I want to write ghost stories and I struggle with this.

My problem is not so much about general things like plot, characters, ect. – I did write and publish some short stories and also a little bit of non fiction with different German publishing houses over the last five years. Mostly urban and low fantasy or sometimes even science fiction. This is not meant as self advertisement, but to illustrate that (at least from my point of view) it seems about the special quality of the genre: to create the creepy atmosphere, the horror, that certain feeling of paranoia, when you have to walk alone through the night after finishing such a story.

To specify what I mean: It is not about the over the top kind of terror, that shocks you by being gross and violent, and gets your attention by the simple tool of jump scares (even if the last one is a complicated thing to pull off in text, without the possibilities that visual media has). I am looking for a more eerie feeling, but nevertheless disturbing. Vanishing hitchhikers, ghost lights, apparitions in the woods would be the material I want to work with.

So what do you think? How to suspend the disbelief of the reader (especially if you only have a few pages to do this)? How to draw him in fast and keep him turning pages in this genre – or do you think its after all not different to every other writing? What are your experiences with creating such settings? What might be good examples to learn from?

Source: reddit post


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