- Don’t kill the Black person first. This is overused, and quite frankly, becomes offensive. You can subvert this by having any character die initially, or by having a shock death.
- Additionally, if any of your characters are Queer/LGBTQAIP*/MOGII, it’s alright to give them a happy end. Try not to kill them for the sake of the story simply because of their sexuality.
- You can subvert the entire genre by having realistic characters. Do they run if a loud noise happens, or do they seek it out? No, they run. Things like that can, and will, make for more shocking deaths or surprises.
- If you do include sex at any point, not all characters have to die from it. Scream 4 subverts it by making it so the typical “Virgin Survives” trope doesn’t count anymore. Additionally, don’t make a situation where the characters have “We might die so let’s have sex so we’re not virgins anymore" because, realistically, they’re in a horror situation.
There’s lots of fluidity and tons of options when it comes to horror. Don’t be afraid to use tropes, but don’t also be afraid to subvert them. Kill characters off, but make them meaningful. Have them engage in relationships that come from a bond, or are meaningless and a poor choice. Most of all, have fun!
I suggest playing a few games to help: try Ai Oni, Mad Father, The Witch’s House, and Yume Nikki. Also, heck out the ABCs of Horror Tropes along with TVTrope’s page on Horror for more tropes you can use or subvert.