), using several twists in two sentences, and making the reader to relate to with the people involved. "However, you should note that most of these require a bit of luck, and trying to incorporate them may make them seem forced. But don't give up!"