Title: Writing Scary Scenes
Author: Rayne Hall
Published: July 6th 2012 by Scimitar Press
Genre: Non Fiction – Writing Craft
Source: Reading Addiction Blog Tours
Are your frightening scenes scary enough? Learn practical tricks to turn up the suspense. Make your readers’ hearts hammer with suspense, their breaths quicken with excitement, and their skins tingle with goosebumps of delicious fright.
This book contains practical suggestions how to structure a scary scene, increase the suspense, make the climax more terrifying, make the reader feel the character’s fear. It includes techniques for manipulating the readers’ subconscious and creating powerful emotional effects.
Use this book to write a new scene, or to add tension and excitement to a draft.
You will learn tricks of the trade for “black moment” and “climax” scenes, describing monsters and villains, writing harrowing captivity sections and breathtaking escapes, as well as how to make sure that your hero doesn’t come across as a wimp… and much more.
This book is recommended for writers of all genres, especially thriller, horror, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. It is aimed at advanced-level and professional authors and may not be suitable for beginners.
Scary stories are my most favourite things in the world, be it in book or movie form. I love that sense of dread that comes with waiting for something to go wrong. Horror, thrillers, dark fantasy, yes please, do want.
That said, for as much as I like reading it, I am complete fail at writing it. My writing tends to turn out incredibly fluffy. So when I saw this book on tour, I had to sign up. Please Ms Hall, teach me! And learn I did. It is a very informative writing craft book, well laid out and easy to follow. For every piece of advice, examples and/or further explanation is provided to ensure you really understand the concept. While a lot of it is standard scary story advice, I did find a few things I hadn’t considered before. Like euphonics and backloading. Things I have never given much conscious thought to, but will now be on the lookout for.
I am not going to give your the results of the wimp test conducted on my WIP, that would be too embarrassing. I will say that it was a real eye opener, you don’t realise how easily these things add up until you go searching for them. This review would be longer, but I now have to go put some steel in my protag’s backbone. And my story will be the better for it.
How to Give Your Novel a Great Climax
Almost every novel has a climax near the end of the book. This is when all the plot strands come together and the heroine (or hero) faces her greatest challenge. The tension is so high that the reader perches on the edge of her seat, unable to tear herself away from the story’s action.
Here are some tips how to give your readers an unforgettable climax.
- Don’t rush the climax. This is what the reader has been waiting for. Spread it out over a whole scene, perhaps even several scenes.
- The protagonist (hero/heroine) and the antagonist (villain) face each other in a final showdown. They are not equally matched: The villain is prepared, knows the terrain and has better weapons while the heroine is injured, exhausted and unarmed.
- Raise the stakes. During this final showdown, a lot is at stake, for example the heroine’s survival, the lives of loved ones, the existence of an endangered species, the future of the planet and world peace.
- Increase the excitement by adding an element of danger. Does your heroine have a phobia? Perhaps she is scared of fire, of heights or of snakes. Whatever frightens her, if she has successfully avoided it during the novel, during the climax she must confront her fears. The only way to survive and to rescue her loved ones is to enter the burning building, to scale the cliff or to jump into the snake pit.
- Choose an unusual location, perhaps one which is weird or dangerous – or both. How about a derelict rollercoaster, the rainforest canopy, a sinking cruise ship, a cable car dangling above an abyss, a dam about to burst, or an abandoned mineshaft?
If you have questions or want to discuss your ideas how to make your climax scene exciting, post a comment. I’ll be around for a week and will reply. I love answering questions!
Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).
She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies and more.