I always seem to think about scary-story writing at Halloween time—when it is too late for many teachers to get it into their planning. If you want some tips for writing traditional spooky stories, see the link above. But, early for a change, let me also introduce another variation of the genre: two-sentence horror stories. These are horror stories for the age of Twitter, only two sentences (albeit often complex sentences) allowed.
Here’s one small collection to give you the idea. There are a lot of two-sentence horror story posts on the web, just do a quick search if you want to see more. But most of them seem to originate with the same Reddit collection, so there’s a fair amount of overlap.
Here are couple of my favorites. I apologize for not citing the authors, but they’ve been reproduced so many times, I’m genuinely not sure who to cite.
I awoke to the sound of the baby monitor crackling with a voice comforting my firstborn child. As I adjusted to a new position, my arm brushed against my wife, sleeping next to me.
I begin tucking my son into bed and he tells me, “Daddy, check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy, there’s somebody on my bed.”
Two-sentence horror stories are a great way to begin analyzing what makes literature frightening, because they are quick enough to read you can go through multiple examples. Unsurprisingly, not all the online examples are school-appropriate, so you’ll want to use the sites selectively. You also can use this opportunity to talk about the difference between gore and gratuitous violence, and horror as a genre. You could even take the opportunity to talk about writing and punctuating complex sentences!
If your students write two-sentence horror stories, we’d really love to see them. If you send some along, I promise a great Halloween post!