Friday, September 13

Serafina and the Splintered Heart + Writing a Ghost Story

Scary stories, or horror stories, are one of the favorite genres of middle and high school students, especially this time of year!  Well-written novels in this genre devote a lot of space to crafting the perfect setting, one which lends itself to creepiness....  

The Serafina series follows the adventures of Serafina, an orphan who is taken in by a worker at the Biltmore House, as well as her animal and human friends.  Along the way, Serafina and Braden run into many spooky adventures and have to solve the mysteries that keep popping up around the estate.  Each book features a new antagonist.

Reading scary stories helps students to develop a good sense of setting, and is a great way to encourage new and struggling writers to write.  They'll be so busy mastering the art of suspense, and trying to surprise you, that it won't seem like an assignment!

Watch & Explore
Prepare to Write
  • Listen to ''Sorry, Wrong Number,'' by Louise Fletcher. Radio plays aren't simply dramatic readings; they include sound effects, voice actors, and music.  Pay attention to how these elements create the setting.
  • Practice the art of the unknown.  Think of an object, and without saying what the object is, describe it in great detail.  Try to keep your listener in about its shadow, the noise it makes, how it feels.  Remember to refer to your mystery object as an 'it.'

Explore the world of High Fantasy creative writing here!

  • Create a setting and cast of characters for your long story.  Use these to get you started...
    • Who is the main character(s)?  What character traits does he/she have? 
    • What is going to happen to this character? 
    • Are there other characters who will be around when this event takes place? 
    • Where is the event going to happen?   What time of day?   What season or time of year? 
  • Get a box of fortune cookies.  Each day, crack one open and use the fortune as a jumping off point for writing.  Remember to make it suspenseful!  (Responses should be one to three paragraphs.)
  • "I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more..."   Write the story of your experience.
Think - 
  • When would you use a cliffhanger?  Are there times when a cliffhanger would not be appropriate and / or useful?
  • Think of a novel that successfully builds suspense.  How does the setting affect those key moments?  Is weather used to add tension?  Find at least three examples of threatening imagery in the author’s description of the setting.

See other book studies here!

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