Sunday, August 5, 2007

How To Write a Good Ghost Story or A Story about a Chilling of Frightening Experience

I love reading ghost stories and other stories of paranormal activity as they are my trips into a fantasy world from which I can awake and continue a normal life. What I do not love is to read the stories written in not-so-good language as it makes me realize how silly it all sounds.

Then I got a funny idea (I have a weird sense of humor). I thought I'd put together a few tips on how to write good 'frightening' stories; whatever subject they may be - ghosts, weird animals, ufo and the like. (Snickers). It's not really a thorough 'how-to' guide, it's just some funny tips on how to phrase sentences or use the right words.

  1. Use the word 'encounter' instead of 'meet'; that would frighten everyone from the very beginning;
  2. Use the words 'chill, chilling, shivers up my/your/his/her spine' as much as possible.
  3. 'my hairs raised on end'; instead of just 'my hair raised';
  4. Don't say things like this: 'They said no human could be bent like this thing was. Its eyes were black, but it did have the whites as well. Its skin was transparent green, and it was wearing nothing but white pants and black shoes. Karl said that it looked like a dead Ziggy Stardust because the hair was bright red.' - this doesn't sound credible at all; who is Ziggy Stardust anyway? And which one is it; white or black eyes; was the white part its iris?
  5. Don't say things like 'The skin of her face was dark, but it looked like a cross between terribly dried and wrinkled skin and what I can only describe as tin foil, crinkled up and smoothed out again. I'm sure you know what that looks like. ' - Take into account that your reader wouldn't know what that looks like; but they have an imagination ...
  6. When saying things like 'He stood still, featureless, with the top hat resting on his chest. I noticed he had a lacy undershirt,', don't forget to mention that he may have had ghostly hands that held the top hat there; or mention if it was just floating on his chest if perhaps that were the case; I assume the ghostly specter, this top-hat man, had ghostly hands too;
  7. Don't show pictures of strange lights, orbs or wishy-washy ghosts whilst telling people that it looks like your great-grandfather with his glasses on and no-one can actually recognize a thing except a blur.
If I see more things that you can improve as a ghost or paranormal writer, I'll continue this list.

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