Monday, October 22, 2012


Okay folks gather round for some writing technique advice.

My Deacon Chalk series has its fair share of spooky moments so I am going to give you my tips and tricks for pulling that off.

Now writing is nothing more than manipulating your reader. You want to get in their head and adjust their physical and mental reaction to your whim. A good story, one that sucks the reader in one that holds their attention, making them turn that page even though the calm arms of sleep are pulling at them, wrapping them in its warm embrace, caressing them with a cold, skeletal finger they cannot . stop. reading is one that pulls them in physically and mentally.

The way you write your words and form them on the page affects not only the readers eyes but should affect their brain chemistry.

A long sprawling sentence like I wrote above can really slow down your action, making the reader pay attention to something. If it is well written it can be intense, building slowly, tension climbing up their spine as you lead them to look closer, ever closer, unable to avert their eyes.


If you want something to be scary, draw your sentences out, get descriptive in unique ways and use words that may vaguely disturb your reader.

Words like moist.

People hate the word moist.

Scary scenes are about hiding the information in a lot of words. You build a sense of foreboding by taking little bits of what you are going to reveal and piecing it out like a dismembered body.  Don't let your character know what is going to happen and your reader won't know either.

And if you can tap something that we all fear it can help immensely. Vague, undefinable, primal fear.

Not just pain or death, but the loss of our humanity, our sanity. Primordial fears like the vastness of space or the ocean, fear of the dark, horrible things happening to children or animals, the terrible betrayal of your own body, the creep of your mortality leaving you.

But the main thing for writing scary is the same thing for building tension in a sex scene: tease, tease, tease. And when you have drug your reader to the edge of their endurance you pay off all that tease with something truly terrible.

So slow down, focus on the little things, hide the details in longer sentences (without getting silly and purple about it), and play with your language and imagery to disturb your reader. That's how you build a scary scene.

No comments:

Post a Comment