How to write a horror story? Authors’ Tips – A to Z of Writing

My upcoming book, The Clockmaker, is a supernatural series releasing this month. So here I am  sharing a few tips on the same. Since you are reading this post so you are interested in supernatural or horror stories and maybe you are writing one too. Cool! So lets’ quickly get down to the tips but before that I would like to mention that this post is part of A to Z blog post series that a few of us, authors are doing.authors-on-a-z-of-writing

Welcome to a new series of blog posts titled “Authors’ Tips – A to Z of Writing”. Authors Devika Fernando, Preethi Venugopala, Reet Singh, Ruchi Singh, Adite Banerjie, Saiswaroopa Iyer , Sudesna Ghosh and myself — will be posting on a multitude of subjects related to writing. Topics will be chosen alphabetically and each week we propose to cover at least one or more subjects characterized by the Alphabet of the Week.

Okay, so here are a few of my tips on writing horror stories. But just for your information, they are my personal tips, one that works best for me. So please suit yourself.

  • Perfect timing is a must for me. I am usually more comfortable writing late at night. Pin drop silence around. So that when I read my horror scenes I am scared too. Especially around midnight when for some reasons all the dogs in our neighborhood start howling together. Jesus!
  • Start the story with some action scene. This is especially recommended for both thrillers and horror. Show one of your scenes that is really scary. Let the readers bite their nails and question the narrator why??
  • Remember there is no logic. When you write your story you are your best judge. Don’t let anybody else voice your thoughts. This I consider extremely important for writing. So let your story flow as it comes. For me, it’s my characters who decide the course of action they want to take. I only know the beginning and the ending of my scene, rest I flow with them. Let them meet challenges and overcome as they go.
  • When writing horror scene just make sure it is short and crispy. Play with your words, show the setting, let the reader hear the sound, let them feel what the character is feeling. Make the reader part of your story. Always remember the fear till it is undiscovered. So play along till then.
  • Ending the chapter with a cliff-hanger can be engaging. This will keep the readers questioning. But make sure you answer them in the next scene itself otherwise the excitement will die down and the reader may lose interest.
  • Every horror author has their own style of inflicting fear. Some do with zombies, some use the ghosts, some try bloodshed, some with the unknown and so on. All the factors are good as long as you stick to one of them. And whichever you choose to make sure, the tactics are same everywhere. Always give your protagonists the best they can have and then take it away from them. By the time the story ends the readers very well know who will be the winner.

There are more but I would end it here. I do hope my tips are of some help to you. Do share your thoughts on it and stay tuned for my next post.  Thanks.

 

 

 

 

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My storytelling experience

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So in the kids carnival I had been invited for storytelling to the kids. It was a big opportunity for  me as I was seeing instant reaction of the kids as I was telling them stories from my books Grow Up Messy! and The Santa’s Gift. Here is series of dialogues that a few of the kids had with me.

Me: Did you ever got a chance to climb trees?

Kids: But why do we have to climb trees?

Me: No. No. You don’t have to. You see kids enjoy plucking mangoes from the tree and that too when the guard is having his siesta. You see thats what Misry and her gang of village kids use to do in the lazy summer afternoon. Its fun. (I stressed the last word a bit)

Kids: But maam, we don’t have mango tress around so we guess we are going to miss all the fun. Anyways what happened next.

Me: And then …..(I could see their gleaming with happiness as if they were part of the gang)

Kid: Ouch! Didn’t she get hurt when she fell down from the Machan?

Me: Yeah it did hurt her but you see she had landed on the sleeping guard and woke him up.

Kid: OMG! She should run then.

Me: Blah blah ….So Misry goes to Bheeu’s house to looks at the goat kids.

Kid: A goat?

Me: Yeah a goat. Haven’t you seen one?

Kid: I don’t remember seeing one.

Me: (googled for Goat) Here see this pic.

Kid: Oh this I have seen. They are bought young and fed very well until they grow up and then one day they are chopped off.

Me. Silent.

Living in big cities these kids haven’t come enough closer to nature to undersand the beauty of it. I wish this generation gets to have more fun outdoor without any props and gazattes like the kids in the 80s and 90s .

 

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The Algebra of life

My first post this year is a Gyan Varsha. Hope you relate to it.

So I was teaching Algebra to my son. This is his first time with the subject and he is also taking a keen interest in it. I am enjoying it too because at school it happened to be my favorite chapter in Mathematics. All you have to do is just understand the grouping to solve the riddle. It is fun, Algebra.

