What Makes Good Horror Writing


If you are looking for a well-crafted, horror book by Indian authors, look no further and read on.

When Priya Bajpai, a fellow writer friend, approached me for an anthology, I readily said, ‘Yes.’ Little did I know back then that it would be a horror anthology. But when I did, I was apprehensive and excited at the same time. As I listened to her, I realized Priya’s vision for the book was fabulous. Good horror books by Indian authors are a rarity, and more so, anthologies.

I took it up as a challenge as I’d never attempted horror previously. We formed a WhatsApp group with 4 of us, and each suggested writers’ names whom we thought would fit the bill. I suggested six names, out of which three were approached. Fortunately, all agreed and came on board – Ell. P, Kanika G, Meha Sharma. 

I couldn’t be more proud of The Hive’s first anthology, ‘Route 13: Highway to Hell’. From the brilliant and analytical foreword by Neil D’Silva to the 13 short stories and more mini tales, the book is fun, with exciting shades, layers, and depths to it. It’s a readers’ book written to thrill and delight. 

About the book

What happens when 13 writers of horror are trapped in a bus on a stormy night? Let’s find out more.

Route 13: Highway to Hell, one of the best Indian horror books, is born out of discussions among thirteen horror writers returning from a Lit Fest on a bus. When the bus is caught in terrible weather and leaves the passengers with no net and phone connectivity, they pass their time by telling horrifying stories. Each of whom wanted to tell a tale and grab their readers by the throat. They try to outdo one another with blood-curdling, spine-chilling tales. 

The Purple Grave by Jaya Pillai is about a tyrant and a megalomaniac who loved the colour purple and sought to wipe out everything that he detested – people too. 

In Welcome by Sarveswari Sai Krishna, a mother and a child are shut-in, with a deranged phone that would not stop until it has had its share of fun. Nobody has survived the phone’s game. Can they? 

Pastel of the Past by Priya U Bajpai is about Ira, a sleepwalker who finds herself in a forest in the dead of night. A forbidden path to a forgotten past leads her to a mansion. What dark secrets does Ira unravel about her past? How are the past and the present connected?

An ‘accident’ leaves Antara bereft of memories of her past in Ill Conceived by Meha Sharma. As she reaches the serene hills of Mussoorie at her husband’s ancestral home, little does she know that her past is soon going to come crawling to her.

Killing Murakami by Venkataraman Ganesan is about a little known artist whose work was pilfered by Haruki Murakami. When thievery exceeded all imaginable proportions of propriety, the deprived decided to act. Can Haruki survive? Should he even……

In The Silver Beast by Srivalli Rekha, a brother-sister duo is lost in the middle of the forest, where they find a lone inn and an older woman. They take shelter in it and hear odds sounds in the dark. A night that changed all their lives forever.

In Old Macdonald Had A Farm by Varadharajan Ramesh, a woman is kidnapped and raped. Her child was killed in front of her eyes while her husband ran away. What happens next?

The Haveli by Anshu B, a man, didn’t believe in ghosts until he visited his dilapidated ancestral haveli in rural Rajasthan. Not only he witnesses a strange drama unfold in the haveli, but also has a near brush with death. Is the haveli cursed? Or is it just an old wives’ tale?

The Artist by Yatindra Tawde is about Sethuraman, who excels in capturing the alluring female form. However, his female subjects have a penchant for disappearing once the portraits are done. What is the mystery behind their disappearance? Will, he ever know?

The Adventures of a Virgin by Tina Sequeira is a coming-of-age story of Nancy DeShane , set in Goa’s sleepy Saligaon village. 13-year-old girl Nancy desperately wants to live a normal life. But can she when she lives with an oddball family and later meets a mysterious stranger?

In Macabre Melody by Sreeparna Sen, a young musician is struck by the misery of poverty and forced to take up a job in a haunted mansion. With evil lurking at all corners, he has but one power to fight back. What is it, and does he succeed?

They told Maya in Memory of a Face by Kanika.G, not to believe in monsters. But how could she not? Eight years ago, on her fifth birthday, the monster had killed her best friend, but nobody had believed her then. And now it has resurfaced in her life, threatening to kill her mother. 

It is a murder scene that would leave any seasoned police officer retching, but not Inspector Rhea Rao. This murder scene only leaves her clawing at the memories of her own lost son. Nothing surprises Inspector Rhea Rao anymore in The Case of the Seance by Ell P, except perhaps the …

My ‘Eureka’ moment

Writing in the horror genre was an eye-opening experience for a chicken-heart like me. Yes, I’m that woman, who’s married to a horror buff, and watches horror movies with her eyes closed, and preferably ears too. So, reading horror was out of the question. When I took up this project, I had to read horror, and surprisingly, I enjoyed it—writing horror, more so, as it was a cathartic experience. It channelized my inner rage, vanquished my inner and external demons, and let my imagination run wild. My redeeming moments were when Varad, co-author, first quipped that I might have just penned the most gruesome scene in the book, when Ell. P said she was so proud of me because I touched and explored two looked-down upon genres – horror and erotica (her favourites), and when the readers who read and loved ‘Bhumi,’ my debut fiction were shocked this story came from the same writer. Well, I shocked my parents first! Anyway, the lesson here is never say never!

Get your copy

Read these riveting, terrifying tales, where the authors themselves become the characters. Be warned; it is Route 13- a highway to hell. Will you survive the journey?

Hai Dum? 

You can read this fun brilliant book here: http://mybook.to/Route-13.

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

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Tina Sequeira
Tina Sequeira is a marketer and moonlighting writer. She is passionate about tech, creativity, and social justice—dabbling in and writing about the same.

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