Psychological horror

by Mia P.olle.
(Middleburg,Florida,United States)

Question: I'm thinking of writing a story about a man's past and what he does to the people he thinks are trying to attack him, but they're not and he is just delusional and has a mental disease, but he broke out of an asylum a long time ago which will be told later in the story but how do you think I should fit this in one story? And is this even a good idea?


Answer: There's nothing wrong with your idea, though it will need to be fleshed out more.

I will say that it sounds more like the premise for a Suspense story than Psychological Suspense (aka psychological horror). Suspense is about a trap closing in on the main character. However, in a Suspense story the man's potential victim would be the main character.

You could certainly tell the story in part from the man's point of view, to give the reader the sense that the trap is closing on the victim, but most of the focus should be on the victim. You may want to conceal the man's identify until late in the story, from the victim if not the reader, or from both. The story of the man's descent into madness would be backstory, possibly told through flashback.

Psychological Suspense tends to be more about a main character slowly becoming mad, and the inner journey into madness. In this case, the man would be the main character. The reader would have less empathy for the main character (because most readers are sane). In this story, the victim's point-of-view would be minor.

You may need to decide which of these two stories you want to tell, which interests you more. Or you could combine elements of both by having two point-of-view characters.

Just remember: a Suspense story is about keeping the reader on the edge of his seat, feeling afraid for the victim. A Psychological Suspense story puts the reader in a more objective, analytical position -- observing the descent into madness, but not being emotionally dragged into it in a personal way.

Best of luck.

Comments for Psychological horror

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 26, 2017
Thanks for the feedback
by: Mia P.olle.

Thanks for the answer and advise I will take your words into consideration also I think most likely to have more of a psychological suspense I would show the readers the man's madness in 1st person while also writing some details about the murders in 3rd person and maybe add a twist ending that he was so insane he thought the victims we're planning to kill him but they were innocent and it's all a story that he is telling the judge and the court, or is the twist ending too much and ruins the story?

Jul 27, 2017
re: the twist
by: Glen

It's all in how you do it.

A good twist ending makes more meaning/sense of everything that has come before. A bad twist ending invalidates it.

Just make sure there are little clues or questions throughout the story that the twist makes sense of.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Genre Invite.


Proud to be one of the...


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero