Here's a start at a list of the Standard Horror Plots that we receive frequently (and wish we didn't). Main plot types get numbers; subspecies and variants are in bulleted lists under each main type. Maybe at some point I'll turn this into another guidelines page.

  1. Serial killer stalks and slays victim.
    • The tables are turned at the end.
    • The serial killer is insane.
    • The serial killer is under supernatural influence.
  2. Person is insane, and kills a lot of people because of it.
    • The insanity is due to supernatural influence.
    • The insane person does property damage instead of killing people.
  3. The protagonist sits around for a while; in the end, it turns out the protagonist is dead.
  4. Evil creature kills lots of people
    • In the end the creature escapes to kill again.
    • The creature is disguised as something cute.
  5. Person sees mysterious things that nobody else can see.
    • Person has unreasonable dread of Thing that nobody else can see; in the end the Thing gets the person after all.
    • Person has bad dreams; they turn out to be real.
    • In the end, it turns out the person is crazy.
    • In the end, it turns out someone is drugging the person.
  6. Person is warned to Always Do something; fails to do it; thereby sets Nameless Evil free.
    • Person is warned to Never Do something; does it anyway; thereby sets Nameless Evil free.
  7. A place is haunted or scary. [No, this isn't a plot, but we do receive plotless place descriptions in which this is the only point.]
  8. Child is abused.
    • The tables are turned at the end.
    • The abuser is under supernatural influence.
  9. Person is targeted by Evil Thing; in the end, Evil Thing kills person.
  10. Person is a bad person; in the end, they get their comeuppance when unspeakably horrible things happen to them. (A.k.a. the Twilight Zone plot.)
    • Person attempts to kill or dispose of spouse; in the end, the tables are turned.
    • Person isn't such a bad person; but in the end, unspeakably horrible things happen to them anyway.

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