How to Write Paranormal Fiction

By on Mar 13, 2017 in Fiction, Writing & Editing

A male vampire and a human girl meet at school, and their relationship continues as a complex friendship and love. Does this sound familiar? This is the story of Twilight written by Stephenie Meyer. Twilight belongs to the paranormal genre of fiction. If you wish to write paranormal fiction, then your novel must contain magic or supernatural people like vampires or shape-shifters. How do you write paranormal fiction? Read on.

Portray a real world or a fantasy world

The first thing that you should decide is the degree of paranormal element your writing should have. Your story can portray a real world with real-like characters with a sense of eeriness around them. Your character may be an eccentric old lady, or a witch, or your hero may be a psychic who can remember past lives. You can also create an entirely different world of fantasy. Those are worlds in which wizards go to special boarding schools like in the Harry Potter series or teenaged vampires go around in cars. You need to make a choice and decide the rules of the world you choose.

Paint a nice picture

Once you have created your world in your story, describe the places in such a manner that your readers would love to stay there forever! Carol Goodman’s The Ghost Orchid is a novel which resurrects the sins of the past and focuses on ghosts that continue to torment and will not rest. In The Ghost Orchid, a couple of artists and writers travel to New York to work under the alluring spell of the Bosco estate. The estate is scenic with fountains and gardens. Carol Goodman captivates readers through her descriptive style of writing that later becomes intriguing. From the scenic description, the readers are taken through something that becomes more menacing. Biographer Bethesda Graham unearths some stunning revelations about the spiritualist Corinth; landscape architect David Fox discovers hidden tunnels underneath the gardens; poet Zalman Bronsky hears the long-dry fountain’s waters beckoning him. Once you have painted an enticing picture, then introduce the problem element and make things go wrong.

Make improbable situations probable

Your readers are sensible. A reader will question something that sounds illogical. If one of your characters rushes to the bathroom when she hears a scream, then your reader will naturally wonder why your character did not call the police. It is important to answer such questions in your narrative. Probably her phone was dead or she couldn’t find it.

Create vulnerability

When you create vulnerable characters in your story, then your readers’ curiosity would be piqued. In The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian, when a family moves into a new home the readers know that their daughters are targeted by some group of women in the town. But the characters are not aware initially. This generates a lot of questions in the minds of the readers. Who are these women? Why are they targeting the daughters? Are they witches?

Use the “dark and stormy night” theme

A dark and stormy night theme may sound clichéd but it is actually not. The Victorian thriller The Turn of the Screw by Henry James portrays a haunted house, a panic stricken nanny and her two charges. The atmospheric description in the writing adds to the reading experience.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in December 2016.

I’m Smitha Abraham. I love traveling in my flights of imagination and use these flights to craft short stories and poetry. I am a budding writer from India. My passions are reading, creative writing, listening to music, learning new languages, meeting new people, getting acquainted with different cultures and traveling. Authors like Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, genres like magic realism, historical romance, and writing styles that are imaginative and flow effortlessly fascinate me. I love to unwind with a book curled up on a sofa or by gazing at the stars by the sea shore. I am a nature lover and spending time admiring the sunset and sunrise is relaxing for me.