“It was a dark and stormy night…”–remember Snoopy’s famous one-liner that was going to begin his epic, but ever-elusive mystery story? Perhaps you know how Snoopy feels, perched atop his doghouse, typewriter silent, creative juices dried up. You’ve got that mystery story brewing in your brain. But where to begin? Random nefarious characters, eerie, foreboding nuances, grim settings…all the impedimenta of great scary stories–swirl just below the surface of your consciousness. If visions of Stephen King and Agatha Christie dance in your head, but you’re stumped for mystery story ideas, look no farther. Here are mystery story starters and horror fiction writing prompts. Teachers and homeschool parents, use these for creative writing lessons for Writers Workshop activities, National Reading Month (March) and NaNoWriMo (November). Put mystery story writing prompts on the board and let students go writing their works of horror fiction. If you or your students make a million from these mystery story starters, remember to credit this author!
Horror fiction creative writing lessons: The Wishing Well Horror
“I hated drawing water from the dank, bug-infested well house to begin with. When the bucket came up heavier and more slowly than usual, I sensed that something was wrong. But I was totally unprepared for the horror that followed…
Mystery story writing prompts: The Book Seller’s Enigma
“I hadn’t remembered seeing the musty old book shop on that street before, but the old peddler was outside selling his wares and beckoned me in. When I returned the next day with my brother, shop and shopkeeper had gone. We asked an old-timer passing by where it was. ‘That shop?’ he declared, ‘why it ain’t been around for 50 years!’
Horror fiction creative writing lessons: The Smell in the Cellar
“We always kept the cellar door locked and no one ever went down there. One day as I passed the door, I smelled an odd, familiar smell, like something I hadn’t smelled since I was little. The odor got stronger, until finally I opened the door. As I went down the rickety steps, I got the shock of my life. “
Mystery story starters: The Missing Photo
“I loved to look through our old family photos. One day, I noticed that a certain picture had been removed, no, not just removed, but viciously hacked out of the album. I asked the whole family and no one seemed to have taken it. Was someone hiding something?”
Horror fiction scary story starters: The Secret Room
“Tearing down a wall to build an addition to our home, I discovered a small narrow room hidden between the walls. It appeared to have been boarded up decades ago and what was in it gave me the fright of my life.
Horror genre creative writing lessons: The Thing in the Pond
“For years, I’ve visited a pond in the woods near our house. Recently I saw something in the bottom. And it was more than sand, rocks and a few fish and turtles. Something much, much more…”
Mystery story starters and writing prompts: The Prank Caller
“We thought the odd phone calls were just pranks by some local kids. Until the caller asked me something really creepy. ‘Did anybody ever find where you buried the body?'”
Mystery story starters: The Letter from Yesterday
“The envelope that came in the mail looked really elegant and I was hoping that it was an invitation to a party. It was an invitation…for a party dated, July 30, 1927.”
Mystery story writing prompts for creative writing lessons: The Silent Boy
“We were all playing in our fort by the creek. A tall thin boy with dark eyes and long hair appeared silently from the woods. He came out every day for two weeks but he never said a word. Then he disappeared again, but returned with something terrifying…”
Horror genre scary story starters: The Creature
“My cat likes to bring home an odd assortment of creatures. Not that he kills them. I think they are his friends. One day the cat brought home a creature “friend” the likes of which I’ve never seen before in my life and I doubt that I ever will again.”
So, would-be mystery authors, are your creative juices beginning to flow? Well, then get that pen busy and produce your masterpiece!