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Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story. Paperback – March 14, 2011
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The chapters cover a significant amount of ground, but some of the most helpful parts discuss the problems of cliche, maintaining realism, and developing a series from a single idea without "superhero creep" or other problems that can derail the world created by the author. He also looks at sources for the paranormal storyline, the various types of protagonist and antagonist, and how to avoid many of the two-dimensional repetitive characters that appear in books over and over.
I've read quite a few really bad books on writing fiction so I'm pleased to say that I can't recommend this enough. Although I don't write paranormal fiction, there's more than enough food for thought here to apply to other genres and even screenwriters will probably find the content useful.
Although it doesn't cover Zombies as extensively as I would like, it's a fantastic guide for anyone hoping to break into the Paranormal genre, and a great read in and of itself. I do wish it had a table of contents for the Kindle edition, but reading it from start to finish is far from a chore. I have read several books about the nitty-gritty details of novel writing, but this one is exceedingly well-written, arming the aspiring novelist with everything he or she needs to manifest an exciting and solid piece of fiction. For anyone trying to write a good Paranormal novel, consider this book a MUST-READ!
If someone would like to learn how to create their own supernatural creature I recommend they read this short book. They will not be disappointed. One additional book I found super informative is Michael Howard's the 'Occult Conspiracy'. Certainly one will get a feel for all types of evil forces that might have existed and perhaps still do after reading Mr. Howard's work on the subject of secret societies and the occult.
Nevertheless without Mr. Harper's book you are hamstrung when it comes to creating evil spirits, ghost or writing something in terms of the paranormal that will scare the wits out of your readers. I recommend both books for sure.
The exercises were like having a one-on-one writing instructer right there beside me. Working through them helped me see ordinary things in a new way that added richness to my own story. The chapter on cliches helped me to spot and get rid of them in my own work. It had sound advice about publishing, too, that I need to think about in order to make an informed choice when that time comes.
From cover to cover, this book was just what I needed. Even though my book was a sci-fi fantasy, rather than a paranormal story, this book was still right on the target with its advise.
I found it invaluable. I'm sure others will too.