Vocabulary to create tension and fear

Vocabulary can be used to change the way a reader feels about a scene. By changing just a few key words a setting can be made much more interesting to read. For example, a church might be a typical part of the setting of a ghost story. The vocabulary choices can be used to create a sense of fear for the reader.

Tension and Fear – Amatopia

Collaborative Tasks

Task 1:  come up with at least 3  words/phrases to replace the following words:

afraid- Nice- bad- sad- fear- dark- Big- Small- cold-hot

Task 2: Read the following pages, watch the video and take a look at the poster. Then, prepare a mind map with words and phrases to create a tense and a fearful atmosphere.

Link 1

Link 2

Tools to produce the mindmaps:

Mind maps 1

Mind maps 2

Mind maps 3

Task 3:Create a sentence using the following ‘power’ verbs (always producing fear and tension):

grabbed-snatched- sprinted- scrambled- shouted- screamed- crawled- leapt- strode- yelled- exclaimed- glared

Task 4: Check this link Fear. Choose 5 idioms and write examples in context.

Task 5: Tips for writing a good scary story Read and make a summary to have with you when you write your own scary story!!

Include the 5 tasks in a presentation to share in classroom.

10 Best Writing Prompts for High School English Students

Individual task

Choose one of the following prompts to write a story. Include the vocabulary you have been working on. (600-900 words)

  1. You have had a strange feeling for a few days now. Today you’ve been feeling very energetic and tired at the same time. You sit, exhausted and full of energy, at your desk. Your arm has been itching. It’s killing you now. You look at your forearm and see it for the first time. Something is moving under your skin. It is shifting around. Your muscle spasms and you realize there are dozens moving toward the surface.
  2. You open your eyes to complete darkness. The last thing you remember is the dog running out into the road, the brightness of the day light, and your car headed off the road. As your head clears you realize you are hanging upside down. Your feet and legs are completely mobilized. You can hear something breathing in the room.
  3. Your driving on a country road. It is late at night. You are far from home. You realize, as you check your mirrors, there is a man you do not know, hiding on the floor of your back seat.
  4. It’s 3 am. Your room is dark, but you can see that there is someone, standing at the foot of your bed. You can just make out that he or she is wearing a clown costume, and you are pretty sure, from the glare and the little bit of reflection, that it has a knife.

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