Writing the Paranormal Novel approachable, straightforward, and useful

Writers need to be readers as well. And, if we’re going to be readers, it’s natural for us to talk about what we read. This week we’re looking at Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper. Is it perfect for everyone? Probably not. Is it useful for people who want to learn about writing? I’m inclined to say so…

Who’s it for?

Writing the Paranormal Novel is meant (obviously) for those who want to write a Paranormal Novel. I wouldclassify the target audience as new or inexperienced writers. However, more experience writers can benefit too, particularly if they’re new to fiction or writing paranormal books.

What’s it good at?

The book covers a lot of nuts-and-bolts basics of writing and submitting for publication, with a focus on paranormal material.

One of the most interesting things it covers is defining what’s meant as a paranormal novel. A paranormal novel is relatively real-world, not high fantasy or ‘whiz jet’ science fiction. Sci-fi and fantasy writers can learn from the book but expect the examples to have a lot more ‘smart’ phones and compact cars than laser cannons or knights on horseback.

To me, the most useful thing in the book is advice about using themes in your writing. It got me thinking about how to work more efficiently on some of my non-paranormal stories, as well as the magic infused ones.

What isn’t it good at?

The book’s on the basic side of things. You won’t find the inner secrets of Steven King (try reading On Writing (By Steven King…)). You’re also not going to find a Dungeons and Dragons style “Monster Manual”.

The book will teach you about researching monsters and weirdness. It will teach you how to make your monsters and weirdness distinctive. But it won’t tell you what specific weirdness and beasties you need to include in your book. I’m actually ok with that, because you should make those decisions for yourself.

Would I read it again?

Would I read it for the first time, knowing what the book is good at? Probably. I learned a thing or two.

Would I read it a second time? Probably not, in the near future at least. I’ve mined the information I need from it and I’m ready to move on. I am holding onto it, in case I need to refer to it (or loan it to someone else) in the future.

Like I said, as writers, we need to be readers as well. We need to read in genre, out of genre (why I picked the book up), and about writing. Currently, I’m reading a book on game design (for reasons that will come up here in the future…).

What books are on your list, dear reader? Share if you want to. And either way, I’ll see you next post.

Published by Farangian

I'm a writer (fiction and non fiction) with a Masters in Psychology. I am also a sculptor, metal smith, lapidary, tutor/trainer, and eternal student. The name Farangian comes from the name of a fantasy world I created called Farangia. That name comes from Farang with is a term that the Thai use for westerners.

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