All good writing has problems, lots and lots of problems, with lots and lots of details. The more problems in a narrative, and the more descriptive the writing, the more the reader will be engaged. Problems are what give the story a body. They create the interest by getting the reader to insert himself into the story, to think of solutions, and to root for a character to succeed or fail.
Today, students brainstormed a list of problems that could occur in the setting where their scary story takes place. Each partnership came up with problems that might fit in a horror story. These problems had to be realistic enough to be believable, but "sick" enough to fit into a scary fictional narrative.
Once each group came up with a list of 8 - 10 problems, we came to the circle, and shared ideas. Then students revised their essays, inserting new problems and adding details. As we continue writing and improving these stories, I am sure the final drafts will be excellent and eerie.