I have nearly finished my short story sequel to Carmilla (the story that inspired Dracula).   One of my editors insisted that, with time, I would find it easier to write longer stories. In fact, it would be difficult to stay within maximum length guidelines.  I am beginning to understand.  I have to winnow carefully to keep the story under 5000 words.

While researching, I reread Carmilla and I remembered why I fell in love with the story to begin with.  Le Fanu made powerful use of atmosphere.  That is the core of good horror writing.  By evoking rich images that the reader can relate to, you allow the reader to disappear into your world.  Within that framework, slowly revealing the inevitable danger creates the suspense that makes horror effective.

I am hardly there, but I am learning.  The more we read, the more we understand the way that writing works.  There is no magical formula for good fiction, but there are tools that we can make use of to improve our writing.  Take a look and see what I mean about building atmosphere.  Carmilla at Project Gutenberg

Keep writing friends!

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