In the vast literature landscape, genre beckons to the curious and the imaginative—the realm of supernatural writing. This genre, characterized by the infusion of magic, ghosts, mythical creatures, and otherworldly phenomena, has a profound allure that transcends time and captivates readers across generations.
This blog post will carry us through the mystical realms of supernatural writing, unravelling its intricacies, discussing its impact, and uncovering the secrets to crafting compelling tales that bridge the gap between reality and the unknown.
Unveiling the Supernatural
To begin our exploration, let us first define the supernatural elements at this genre’s heart. The paranormal encompasses phenomena that defy the laws of nature as we understand them—powers that transcend the ordinary, spirits that roam between worlds, and forces that wield light and darkness.
These elements are not confined to a single culture or era but have deep historical roots across diverse civilizations. From the ancient myths of gods and goddesses to the folklore of spirits and demons, supernatural storytelling has been an intrinsic part of human expression.
Throughout literary history, the supernatural has evolved, adapting to society’s changing perspectives and interests. From the medieval tales of knights facing mythical creatures to the Victorian fascination with spiritualism and the paranormal, supernatural writing has mirrored the collective beliefs and fears of its time. Today, in an age of scientific advancement, esoteric literature continues to thrive as a testament to our enduring fascination with the unknown.
Building Your Supernatural World for your writing
Crafting a convincing supernatural world demands meticulous attention to detail. As an author, you can define the rules that govern the supernatural within your narrative. Will strict rituals govern magic, or will it flow freely like a force of nature? Will the spirits in your story be benevolent guides or malevolent tricksters? The coherence and consistency of your supernatural rules will anchor your readers in the unbelievable, fostering their immersion in the world you’ve created.
Incorporating supernatural elements into your story’s setting is an art that requires subtlety. Whether your tale unfolds in a sprawling urban landscape or an ethereal realm, the supernatural should feel like an organic part of the environment. The interplay between the magical and the mundane can create a captivating contrast, highlighting the extraordinary nature of the elements at play.
Crafting Compelling Supernatural Characters
At the heart of every supernatural tale are characters who bear the weight of extraordinary abilities or curses. Protagonists grapple with the responsibility that comes with their powers, whether they wield them for good or succumb to their darker impulses. Conversely, antagonists might harness forbidden magic to achieve their sinister ambitions, adding layers of complexity to the conflict. Side characters, which include mythical creatures, ghosts, and magical beings, contribute to the richness of your world, providing opportunities for diverse perspectives and interactions.
Plot Devices and Twists
The supernatural offers a treasure trove of plot possibilities. From using a prophecy as a driving force for the narrative to incorporating visions that foreshadow pivotal events, these elements can create an air of intrigue and suspense. Plot twists that reveal unexpected connections between the supernatural and reality can shatter preconceived notions, leaving readers amazed and hungry for more.
Tapping into Human Emotions
One of the remarkable aspects of supernatural writing is its ability to magnify human experiences through metaphor and symbolism. By intertwining supernatural elements with emotions such as fear, love, and wonder, writers can evoke intense feelings within readers. A haunted house becomes a manifestation of a character’s trauma, a spell reflecting the desperation of unrequited love, and a mythical creature embodies the yearning for freedom.
Moral and Ethical Dilemmas
While the supernatural offers a realm of limitless possibilities, it also mirrors our own ethical dilemmas. Characters wielding immense power face moral choices that parallel our natural world. The consequences of their actions ripple through the fabric of your narrative, prompting readers to reflect on our choices and their impact on the world around us.
Research and World-Building
Creating a compelling supernatural world requires a blend of research and imagination. Drawing inspiration from global folklore, mythology, and occult practices can infuse your narrative with authenticity and depth. By establishing a comprehensive lore for your supernatural elements, you invite readers to suspend their disbelief and fully immerse themselves in your story.
Writing Atmospheric and Immersive Scenes
Mastering the art of crafting atmospheric scenes is crucial in supernatural writing. The setting becomes more than a backdrop; it transforms into an active participant in the story. Using descriptive language that engages the senses, you can transport readers into a world where they can feel the chill of a ghostly presence or the crackle of magical energy.