Apart from the fun, this time I saw the algebraic expression in a different manner. Somewhere I could relate it with our own identity. Lols. I know you might be smiling back at my words but there is one. Let me show you how.

According to the rules of Algebra,

When there is no constant with a variable in an algebraic expression, then it is considered to be 1

Ex:  x2y5  has no variables. Therefore the constant numerical here is 1.

Similarly, if an expression has no symbol before it then it implies it is (+)

So x2y5  is actually (+ 1x2y5)

Where + and 1 are present in the expression but hidden.

Now let’s take another example, (-2 x2y5).

In this one can clearly see,

the symbol (-) and the constant (2)

This implies, if something is not visible, its presence cannot be denied either. Like (+1) though not visible in the expression x2y5 but is very much present.

Now let’s, relate the same to our life.

Let’s look at the picture. white-926838_1920

 

 

 

 

He is alone and his expression is not visible. So maybe he is happy, sad, angry, frightened or it can be just about anything.

However, just like the expression in algebra, there are variable and constant factors in his life too. and so does the symbols. Variable can be his situation, his job, his relationship, his quest for life etc. And the symbols can be happy, sad, angry, frightened etc. There can be a constant factor too in his life as his children, parents, siblings, relatives etc. The spouse can be considered as a constant, however, technically it is not always the case with many. With divorce and extramarital affairs at rising it is better off as a variable.

So let’s get back to our man. He is alone and no expressions visible.

So this can imply, he has no constant and no symbol. Which again implies, there is something hidden which is not visible to others. He isn’t alone and he does have a symbol.

The constant factor that is with him is the God (Jiska koi nahi uska khuda hai yaaron, when there is no one there is God) and since no symbol means + therefore, what he possesses is tons of positive attitude which of course, can keep him walking up the ladder of his life if he just realize its power.

But we tend to forget it and depend more on others to make us happy or successful. If we try, things are in our hands only and with small efforts, we can bring about big positive changes in our life. All we need to do is believe in ourselves that whatever we are doing is for good.

So, man, I am never alone, as I have angels watching over my back and I love the solitude too. My positive approach keeps me moving ahead even in the rough patches of my life. So that’s the algebraic expression of my life.

 

 

Goodbye : When the end is just a new beginning

With just a few hours left for a new year to start its time to say goodbye to the year going by and lets welcome the new year ahead.

I want to thank you all readers we have encouraged me to pen my thoughts so proudly. Without your  support my blog would not have had more than hundred posts and more than a few thousand visitors over the months. Thank you so much and wishing you all a very happy new year.

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My Year 2018 Round Up

 

The year 2018 connected me with some lovely human beings both online and offline. The latter being the more. I connected with some awesome people this year who have really made their mark in my life.

January

Started my new year in Panchmarhi, a small hill station in Madhya Pradesh. The town was part of British cantonment area during pre- Independence era and post Independence the base camp of Indian Army. The small cottages and bungalows of the place living evidence of the lavish British lifestyle. The place reminded me of my hometown, Shillong. We booked an old British cottage on a private hilltop for our two-night stay and we weren’t disappointed.

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Later in January, I met some fabulous people at the conference organized by CETA. Shukla ma’am and Savita ma’am, you inspire so many of us. Thanks for your support. I also got the opportunity to readout my short read – The Wedding Gift.

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Picture courtesy: Chandan Soni

February

I published my short reads and got an overwhelming response from the readers.

 

This year I also got the opportunity to meet with my author friend, Sudesna Ghosh who is also a cat lover. She flew all the way from Kolkata to spend some time in the mesmerizing locales of Chhattisgarh. I met her father first on one of his visit to my city. The gentlemen is a cat lover like me and it was fun discussing my cat stories with him. Sue is a charmer and can talk about cats for hours. We spent hours discussing plots, cats and of course the bongs.

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March

We planned a tour to Puri in Holi this year. It was the first time that I didn’t play the festival of colors. But then it was a different experience to be in the religious destination, Jagganath Puri. Instead, we offered our prayers to the deity in the temple on this auspicious occasion.

 

Had a tremendous response to my first ever blog giveaway. Thank you for being the first five winners of my giveaway.

