Author Rita Delude had such great advice for us earlier this month, I asked her to come back and tell us about her writing process for her upcoming November 2 release, Sister’s Revenge. She happily obliged.
What Makes a Successful Horror Story for Me
How I Used That to Write Sister’s Revenge
Horror isn’t about the blood and guts alone. Horror is about the feelings evoked in the reader before the blood and guts are exposed. The tension, the buildup, the drama that comes before we see the dead body or the maggots crawling from the corpse’s open mouth are what make a story horrific, terrifying or memorable for me as a reader. Anticipation is what makes this reader want to keep turning pages. Wondering what will happen next and if the protagonist I’ve come to love will make it out alive, turn to the dark side, or be the next victim is what makes me incredibly enthralled with a story.
That’s the kind of horror I attempt to write. In Sister’s Revenge, Alicia Stamois believes the justice system failed to adequately punish the man who raped and brutalized her younger sister, Cadie, and left her for dead, so she plots her own version of justice. Throughout the story, the reader is given hints of what her plan may mean to George, the attacker, but no details are apparent. Much is left to the reader’s imagination. And isn’t that what we want? Because our imaginations provide much more horror, terror, and suspense than any words on a page ever could. Every experience readers ever have goes into each word they read. They add their own version of fear when it’s a horror read, and that for some, at least, can be much more frightening that any author could conjure up. For example, is Alicia going to kill George? If so, how? What’s the reader most afraid of? That’s what the reader may imagine since the story doesn’t tell, which makes it more frightening. Is Alicia going to torture George instead? How? Lock him underground in a coffin? Have him eaten by rats, snakes, or whatever the reader fears. If the writer doesn’t spell it out, the suspense is greater, and the imagination takes over sometimes making the horror more intense.
Eventually, the reader will learn what Alicia has in mind for George. But will she be able to carry out her plan or will George have something planned for her instead? If so, what? Will she be able to defend herself or fall to the same fate as her younger sister? Turning pages will be the only way for the reader to know for sure.
Then, when you end with an ending, like the one in Sister’s Revenge, the reader’s mind really can run wild with what’s happening or going to happen next. Horror—it’s all in the mind of the reader, but it takes a strong writer to elicit the reader’s most terrifying thoughts and make it a horrific, suspenseful, or terrifying read. The more uncertainties the better until they are uncertain no longer and the awful truths are real—before the reader on the page.
That’s the kind of horror story I enjoy and the kind I take pleasure in writing. I can only hope my readers enjoy those stories too.
I’m so excited it’s October. Thank you for letting me interview you.
Today we are sitting down with Rita Delude to talk about Sister’s Revenge and what makes her tick.
So, you’re a horror author. When did you first realize you loved horror?
Years ago, I got hooked on Stephen King’s writing and haven’t looked back.
What came first? The horror movie or a scary story? Tell me about it.
Books do it for me because I like the detail they offer. I actually have to close my eyes to some of the gore in horror movies, but can deal with all of that when I read it. My favorite horror is suspenseful—the stuff that makes you wait for the next shoe to drop—ax to fall, I mean.
Have you ever met a ghost or had a paranormal experience?
No, but I do believe that dead people are among us.
What is the hardest part of writing horror for you?
Making the horror gory enough for some readers since I like to write what I like to read. I want suspense. The not knowing what’s going to happen next is what thrills me in a read. For example, in Sister’s Revenge, we know that Alicia, who tells George her name is Amanda, wants Revenge for the brutal rape of her sister, Cadie, but we don’t know what form that revenge will take until almost the very end of the book. There’s plotting on her part that goes on that makes it suspenseful for the reader as she draws George into her web of deception. Then at the very end, there’s a really surprising twist that no one will suspect.
I’m really into Halloween and like to scare the cr*p out of the trick or treaters who come to my house and then shower them with candy—none of that “fun” size candy from me—they get Pez candy, full-size bars, etc. The house is decked out in Halloween decorations I’ve collected for four decades.
Does your ability to write horror impact your ability to enjoy other horror books and movies?
No, it inspires me.
If you could only own one horror book for the rest of your life, which book would you pick?
You’re going to hate this! Please let me pick two: The Shining and Misery. Notice the similarities? Both are Stephen King books with writers as the central characters. I love that.
Do you listen to music while you write? What’s on your horror playlist?
I need absolute silence, that way I can hear the dialogue when the characters start speaking and tell me what to type. I swear, when a story is going well, the words appear on the page, and I didn’t even know that the character was going to say this or that until they said it. You may not believe me, but it is true.
And finally, what three pieces of advice would you give a fledgling horror writer?
I don’t only write horror, so my advice is for all authors. Read the genres you are writing, support other authors with your time and your money, and write every day because if you want to be successful in this industry, you need to take your work seriously.
About the Author
Rita Delude, an international bestselling author, writes horror, suspense, vampires, paranormal stories, contemporary romance, and YA. All have one connection—the motivation behind the actions of the protagonists.
Dracula’s Choice is her 18+ paranormal romance. Sister’s Revenge, a suspenseful/horror story, is on pre-sale now and releases on November 2. Her contemporary romance novella is Kaleidoscope. The sequel to Kaleidoscope is Baby Blues, about the most important love of all—mother’s love. A third novella in this series releases December 15, 2019, and is called Adam’s Anguish, about the infant born in Baby Blues. A contemporary romance novel based on finding love on a dating site is Catch. net. Its sequel, Caught in the Middle, focuses on the popular character of Wanda from book one in the Catch Series. Her YA romance is Bubble Gum Love, about much more than ice cream, bubble gum, and first love. Hoarder, Lemon Yellow, and Chance Meeting will release in 2020.
She’s published short stories in numerous anthologies by multiple publishers, including in these: Absolution Anthology, Breakup or Makeup Anthology, Kissing Midnight Anthology, Christmas Past Anthology, Art Inspires Words Anthology Book 1, Art Inspires Words Anthology Book 4, TTYS Anthology, War Paint Anthology. Carnival of Strange Things, Insane Insomnia Anthology, What’s Your Superpower? Anthology, Vague Book Anthology, Moonstruck Anthology, Craving One Night, Getting Schooled, Catfish Anthology, Beyond Oz Anthology, Beyond Wonderland Anthology, Bending Time Anthology, Twisted Classics Anthology, and Our Christmas Nook.
She has also published dozens of non-fiction magazine articles and wrote a twice-weekly column for a newspaper and hundreds of feature stories for seventeen years. Rita Delude holds a MFA in Writing. She is retired from her position as a full professor at Nashua Community College, Nashua, New Hampshire.
She lives in New Hampshire, USA with her husband and their rescue dog, Daisy. They have four married children and nine grandchildren.
Follow Rita Delude at:
Book and Main Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/RitaDelude
The Upcoming Release
Pre Order Sister’s Revenge today.Rita's back with more #writingadvice and a behind the scenes look into #SistersRevenge #comingsoon @CrazyInkPub Click To Tweet