5 Best Things About Writing Horror and Supernatural Fiction

Since I was seven years old, when my mom bought me a hello kitty diary for Christmas, I’ve been penning stories of the supernatural kind. I didn’t use it as a dear-diary-ramble-fest. Instead, I used it for bringing various fictional characters and ideas to life on the pages in short story form. Driven by my two favorite TV shows: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Twilight Zone, as well as the dark tales of Edgar Allen Poe and Radio Mystery Theater, a little writer was growing within me. Two of those stories will become novels at some point, because looking back at them, I think they’re pretty darn good! Reading past the adolescent mind, the undertones are chilling and exciting! Almost “creepy-kid” level, but not quite. I like to think of it more as “astounding and intelligent imagination and creativity.”

I’m no expert, but I have been writing in this realm long enough that I feel my opinion on the “best of” might matter.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  So, without further adieu…. here’s my list!

5) People think that horror writers are strange, even downright weird. While I disagree (I think fantasy/sci-fi writers are way stranger), it’s a nice cover, especially if you find yourself in a funny situation. Merely act weird! Works every time and you’re forgiven because, well, they sort of expected it so life goes on without incident.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

4) This one might seem a little weird, though, contradicting what I just said in #5, but I’ll say it anyway. Ever get so mad at the human race that you just feel murderous? While it’s most likely just horrid PMS (and men get that too, so it works both ways), here’s your chance to get out some aggression in story form without ever actually harming anyone.ย  Have a ghost possess and destroy a person’s body, wreaking havoc on their innards like nothing else can.ย  OR, even better, put them in the path of a killer or let a zombie eat them for dinner. Voila! Problem solved and you’re not in jail.ย  Did I just say that?

3) If you love to be scared, watch horror movies like they’re going out of style, and totally get off on the thrill, but feel like recent horror has been lacking in the true terror department, here’s your chance to set it straight! Write your best frightening sequences, pull them together into story form, and scare the hell out of yourself (and others) while doing it! It most likely won’t disappoint you, since you wrote it, and it may even get considered by some of the best horror directors looking for fresh, new, raw material.ย  Maybe they’ll even stop remaking every great horror film in history and just leave them alone while creating new classics. Just a thought.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Oh, and a bonus to this one would be having a super hot horror writer or director with a fabulous mind and mad voodoo skills, like let’s say Eli Roth or Steve Niles or Rob Zombie or Dario Argento (I don’t care how old he is, he’s hot by nature!) approach you, review you, tweet you, or praise you in any way, shape, or form.ย  That would be honor enough for a lifetime.ย  To me, anyway. โค

Eli Roth on the set of Hostel.

2) There’s no limit and there’s no right or wrong in horror writing! You can get as brutal or keep it as clean as you like in your descriptions of scenes or kills. There’s probably a line somewhere in there, but who’s to decide where that line is?ย  If you’re writing dark fiction of any kind, the reader typically knows what they’re getting themselves into when they pick up your book, so you’re pretty safe either way. Although some of them still break the cardinal rule and say something like, “Oh, it wasn’t my type of story, but I read it anyway and now feel the need to give it an unfair bad review because I couldn’t take the violence.” Um, okay. Thanks for reading it anyway. It still struck a chord and that’s a writer’s goal anyway. :-p

And finally, my number 1 favorite reason for writing at all, especially in the realm of horror and supernatural…

1) You get to turn nightmares into reality. You get to pull them out of your head and throw them out there into the world, thus terrifying everyone else and sweeping your psyche clean. It’s self-hypnosis. Self-healing. Self-therapy! Set it free; it sits right at your fingertips and hovers in the depths of your mind. Pull it out, detox, and terrorize others instead. Pure. Simple. Fun.


9 comments on “5 Best Things About Writing Horror and Supernatural Fiction

  1. I can see you’re someone that understands this! Glad to know I’m not the only one with these thoughts and opinions on horror and supernatural fiction.

