Writing A Supernatural Book? How To Get The Balance Right

By on August 12, 2017
Writing A Supernatural Book? How To Get The Balance Right - Writer's Life.org

All writing genres have their own different challenges, however, when it comes to writing supernatural fiction, there might be more than most.

Writing supernatural fiction can be so exciting for authors. Doing so really allows us to let our imaginations run wild, for in supernatural fiction we ask readers to suspend their disbelief and enter worlds where characters can time travel, where ghosts shimmer in and out of the story, where we are thousands of years in the future or live on a different planet.

Supernatural stories are always going to be popular, and don’t necessarily have the same set of stringent rules as other genres do. Because a supernatural story can be about anything, the rules are more difficult to apply.

However, one thing that is important to ensure, is that you get the balance right. Your readers still need to be able to connect with what is happening. If your story is stuffed full of supernatural elements where nothing at all is familiar, you may find your readers struggling to get to grips with it. So how can you create this balance? Here are some things you could try:

Set the story in the real world

Just because there are supernatural goings on in your story, it doesn’t mean that everything in the world that they take place in has to be otherworldly too. People are familiar with the world in which they live, they know the rules there and it makes it easier for you as a writer, to really concentrate on the supernatural elements of your book and make them shine. If you create a whole new world you need to make it believable and interesting, but also think about every little detail, and readers need to buy into that world completely.

Remember that character development and plot are still crucial

At the end of the day, there is one common rule for all novels, no matter what you are writing about. That is without a solid plot and great characters, your story will fail. So, by all means, make your story, your characters, your world, as weird and wonderful as you like - just keep your reader in mind at all times and make sure that it goes somewhere, and that your characters are intriguing, relatable and that they learn and grow.

Make sure there is a reason to use supernatural elements in your story

Don’t just stick a bunch of ghosts or vampires in your story for the sake of it, or give a kid magical powers for no reason. If you are going to have supernatural elements in your story, there has to be a reason why -so make sure you have one, and that it’s integral to the plot.

Ensure that some ‘real world’ rules apply

If you choose not to set your story in a world that is familiar, at least make your life a little easier by having some ‘real world’ rules and recognisable customs, objects or ways of doing things. If you try to make absolutely everything different your readers will struggle to understand what is going on and find it hard to connect with your story.

Writing a supernatural story can be an exciting and satisfying way for authors to exercise their creativity and deliver a story unlike any other. However, make sure you always keep your readers in mind and ensure that the finished book is one they can relate to and connect with - if you do that you can rest assured your story will be a success.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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