Last night, I was sound asleep in the middle of a dream when I heard a strangled scream from the next room. Needless to say, this jerked me out of sleep immediately, and I ran to see what was the matter. Newell was reading this and it startled him badly. (Warning: Seriously do not follow that link and read the comic if you have a weak heart or are easily frightened. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a good scare, be my guest.) He went back to the beginning and showed it to me, and I think I squeaked loudly myself at a point you will probably recognize when you reach it.
This got me thinking about what scares people. It is that time of year, after all — Halloween being just around the corner. (By the way, this is a perfect time to plug Zombified! again, with my Short Short “Interview with a Zombie”)
I’ve talked before about The Door at The Top of the Stairs. It’s the anticipation that makes the horror work in this instance. In the case of the comic I linked above, it is the unexpected that makes the reader react. Both are valid ways to create suspense and fear in your reader. What other ways have you explored? Feel free to comment — I’d love to hear from you.