Title: Writing Dark Stories
Author: Rayne Hall
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Rayne Hall was one of the first writers I followed on Twitter and one of the first to engage with me in a meaningful way. She always replied to any tweets, was quick to reciprocate when I promoted her books, and always ready with an answer if I was stuck (on tweeting or writing!)
Thanks to this positive interaction I decided to see what Rayne’s books were all about. She writes horror and fantasy (a huge tick in the box for me), she also has a black cat (we’re practically soul sisters!), but it was her Writer’s Craft Series that hooked me in. Over the years I have added every new release to my growing collection and find them to be a valuable resource.
Writing Dark Stories is aimed at short story writers. However, I found all the tips easy to transfer to a full-length novel. Rayne covers what ‘dark’ stories mean, as well as including an outline about the different genres within this writing community. There is a wonderful breakdown of chapters concentrating on specific villains, from the human variety right through to vampires, monsters, and even ghosts.
As with all of Rayne’s how-to books, she includes assignments throughout to test your knowledge. She uses her own short stories as an example so you can see how to use these new found writing skills.
As a fantasy writer, I found this book to be incredibly helpful, not just for evolving my writing skills, but for the abundance of ideas, I got from reading it. My favourite chapter was about feeding your fiction with your fears, a practical way to use what frightens you and build your stories around this. Although I have read a few books on publication and sales, I found the marketing section in this book to be beneficial – it never hurts to remind yourself how to market your beloved book, or indeed, why you wrote it in the first place.
“Write only what excites you, or your fiction will lack power and sincerity” Rayne Hall.
As always, I made loads of notes, and brainstormed far too many ideas that I’m sure I’ll never have time to write! Another winning book from Rayne Hall.
Learn to haunt your readers with powerful, chilling tales. Make their spines tingle with anticipation and their skins crawl with delicious fear.
Disturb their world-view and invite them to look into the dark corners of their own souls.
This book gives you a wealth of tools and techniques for writing great short stories. It is part of the acclaimed Writer’s Craft series.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. FEED YOUR FICTION WITH YOUR FEARS
2. WHY THE TITLE IS A STRONG START
3. WRITING BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS
4. FIFTEEN MASTER PLOTS
5. DARK FICTION AND HORROR GENRES
6. POINT OF VIEW
7. MANAGING TENSION
8. BUILDING SUSPENSE
9. HOW TO SCARE YOUR READERS
10. CREEPY LOCATIONS
11. MAKE THE MOST OF THE WEATHER
12. HOW TO OPEN YOUR STORY
13. HOW TO END YOUR STORY
14. VILLAINS AND MONSTERS
15. GHOST STORIES
16. VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, ZOMBIES
17. RELIGIOUS HORROR
18. Why Do People Read Horror Fiction?
19. MARKETING AND PUBLICATION
20. SAMPLE STORIES WITH COMMENTS
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