The Power of Symbolism and Metaphors
Supernatural elements offer a canvas for symbolic expression. A silver amulet might represent protection, while a forbidden spellbook could symbolize the allure of unchecked power. Metaphors woven into the supernatural can deepen the thematic layers of your story, inviting readers to explore multiple levels of meaning.
Editing and Polishing
As with any genre, editing is vital in perfecting your supernatural tale. Ensuring consistency in your established rules and eliminating any plot holes related to the supernatural will create a seamless reading experience. Beta readers can provide invaluable feedback on the clarity and impact of your supernatural elements, helping you refine your narrative further.
Checklist for supernatural writing
- Idea Generation:
- Brainstorm supernatural elements, powers, or creatures you want to include.
- Consider how the supernatural fits within your story’s theme and message.
- Explore unique twists on existing supernatural tropes.
- Define the rules and limitations of your supernatural elements.
- Create a consistent and coherent supernatural lore for your story’s universe.
- Develop the history, origins, and cultural influences of your supernatural beings.
- Character Development:
- Determine how supernatural abilities or curses impact each character’s personality and arc.
- Establish motivations and goals related to supernatural elements.
- Craft distinct voices and perspectives for supernatural and non-supernatural characters.
- Setting and Atmosphere:
- Use descriptive language to portray supernatural settings vividly.
- Create an atmospheric tone that aligns with the mood of supernatural occurrences.
- Utilize sensory details to immerse readers in supernatural experiences.
- Plot and Conflict:
- Integrate supernatural elements as catalysts for plot developments.
- Incorporate twists and surprises that involve the supernatural.
- Ensure the supernatural conflict complements the characters’ personal struggles.
- Dialogue and Interaction:
- Infuse dialogue with authentic reactions to supernatural events.
- Showcase characters’ differing beliefs, fears, or scepticism about the supernatural.
- Utilize conversations to reveal supernatural rules or information organically.
- Symbolism and Themes:
- Identify metaphors and symbols that enhance the thematic depth of your story.
- Explore how the supernatural can mirror real-world issues or emotions.
- Weave supernatural elements into the story’s central themes for a cohesive narrative.
- Review the established rules of your supernatural world for coherence.
- Eliminate contradictions or inconsistencies in the portrayal of supernatural elements.
- Ensure characters’ supernatural abilities remain within the established boundaries.
- Character Arcs:
- Evaluate how the supernatural impacts each character’s growth and transformation.
- Confirm that characters’ decisions and actions related to the supernatural align with their development.
- Pacing and Tension:
- Balance the pacing of supernatural events with quieter character moments.
- Build tension through the gradual reveal of supernatural mysteries.
- Ensure the resolution of supernatural conflicts is satisfying and well-paced.
- Beta Reader Feedback:
- Seek input from beta readers, specifically regarding the clarity and impact of supernatural elements.
- Address any confusion or questions raised by beta readers regarding the supernatural aspects.
- Title and Marketing:
- Choose a title that hints at the supernatural intrigue within your story.
- Craft a captivating book blurb that highlights the unique supernatural elements.
- Cover Design:
- Collaborate with a designer to create a cover that visually represents supernatural aspects.
- Use symbolism or imagery that evokes the mood and tone of your supernatural world.
- Author’s Note (Optional):
- Include a brief note discussing your inspiration and approach to the supernatural.
- Provide insights into the cultural, mythological, or historical influences behind your supernatural elements.
The allure of supernatural writing lies in its timeless ability to transport readers beyond the boundaries of reality. By infusing your narrative with carefully crafted supernatural elements, you can create a world that captivates and challenges, inviting readers to explore the depths of human emotion and the mysteries that lie beyond our understanding. As you embark on your journey into supernatural writing, remember that the power to enchant and amaze is within your grasp. Embrace your creativity, experiment boldly, and craft tales that bridge the gap between the known and the unknowable.