“A Holiday Nightmare” by Me


Disappearances and horror awaits 19 year old Lacey as she when she attempts to reunite with her cousins at her aunt’s falling-apart country estate one dark Thanksgiving Eve…

As a writer, I really want to start branching out of my comfort zone. Fantasy and family adventures are fun but I want practice in other genres. Since falling in love with Booktrack Studio, I joined their Halloween short story contest and wrote A Holiday Nightmare for the occasion. While I’ve neither seen nor read the horror genre (and don’t intend to start!) and did I have fun pretending I knew what I was doing

I’ve rated it PG (not PG-13 but PG) and I actually would like to give caution that the experience of both reading the story and hearing the sounds and music may be disturbing to some. Seriously, I wrote this with the attempt to scare, that’s what horror is. But for those with a brave heart, I would love to hear your feedback on how I did with my first ever attempt at horror.

Hopefully this links works.


I learned quite a bit while on this project. When I discovered about the contest, I immediately Googled for articles about writing good horror and found it quite educational. I learned it’s important to keep up suspense and speed of your story–I ended up cutting a lot of dialogue out of my story because it hindered the suspense. I learned that powerful horror means showing a little but hiding more and I found this helpful because your imagination will make things worse on their own without me having to write gore and guts. I learned to never tell the reader that they should be afraid–that just ruins everything, so I hope I was able to avoid that. I had already learned this but it was good to be reminded to tell back story through dialogue and not the narrative. Keeps it way more engaging and interesting instead of turning the story into a biography.

I also put a lot of thought into making the opening as grabbing and engaging as possible without the rather cliched action scene where someone is running through a forest/house/away from-something-scary scene. Lol.

I love writing and I now love bringing that writing to life on Booktrack. While it takes methodical work to place the sound effects and music just right, the final effect is powerful and amazing. I love placing a thunder clap over a passage of words for emphasis or timing the music just right so that it helps guide you to the right emotions throughout the story. While it does take extra time, I look forward to writing more short stories for competitions in the future. 🙂

Booktrack Sudio is only available on Google Chrome (which is an amazing web browser and is what I use and highly recommend.)



9 thoughts on ““A Holiday Nightmare” by Me

  1. I will be sure to come back and read it as soon as I finish my school later today. 🙂 Also you might want to add that you can only use Booktrack on Google Chrome, not Explorer or Firefox. One other things is that I believe you may have forgotten to finish the sentence: ” While I’ve neither seen nor read” unless that was intentional. 😉


  2. I enjoyed it! I hadn’t come across Booktrack before; it’s really cool! I’m no horror writer, but I’ll offer a few general criticisms. I thought it lacked sensory information that would have sucked the reader deeper into the story. I also thought there could have been fewer characters, but more information about them. As it is, I struggled to really care about their plight because I didn’t feel I knew enough about them. The central character lacked purpose. It felt too much as though she was a victim of circumstance, that she remained too passive to the events that happened. I wanted her to react more, rather than simply relay a series of things affecting other characters.

    The soundtrack was awesome, really adding to the atmosphere. A few too many shrieks though! Less is more. Careful with typos. A typo can jar the reader and pull them out, which is devastating when trying to build tension.

    Anyway, good effort. It was definitely fun to read!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for you helpful criticism. I really really appreciate you taking the time the give me some feedback! I understand everything you pointed out and I do see where I could have made some changes, so thank you! Since this is for competition, the rules do say I can’t change anything after I submit but I know now what I should do next time. So, thank you thank you thank you for reading and helping me! 🙂

      Dang it about the typos, I thought I had caught them all. 😛

      I’m glad it was a fun read and I am glad you liked the soundtrack.

      I shall maybe rewrite this story later on without the competition 5,000 word rule and apply the changes you suggested! 😀


      1. You’re welcome! I’m glad you’ve taken it well. Writer folk have a tendency to take criticism too personally, but obviously you don’t. You’ll improve faster than most!

      2. Thank you again; I know I can’t improve in writing unless I learn from my mistakes and sometimes I don’t know if I’ve made mistakes unless they’re pointed out to me! 🙂 Criticism is often hard to hear but I know it’s good for me!


  3. That was CREEPY! Excellent job Jamie! I haven’t read any horror so I have nothing to compare it to, but I have to say that soundtrack and sound effects along with your writing built the tension effectively and had for an extremely creepy readings. It was especially effective since I made sure to read it alone in a room, and in the dark.
    I really liked the atmosphere and how you delivered the thrills. The premise was rather scary and I liked your writing style. The part when all of the puppet people were approaching the main character was the most effective and thrilling part for me. I loved it Jamie, fantastic work!


    1. Oh my gosh you did NOT read it in the dark, did you?! I don’t know if I could do that and I wrote it! Lol! *is beaming happily though*

      Thank you thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed and that it was effectively creepy! Gah, I’m so happy right now! 🙂

      Next time we Skype I’ll have to fill you on some hidden jokes I put in for myself. 😛


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