#Giveaway for kids

 

April

It was time when I met one of the most read romance writer, Preethi Venugopala. I have known her virtually for the last two years and on and off we discussed lots of things. But when we finally met, that was for about 45 minutes it seemed like we have so much to catch up on – writing, workshops and most of all our Turkish heartthrobs that time was really short. The kids were bored with our conversation and wanted to run out. 20180426_180333

We went on a road trip to Chennai from Bangalore. And from Tamil movies to silk sarees I chanced upon everything.

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From Chennai, we went to Pondicherry and it was an altogether different experience for us. Though very small, Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much Indian. French is still understood, and the whole city makes for rather a pleasant mix of East and West. (As in Wikitravel).

The best place I loved was The Beach / Promenade. The Bollywood movie “Talash” was shot here.

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Enroute Pondicherry we also got the chance to visit the historical Mahabalipuram, a tourist town 60 km south of Chennai famous for its stone carvings. Mamallapuram dates back to the Tamil Pallava dynasty in the 7th-9th century. The structures here mostly carved straight out of granite, are among the oldest existing examples of Dravidian (South Indian) architecture. (As in Wikitravel). 

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May

We went to Kolkata to meet my sick aunt. We celebrated her birthday. She was celebrating it for the first time in her life. In our family, back then, there was no birthday celebration culture. Only a bowlful of Payash (Kheer) was offered to the deity and the same was later distributed as prasad in the house. No calling friends or cutting cake. Glad things have changed for good since the past.

Here again, I got a chance to visit Sudesna Ghosh. I was very excited to meet Rustomji, her cat. A darling celebrity who knows how to show attitude. He didn’t allow us to touch him but kept lingering around tempting us to cuddle him.

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June

This month gave me one of the most beautiful moments of my life. We laid the foundation of our dream house.

But otherwise, it was a month of my self-discovery.

July

I was invited for a storytelling session with the students of N.H Goel School, one of the renowned schools of the city. The students were very smart and didn’t waste any moment in answering my questions. index5

August

Nothing much done here only working hard.

Finished the first draft of my second story of the Jungle series. I know haven’t released the book 1 yet. Waiting for a favorable time. Started the 15 August preparation but the event was canceled.

September

The month started finishing the final edits for my upcoming novel The Clockmaker. I was mostly seen pulling my hair.

October

Busy with Durga puja celebrations. This time I didn’t get the opportunity to participate much in the cultural programs. So there was nothing much to do apart from going with the flow.

November

The month of Diwali also has me busy.

I was invited to attended lit fest organized by Krishna Public School, one of the renowned schools in the city.

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Had my first stage show as a singer. In fact, I love singing.

The cover of my new book, The Clockmaker, was released along with the book trailer.

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December

A weekend tour to a tribal village market in Odisha. Beautiful place with breathtaking scenery. The tribals were friendly and one of the finest craftsmen I came across.

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Tiger sighting is something we have been trying since last year. This year we went to try our luck in Nagzira forest, Maharashtra. Nawegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) was notified as 46th tiger reserve of India on 12th December 2013. Its 5th Tiger reserve of Maharashtra. It is situated in Gondia and Bhandara Districts in the North–Eastern corner of Maharashtra. (Wikitravel) And it was bad luck once again. But we enjoyed our stay in the rustic locale. (pic courtesy: Delhi photography club)

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As usual, my kid’s club celebrated Christmas with lots of enthusiasm and passion. They went door to door collecting unused toys, clothes, and shoes to be distributed among the needy on Christmas. Their effort won lots of heart including mine.

It was indeed a very coloful year with lots of new experiences. However, there was no major book release this year. MOst of the time was spent in editing and backend process. So the coming year looks more promising as far as my writing part is concerned. and I am very excited about it.

 

Mehram : A Close Friend (Hindi Poem)

If we want we can make a difference to a life. All it needs is just a smile to connect but we are so busy in our own issues that even if we want to we are unable to take initiative.

This poem is written with the Christmas in mind when the winter is merciless and there are so many out there who need the warmth of our love and care. Can we really share a moment with them and bring a smile to their hopeful eyes?

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Raat Akele hai Bollywood song (Audio)

I consider my self entertainer. I love to entertain people  through my words, my writings, my videos, storytelling and for the first time attempting to entertain by singing.

I grew up listening to Bollywood songs and they have been a part of my life as well. Singing is very natural to me however, I am not a professional. But whenever I get a chance I do love to sing. So here I am sharing with you all one of my favourite songs attempted in my voice, Raat Akele hai from the movie Jewel Thief originally sung by Asha Bhosle.