Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Review: Writing Scary Scenes by Rayne Hall

Hello Fellow Writers,

Today I'm pleased to be part of the Writing Scary Scenes. I'm going to be writing a review of the novel. But before I get to my review and a giveaway, here's the synopsis and basic information about the novel. I'll also be including a guest post as well. 

Writing Scary Scenes
by Rayne Hall
Asked to Review
Adult Non-Fiction
Released On: July 6, 2012
Published By:
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.46

Are your frightening scenes scary enough? Learn practical tricks to turn up the suspense. Make your readers' hearts hammer with suspense, their breaths quicken with excitement, and their skins tingle with goosebumps of delicious fright. 

This book contains practical suggestions how to structure a scary scene, increase the suspense, make the climax more terrifying, make the reader feel the character's fear. It includes techniques for manipulating the readers' subconscious and creating powerful emotional effects.

Use this book to write a new scene, or to add tension and excitement to a draft.

You will learn tricks of the trade for "black moment" and "climax" scenes, describing monsters and villains, writing harrowing captivity sections and breathtaking escapes, as well as how to make sure that your hero doesn't come across as a wimp... and much more.

This book is recommended for writers of all genres, especially thriller, horror, paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Now here's the author's biography.

Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books includeStorm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies and more. 

You can reach her at her website and her twitter account. You can also buy this book at Kobo, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, or Smashwords

Here's the trailer for this novel.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an e-copy of this book for review. I was not obligated to write a good review nor have I received any compensation for this review.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I have read a lot of books about writing horror/scary novels, and so I had high expectations for this novel when I went into it. 

I was not disappointed.. Rayne's novel offered  great advice about writing. I thought her organization of the novel was impeccable. This is a must-read for all those who wish to  write horror. If you want to learn about how to write gripping suspense, horror, or suspense then this is definitely a book that I would recommend.

Rayne's advice was solid and will be beneficial to those trying to learn the trade.  Her writing style was easy and engaging. It didn't read like a technical craft book, but was rather a really fun read. Definitely worth it. 


Most novels and short stories have an antagonist (someone who opposes the protagonist), and this person or creature is often dangerous and perhaps evil. Here are ten professional techniques for making them truly scary.

1. The villain thinks of himself as a good guy who will do anything for what he believes is a noble cause.  
2. He has a genuinely good side - perhaps he is a loving son who cares for his ageing parents, or he goes out of his way to protect children from harm.
3. During the first encounter, he seems pleasant and likeable.
4. Describe his voice. (“His voice sounded like a ....”)
5. He smiles rarely - but when he does, describe the smile in detail, comparing the shape of his mouth to something dangerous.
6. Describe his hands, the way they move, the texture of the skin, the shape of the nails.
7. Describe his eyes by comparing their colour to something unpleasant or dangerous.
8. Describe the way he moves. To increase the suspense, give him slow, deliberate movements.
9. What does the villain smell of? Innocuous smells, such as mothballs and peppermint toothpaste can work well.
10. Avoid clichés such as maniacal laughter and hot stinking breath.

Although this article uses the word “he” for the villain, your antagonist can of course be a devious female!


If you're a writer and want to discuss your ideas for a fictional villain, or if you have questions, please leave a comment. I'll be around for a week and will reply. I enjoy answering questions.


Danica Page

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