    I write a lot of it myself, got some short stories published, wrote some books, including a full outline of a six book series with two of the books already written (first and second drafts, anyway)… still working on mastering my own craft before getting them published.

    But anyway, I couldn’t have said this any better myself.:) I really ought to check out your books sometime. ๐Ÿ™‚

    – Devon Carey

    • Yes, Devon, you should! I’d love your feedback. And I just have to tell you, I have a very soft spot for “Dev” as one of my main characters is Devendra. She’s my favorite.

      Where can I check out some of your work?

  2. That’s awesome. I’ll be sure to buy your book. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now, as for where you can check out my work, I haven’t exactly gotten any books published yet. I’m an aspiring writer, been out of high school for two years, and I have written books and short stories… but you know how hard it can be to get published through agents and publishers, I’m sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

    However, eventually I am planning on creating an anthology book with my short stories and just e-publishing them myself–published previously in magazines or not. And then focusing on the novels. I’m only 20, so I’ve got a lot of time. Ha Ha.

    Would you be interested in reading one of my favorite short stories? It’s not published yet, but I’m working on trying to get it published in a really good magazine.

    Could I e-mail it to you? I would really appreciate the feedback. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think you’d enjoy it.

    • Certainly: info@giannaperada.com – I’d love to see it. You have plenty of time, and yes, I definitely know how hard it is to get the attention of editors, agents, or publishers out there. Self-publishing is the way of the writer these days. It is a vast open sea. Do some research and away you go. But remember, it takes time to introduce yourself to the world, so it may take months or years of daily work on your part to do it. Don’t get discouraged. Keep forging ahead and you’ll see results. =)

  3. Thanks, Gianna.

    The story is in your e-mail now. =]

    Can I ask you a question? – Did you self-published? If so, how did you do it? And did you try for agents and publishers first? I was always told to be cautious when self publishing, but I heard in recent months that e-publishing and self-publishing are in fact becoming more popular in the writer world. What are your thoughts on self/e-publishing? I always thought that it was frowned upon in the eyes of agents and publishers if someone wanted to get published the traditional way.

    • No, I don’t agree with that at all. I think self-publishing of solid material is booming. It is only a problem with sloppy writers who don’t spend a lot of time editing and formatting their material that might be annoying to some.

      I haven’t heard of publishers or editors not picking you up for trying yourself; I’ve heard the exact opposite. And I played the game plenty! Had many bites over the years, an agent whom I fired because I did more work than he ever attempted with it. I finally published my work under my own micro press. I’ve done all the marketing and work on it every single day. And it’s been going very well. I am successfully marketing myself. The only thing I am missing is an advance and a known name to back me. It isn’t stopping me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Ah, yes. That’s very helpful information. I’ve wanted to self publish or e publish, but was afraid that by doing so it would be frowned upon in the agent and publishing world, and it would make it harder for me to get published through them.

    I am starting to see, however, that it is not such a bad idea, especially if you take the time to market and edit and revise yourself, very thoroughly, and of course with the help of others.

    The main problem that I have is that, well, it seems that I try to please everyone, which I realize is impossible. I currently use a writers workshop that helps, but at the same time, with the critiques that I receive, I never feel like my work is good enough, so I almost never send it out. I just keep revising, and revising, then I set it aside to work on something else because I feel as if it’s not good enough just yet, but I promise myself that I’ll get to it later (which I usually do)…

    ^ Why do you think I have so many “finished” works, but almost none of them are published? Lol. I set them aside to get to them later, because I don’t think they are good enough yet.

    Sometime this year I’m just going to start working on one of my novels again and get it published myself. I have so many different stories and books that I could work on, but that’s just the thing… I think I have too many for me to swallow all at once… Ha Ha. I’ve just been wanting to make them as perfect as possible, I guess, so that’s why it’s taking me forever… Heh heh. ๐Ÿ™‚

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