Congratulations on overcoming any “fears” and deciding to write a horror novel! iUniverse wants to emphasize the vital importance of choosing a setting that suits and contributes to your story.
iUniverse has seen new writers of horror accidentally neglect the significance of setting, as they often focus exclusively on characters and plot. The setting is essential, as it provides the atmosphere in which your chilling take can take place.
While many genres scorn the use of traditional settings, the horror genre seems to accept it. Readers of horror associate with these places and may actually revel in the thought of being in a haunted mansion, ancient castle, or unchartered island. You need not look far for traditional horror settings, but choose the one that grabs you most. If you’ve never been to a castle or large old house, make a field trip before writing about one.
In contrast to the above, non-traditional settings can also provide the shock value and realism that can make horror so terrifying. Look around you and imagine how a normal town, shopping center, etc can be used as a setting. In these cases, you may not have the benefit of assumed eeriness, but the ability to make readers cringe at the thought of how close they are to danger in their everyday lives will compensate for this.
Time is the fourth dimension, and hence an integral part of your setting. It is generally assumed that most horror tales take place in the present, so as to make the reader feel that he or she is a part of it. Nevertheless, the past provides admirable settings for a tale of terror, as exemplified by writers such as Anne Rice. The time of the Pharaohs, or the Dark Ages in Europe, suit this purpose. You may have to do some research to provide enough details to draw the reader in and feel part of the time and place.
iUniverse knows that horror is a relatively popular genre, and hence there is significant competition. Take some time to decide on your setting, and you will find that this helps your story considerably. What unconventional settings can you come up with?