Putting the “Creep” in Your Stories Part II

How to Put the “Creep” into Your Story Part II

Traci Kenworth



So, last week we discussed the different creatures that could go into your story to bring

creepiness to the forefront. But sadly, as most of us realize, they are not the only threat to our hero or heroine. For along comes the creep or monsters in human flesh. We can base them on so many horror stories out there from Jeffry Dahmer to the most recent Arizona tragedy. The fiends abound. Personally, I try and stay away from people as the ultimate terror, as there’s just something so real about them and I think it lends glory to the perpetrators. However, if you’re one of those who likes to add that extra bite to your reader’s nerves, the following examples may come to help you.

  1. 1.      Serial Killers: To get into the mind of one of these is truly unnerving. For you have

to eat, sleep, and prey on others with a twisted mind so deep it’s liable to send us to the edge of our graves. Who knows why they exist. I like to think there’s something so inhuman about them, to the point of there being a demonic force that drives them. I guess it’s easier to think of things that way. Some of these fellows/gals have been so intelligent it’s scary, yet they lacked the one thing they needed most: a conscious.

            So picture it: Redmond lurks behind the curtain in the living room as our unsuspecting heroine dozes off on the couch. He listens to her shallow breathing, gauging just the right moment to attack, to suck her life dry. Standing over her, he feels a power, a mastery that can’t be described. He is haunted by her beauty, captivated by the sound of her heartbeat, salivated by the idea of cutting her flesh. She awakens just as his hand traces the hollow of her throat…


  1. 2.      Murderers: The most common of the lot. They are a step-down from above in that

they have more of a passion about their crime, a motive if you will. A husband that discovers his wife is cheating on him, a boyfriend who wants the ultimate control, someone whose been offended by another, the list goes on. You can place them on a range of someone who kills in a moment of ardor to those that do so on a calculating basis. Thus:

Mary placed the gun down on the table, the body of her dead husband stretched out on the floor before her. She looked down at her hands for the faintest sign of a tremble but there existed none. It was done. He’d deserved it for his actions. He wouldn’t attack her children again. She listened for the sound of sirens, of someone to come and accuse her of her crime but not one of her neighbors seemed to have heard. Of course, it could be that they’d grown used to the sounds of screams and fist-on-flesh. Still, she’d have to do something with the body…

  1. 3.      Rapists: The violator. This one attempts to overcome another’s life with their own.

It’s all about inducing the terror and taking pleasure from such for them. This is one of the trickiest creeps to write because the scenes are so emotional, so heartbreaking. The feelings come very close to murdering who their victim’s are and causing them to flounder in the dark to discover who they’ll become. Here we have:

            Harriet just wanted a drink of water. She was so thirsty, so tired. But he was there again, knife at her throat, holding her very breath in his palm. What did he want with her? Why her? Had she done something to piss someone off? Stars flashed in and out of the darkness of her vision even though she knew broad daylight waited outside her apartment. He hadn’t spoken. Not once during… Did she know him? Was he someone from off the streets? Had she just picked the wrong minute to step into her apartment? Why had no one heard her screams?

            And there he was again. Pressing the knife in deeper, taking what he wanted from her, using her as though she were no more than a shell to be tossed aside…

  1. 4.      The Cannibal: What can be said of life’s most deadly and terrifying predator? Ew,

doesn’t describe them. They are all that we cannot understand, that we can’t bring ourselves to break down to, but as writers we must if we’re to bring them to life. Throughout history, we’ve heard tales of them and sweated fear over the idea of falling into one of their grasps. They are perhaps the hardest of all to get into the mindset of, but if this is what your story calls for, there are ways to bring them to light.

            Frederick ran. Deeper and deeper into the woods, not stopping to think, not taking time to get his bearings. He only knew that they were upon him and any footfall now, would overcome him. Branches snagged his face, hair, clothes but still he sprinted across the pine needles, across the moss, waiting for the feel of their hand upon the back of his neck and the jerk that would lead to the end of his life. No, it wouldn’t happen that quickly. They’d roast him…or maybe chop him into pieces first. His stomach lurched.

            And then there before him, they stood. A row of them. They didn’t wear bone necklaces and go half-naked as one might expect of such a barbaric species. No, they were dressed in suits and skirts. Businessmen and women, out for the hunt of their lives. He swerved to the left, only to be brought up short. They circled him now, so close he could see the evil grins spread across their faces…

2 thoughts on “Putting the “Creep” in Your Stories Part II

  1. *shivers*

    Great breakdown. I love all those Criminal Minds shows where you get right inside the mind of a killer. I wonder though if I would ever be able to ‘get into character’ enough to write a baddie like this really well.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse


  2. I know, Angela. It is scary to think of how far you can take these killers, and what a mindset you’d have to deal with. Think of the creators of Hannibal Lector. To have such evil alive inside you, even for a bit must be very frightening. This is why I prefer the creature to the man. With them, you can feel a tad “cleaner” when their dispatched, knowing that you’ve delved into something that doesn’t exist, and can never harm someone. Thanks for your thoughts!!


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