Looking For A Book About 2 Old Ladies Cozy Mystery How to Write a Great Ghost Story

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How to Write a Great Ghost Story

Why do some ghost stories keep you up all night, looking in your closet and checking under your bed?

Why do other ghost stories produce laughs or complete boredom?

Here are some thoughts on what makes the PERFECT ghost story.

1) Atmosphere

No ghost story is worth a goosebump without atmosphere. Readers must be gradually removed from their cozy environment and brought into the ghostly world of the ghost. The author must involve all the senses, including sight, smell, sound and touch. A skilled author may evoke other “senses” such as premonition or “women’s intuition.” The ghost story demands that the reader be shown the atmosphere, not told. Of all the elements that make a great ghost story, atmosphere is probably the most important.

Where should a ghost story take place? A ghost story doesn’t have to take place in a decrepit mansion or a graveyard. Expert ghost authors like Ambrose Bierce or Peter Straub use various settings for their ghost stories, including cabins in the woods or a coffee shop. It’s how the authors use the setting to produce the willies that matters.

2) Emotion

You can’t have a scary read without the characters feeling a surge of fear. The reader will identify with the gradual sense of dread and begin to feel the same. The best stories find themselves in the reader with gentle strokes of fear. Today’s reader will laugh or cringe if presented with a hard-hitting approach to a ghost story. The reader requires a modicum of belief to be truly afraid.

3) Plot

A ghost story needs a plot. The reader craves a reason to keep turning the pages. An engaging beginning, a breathless middle, and a satisfying ending are paramount.

Be original. Nothing will lose a reader’s interest more than a revamped plot. If I read another story about a group of teenagers stranded in an old house in the rain, I’ll wear a dress. And that’s sure to make the neighbors scream!

Create a mystery. All great ghost stories have a mystery behind them. The reader engages with the characters to unravel the story behind the wonder. Don’t present a bottomless ghost. Remember that the ghost is the main character of the ghost story and has to be a living part of the story. It’s not exactly living, but…

So get out your feathers, pull back the curtains, light your candle and start writing your ghost story… I dare you!

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