At £0.99 Rayne Hall does it once again with the sixth book in her writers’ craft series – a really useful book at an incredibly good price. If you’ve read Writing Scary Scenes which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago you may see some repetition in this book. This is true but personally I didn’t see it as a problem. While “Scary Scenes” goes into detail about crafting effective scenes packed with suspense and tension (including scene arc, ways of showing rather than telling etc), this book gives you a good platform to base this on.
Writing Dark Stories deals with telling the story overall so is a solid foundation for the other books (Scary Scenes, Writing Villains etc). It also helps you with some of the other early work, including character development and setting. Rayne provides a set of very useful descriptions of the relevant genres (Steampunk, horror, urban fantasy etc) ,the different stages or emotions within a dark story and what’s appropriate where. For example, when and how often should you aim for foreboding rather than suspense. The section on euphonics is something I will certainly be referring to and I have already scribbling down some appropriate words to use in my next project.
All this is underpinned by some very useful exercises for you to try yourself and some “real-world” examples in the form of Rayne’s short stories.
Whether you are a seasoned pro after some inspiration and practice, or a novice writer with some experience but looking for further development, you couldn’t go far wrong with this one.