When you started out on your quest to learn how to write a horror novel you were probably advised to read horror novels by some famous horror writers. This is the best place to begin. Reading these books will help you learn the general points on how to write a horror novel and how to create the characters of a horror novel. As you read through other horror novels you will notice that the events in the tale revolve around a main character, in most cases the protagonist. In many horror novels these events are orchestrated by an antagonist. The events however can be the source of conflict on their own as shown in horror novels about natural disasters and other events.
There are several methods you can use for creating your character. There is no single formula that works for every author. You may choose to draw up sketches of your main and minor characters listing the role you want them to play in your horror novel. You may write down several questions that will help guide you in the creation of your characters. These questions can help you decide the characters name, age, sex, flaws and qualities.
The most important part of fiction is the characters you create to tell your story. A good horror story character is a fictional being every bit as alive and as much a unique individual as anyone with whom we are acquainted. Your readers should care about him or her otherwise they won’t care about what the character does or what happens to him or her during the story.
Understand your reader
A horror character can be difficult to write. What makes one person terrified can leave another person bored or emotionless, a good example of this is clowns. Some people are terrified of any clown while others are amused unless the clown is dripping blood, wearing off kilter clothing etc. When I was child my brother and I rode a Ferris wheel once and it stopped with us at the top, I was terrified but my brother thought it was the funniest thing in the world. To this day Ferris wheels creep me out.
When creating your horror character you might want to try to cover all your bases, keeping in mind that horror hinges on the biases of the reader, the story should work to create several extreme feelings that might touch different readers.
Make it real
Readers must never feel indifferent towards any character otherwise they will lose interest in the story and not finish it. The uncle who gets drunk and melancholy at a wedding or your high school history teacher who spent most of the lessons reminiscing about growing up in Europe before the second world war; the individual who personified your first encounter with “puppy-love” or the perhaps the one you dated during your college years… every one of these is a real life living, breathing person. And all are absolutely perfect for any horror story. Your characters must have their own unique and distinct traits, just as you the writer/reader are a unique personality. If believable fiction is based on reality do not fill your story with stereotypical characters.
As you read other horror novels while learning how to write a horror novel you will notice that the protagonist is the character through which you are able to experience the story. You should therefore be careful to make this character believable. The scenes you create in the novel should show the characters attributes which make the readers admire him or her as well as their flaws which help readers connect to them. The antagonist should be treated in the same way.