Just because we cannot see certain things doesn’t mean they don’t exist! Sometimes, ‘they’ give off some kind of energy to make you feel their existence. Sounds creepy? Yes, that’s Supernatural – anything that cannot be explained. Things that hang – gaping at you – unanswered.
Writing supernatural stories is somewhat like writing any other genre. You have to research to get the things correct. But, it needs different approach.
What should be the correct approach?
Implausible Yet Believable
Supernatural stories have weird elements; things that don’t normally happen in our daily life, but as a writer, your strength lies in your ability to make your readers feel compelled to believe it.
‘Write about settings you’re familiar with.’ – Jeffery Deaver
When you write a supernatural story, it’s important that you unsettle and scare your readers. Write about settings you readers are familiar with.
For example – as a reader, I won’t be thrilled or scared if the story is set in a cave or a forest or any unfamiliar place. Even if the story seems out of the real world, it should happen in the real surroundings. Create an eerie yet relatable surrounding (and situations) for readers.
This is the core element of a supernatural story. Play with your readers, psychologically. Be an unreliable narrator at times. Leave them intrigued.
Different approach make common things interesting. Do not follow tried and tested formulae. Unpredictability is the key to an engrossing tale.
The Rule Of ‘Show, Don’t Tell’
Follow this rule strictly. Visualization is vital. Narration in a supernatural story has to be a little descriptive. But, do not ‘tell’. Show! Let your readers move and visualize with your words. Build the moment, slowly and effectively. Reveal, slowly and effectively!
Let’s Take A Breather
It’s necessary especially when you are writing a longer piece like a novel/novella. A bit of humor always works. You don’t need to insert a funny situation in a supernatural story. Break the monotony by humorous or witty dialogues.
It Happens For A Reason
‘Everything has a purpose, clocks tell you the time, trains take you to places.’ – Hugo (The Movie)
You see, even machines have purpose. The genres, supernatural/horror and tragedy are generally interlinked. Find a solid motive for the disturbance caused by the supernatural creatures. Sketch the characters deftly. Make your readers feel for them.
It makes the writing more vivid and authentic. And, for supernatural genre, it’s significant. That strange sound, any extra-ordinary smell, inexplicable sense of touch, sudden change in temperature or may be any disturbing intuition (the sixth sense) of the character. These things create intrigue.