Something Woo-Woo This Way Comes (Penny Rader)

In honor of Halloween and the spooky, the strange, and the weird, I searched the Internet for articles and resources to aid in the writing of paranormal or supernatural tales.

I hope you find something in the snippets I've included that appeals to you and makes you click the links to read the entire articles.

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A Dark and Stormy Night: 10 Tips for Writing a Paranormal Mystery (Wendy Webb)
  • Real world or new world?
  • Once you've created your world, make your readers want to live there. And then pull the rug out from under them.
  • Even implausible situations must be plausible.
  • The "dark and stormy night" cliché isn't a cliché for nothing. 
  • Adapt The Hero's Journey.
  • Create vulnerability or danger that the lead character doesn't see for awhile, but the reader does.
  • Give your readers breaks in the suspense. 
  • You've got to believe.
  • Was it just my imagination?

Hartwig HKD
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How Paranormal Fiction Is Like Garlic (Kait Nolan)

…the paranormal includes phenomena and manifestations that lie outside the range of normal experience and cannot be scientifically explained or proven.
  • Powers
  • Creatures
  • Angels/Demons
  • Witches
  • Ghosts
  • Fairies/Pixies/Other fae folk
  • Gods/Goddesses
  • The just plain weird

An Introduction to Writing the Paranormal Novel and Supernatural Elements (Courtney Carpenter)

Paranormal novels…need some element of magic or the supernatural that’s so deeply integral to the story that the entire novel would collapse if you removed it.

People have been telling supernatural stories from the beginning of human civilization. Such stories form the basis of every mythology that ever existed.

Supernatural stories feed the human desire for escape. We can pretend we’re riding that magic carpet, making those three wishes, or swinging that sword because we know (deep sigh) it’s never going to happen for real.

How to Write a Paranormal – 7 Tips to Remember (K.A.E Grove)
  • Originality in your writing
  • Create a solid mythology
  • A strong female heroine
  • Hero
  • Conflict and Villains
  • Violence
  • Stills needs a happily-ever-after

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Writing about Magic in Your Paranormal Romance, Part One (Lisa Whitefern)  and Part Two 

Logic and consistency are important.

Make magic relevant to your story, and a meaningful part of the conflict within the characters.

Consider what is important to your character, and associate the cost of using the power with this important thing.

Writing rules for magic systems:
  • Establish a set of rules.
  • Have someone (or something) deliver the rules of the magic system to your character.
  • Create scenarios in which to put your characters that test these very rules.
  • Create situations in which the cost of using magic is something that risks what the character holds dear. 
Types of consequences for the use of magic or limitations to magic:
  • Time sensitive 
  • Can be blocked
  • Can be painfully overwhelming
  • Unexpected
  • Exhausting
  • Can only occur under specific conditions
  • Can only be used a certain number of times
  • Restricted
  • Corrupts
  • A price
  • Requires a recipe
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Bonus Material for sticking with me – Resources to Check Out: 

Encyclopedia Mythallica (all things mythical)

Encyclopedia Mythica (mythology, folklore, religion)

godchecker (gods and goddesses)

Irish Fairies

Myth and Legend from Ancient Times to the Space Age

Paranormal Research & Resource Society

Paranormal Vocabulary

Psychic Research – PRISM Paranormal Research

Religions and Myths

Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s Library (check out the left side of the screen)

Sacred Text (religion, mythology, folklore)

Werewolves: The Myths and the Truths

Zerotime (vampires and werewolves)


Are you writing a paranormal story or have a favorite paranormal story? Do you have any tips or resources to share? I’d love to hear all about it in the Comments section.


Tanya Hanson said...

Good stuff here although I wish there was less trend for violence. One thing I'm noticing in many of the TV shows hubs and I watch...the unbelievability and illogic. Yeah, you need that in worlds you create no matter real or unreal.

One of the best paranormal movies ever is Nicole Kidman's The Others. Getting goosebumpy just at the thought.

Judy Ann Davis said...

Nice post. Although I don't write paranormal, some of your tips are important in writing any suspense or mystery. Write on!

Penny Rader said...

Hi Tanya! I totally get what you're saying about violence. There are a couple tv series I haven't watched because they look too gruesome. I like suspense, but not outright horror.

A couple of my current faves are Grimm and Sleepy Hollow, but I haven't been able to make myself watch the new Dracula series. Just not a fan of loads of blood.

I also agree that suspension of disbelief and logic is super important. A speaker at a workshop I attended a long time ago said with paranormal stories it's essential to create rules (and consequences!) and stick to them, otherwise you risk losing your readers.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks for dropping by, Judy Ann! So glad you found the tips helpful. I get a kick out of finding articles and resources that apply to all kinds of writing...and I love sharing what I find.

L. A. Kelley said...

Good post. The lack of logic and consistancy in much TV writing is a pet peeve of mine. it's why shows don't hold my interest for long. Producers should take note of your information.

Penny Rader said...

Thank you for your kind words, L.A., and for visiting our blog!

LynnPenn said...

These are some great resources. Thanks for posting them.

Rox Delaney said...

Aha! I'm so glad I finally had a minute to check this out. I see a link for psychic paranormal. Just what I need! I lost all my research notes for a story I started, so these will help. Thank you, Penny!!