When I was younger, I liked to write stories, but I never really was any good at it. I did it just because I liked doing it, however, as I got older I found that I simply didn’t have the time to write stories.
Then I was approached by Rayne Hall, with an opportunity to review her book, Writing Dark Stories. I was already familiar with Rayne’s work, having recently read another book that she edited and contributed too, Dragon: Ten Tales of Fiery Beasts.
In this book, Rayne walks us through her techniques for writing dark stories, and she does an excellent job in doing so. She has broken this book up into chapters, and after explaining the techniques, she provides an assignment. Something that will allow the reader to apply the techniques to their own writing.
The chapters are as follows:
- Feed Your Fiction With Your Fears
- Why the Title is a Strong Start .
- Writing by the Seat of Your Pants
- Fifteen Master Plots Plot Ideas You Can Use.
- Dark Fiction and Horror Genres
- Point of View
- Managing Tension Goal
- Building Suspense
- How to Scare Your Readers
- Creepy Locations
- Make the Most of the Weather
- How to Open Your Story
- How to End Your Story
She starts by asking the reader to make a list of their fears, then asks them to develop a list of titles based on their fears. Nest she suggests setting a timer for one hour, then just writing any and everything that comes to mind, when you think about the title of your story.
Then you develop a plot, decide the genre and sub genres of your story, and decide which point of view you will be writing from. I had no idea that there were so many genres of horror and dark stories, and that there are combinations of the different genres, which make for an even more horrific story.
She teaches the reader how to manage tension and build suspense, and how to write in a way that will scare their own readers. She makes the most of the location, and atmosphere, and finally discusses how to both start, and end the story. In later chapters she discusses how to use things like Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, villains, monsters, ghosts, and even religion, in your writing.
She covers everything in this book, including a chapter discussing the psychological reasoning behind why people like to read dark stories. She finishes the book with a few of her own short stories, in which the reader can try to determine which of the techniques she used, and then she makes her own comments on her stories.
I love Rayne’s style of writing, and as I delve back into story writing of my own, I will definitely have this book on hand to refer to.
Have you ever, or do you currently write scary and dark short stories? If you want to build on that ability, I would strongly suggest getting yourself a copy of Writing Dark Stories . You can find it on Amazon for .99 (Kindle) or $6.63 (Paperback)