Writing Paranormal Short Stories

Writing is my passion. Dark Science Fiction is my favorite genre, but, technically, I’m a failing writer. I’m writing my second and third books at the moment and, upon reading my first, I found that I made some mistakes that I’m going to have to go back and fix. Writing is no easy task it turns out, even for me, but, as far as story telling goes, I’ve always been pretty good. I have a knack for it you might say. I, personally, have always thought that my short stories were pretty easy to get into. I love writing paranormal pieces and I think I have a lot to offer in the way of advice, so let’s get started.

First, the best idea is to relate your “experience”, or the “experience” of your character. By writing about a situation you have been in, or that you have seen, you can add a killer realism. You’ve been on the Earth long enough to have seen some things, so to slap your character in a situation which you know with certitude has outcomes that you know. The reason this makes sense is because, believe it or not, you aren’t the only one around that’s had these experiences. When people can relate, it’s more believable.

Second, well thought characters are a goldmine for believability, so when they are based off of people you know, or have known, obviously, they are better at drawing people in. I like to use my grandfather, because he, while having a quirky personality, is still believable. He’s what you might call a hillbilly, the mid-western version, so he has asked me to do some pretty hillbilly-like things. Perhaps he saw something in the garbage once and wanted it. “Throw that in the back,” he used to say. The fact of the matter is, ninety-nine percent of us aren’t wealthy enough to not work forever, sixty-six percent of us, depending on the model, are considered middle class and have roots in working class families, only a third of which are educated and salaried people or families. Below that line are the poor. What’s my point? There’s a good chance that a lot of readers might have a hillbilly floating around in their families. See?.. Believable.

Third, well thought settings. This is where imagination pays off, but it doesn’t have to be all imagined. Maybe you are having trouble with settings, because you are a fresh paranormal short story teller. By relating your paranormal short story to a place that is already known for it, you are saving time. Figuring out why and how your character is in this situation. Haunted houses in your own town or neighborhood make good settings and playing off of existing information can add to plausibility.

The good thing about a short story is that it doesn’t have to cover much time; one night maybe. In a scary movie or book, there are generally several victims. Each of them is a short story about one person or a few people. It’s the combination of all the stories that makes them worthy of a movie or a book. From there, breaking down this very short story, to add detail, is what makes it a great read, even if it is short. People like to feel like they are in the material they are reading, or like they are seeing it as it happens. Description is vital and it’s difficult to really get your ideas across without a decent vocabulary. The good thing is, if you know one descriptive word that would work to help describe scenery, or how someone is feeling, or what is going on, you really know a plethora. That’s right, you know them, because there are so many on line thesauruses that it would make your head spin. I don’t always employ them, but when I feel like my descriptive words don’t exactly muster enough emotion, or aren’t strong enough, the thesaurus is an invaluable tool. Just be sure you are as descriptive, especially about important and emotional moments, as you can be, and use as much description as you as you see fit to set the scenes of each moment in between. If I can do it, you can. Remember, the best possible thing you can do is play off what you know. Good day.

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