Friday, June 21, 2013

Writing Dark Suspense

Suspense, Thrillers, Romance, Paranormal, and, yes, Horror Fiction are on my To-Do list of what type of books I want to write.

While there's still a few weeks of revision remaining of the five-book Young Adult Paranormal Thriller series, in the back of my mind, there's a dark suspense brewing.

Something haunting and twisted lurks just beneath the surface . . . whoa, am I watching too many scary movies and haunted this or that television shows and reading an overabundance novels of terror, or what?

Yet the story stays with me, evolving and expanding, in the deep recesses of my mind.

A long-time Stephen King and Dean Koontz fan, I completed a Savvy Authors workshop Make it Horror, presented by P. June Diehl. Good timing in that I will be able to digest the lessons before time to start the standalone fiction book, slated to be a novel of terror.

The syllabus to the Make it Horror workshop consisted of the following topics:
  • Starting with a Dark Idea
  • Writing from Our Fears
  • Horrible Characters & Creating Monsters
  • Horrible Events (Plot)
  • Eerie Landscapes and Nightmares (Setting)
  • Creating Dark Story Tone and Mood
  • Crafting the Impossible
  • Marketing Your Horror Story
The workshop was a satisfying savvy experience for me! (Hat tip to Savvy Authors and P. June Diehl.) 

Why write dark suspense?

The scary and the obscure call to me (Stephen King, Dean Koontz), they always have, which is why I suppose for the current series, I was drawn toward writing paranormal thriller.

The how and when and why of events draws me in (Stephen King's The Shining and Dean Koontz's Watchers). The inner workings of the human mind -- greed, skewed belief systems, phobias -- has always intrigued me. The thought of haunted houses and night graveyard visits send chills and thrills up and down my spine.

What frightens you in the night or what scares you most during the day? What potential happenings cause goose bumps or encourage you to double check the locks on your doors? What's your biggest most invasive worry? Is there a childhood memory that haunts you still?

Choose one or even a combination of one of the above and write a fictionalized story about those fears, concerns and worries. Keep upping the level of those fears and the strength of the source of those fears and intensifying the conflict between the two. That's dark suspense.

The story slithering through my head, perhaps a psychological thriller with horror elements, will soon rise to the surface. How will I manage to get the story out and how will it evolve? Okay, I gotta say it -- wait for it -- now, that's suspense!

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