Thursday, June 25, 2015

Writing the Paranormal with A. R. Draeger

Writing the Paranormal: A quick discussion with A.R. Draeger

Author of Of Ocean and Ash ~ Available for $0.99 on Amazon here:

**Part of the Paranormal Love Wednesday Blog Hop! Click HERE for more neat blogs diving into the paranormal. :)**

I’m not a scholar by any stretch of the imagination (see Margo Bond Collins for that), so don’t quote me on this – but – from my general observations when strolling the bookstore aisles (or clicking through Amazon) looking for my next read, I’m willing to bet that the larger portion of genre fiction written these days is…well…


From vampires to psychics to shapeshifters to you-name-it-we-are-writing-about-it.

As a reader and *major* fan of anything paranormal, I am absolutely thrilled by this. As a writer, I am absolutely horrified. Why? Good luck generating fresh ideas in a market where something new is being churned out every five minutes.

Wanna write about vampires? Great! What’s your twist? 


Okay. Well, let’s try something else. Werewolves! They’re super sexy and feral. What’s your take that’s different from all 5 billion plus and rapidly counting being released?

*more crickets, followed by the sound of a writer’s heart breaking*

Yeah, it sucks. But you know what? It’s still do-able. You just have to think outside the box a little. Easier said than done, sure….but still can be done. Here was my process on how I came up with my take, my ‘twist’ on my mermaid shapeshifter.

Finding a New Twist:

Step One: Take a look at history. All these beautiful, interesting, terrifying things are worshiped, revered, killed, etc., in legends and folktales by multiple cultures across the world. For my mermaid world, I combined mermaids with sirens. Why? Made sense (to me) that different cultures would have different perspectives. Different humans will have different experiences.  One human might be saved by a dolphin. Another might be assaulted. (See King of the Hill – Dolphin Encounter Episode. I’m too lazy to google it. Look it up.)

Step Two: A new world. Werewolves in SPAAAAACCCEEEE! (© 2015 Amber Draeger)  Sexy. They can burst out of their formfitting space suits all muscle-y. Don’t steal it. My idea. 

Anyways, I stranded my mermaid on a plantation on an island in the middle of slavery. Yep. I’m nice to my characters. Stick your characters where they do not belong. Think of the worst place your character could be, where either the paranormal would do them *NO* good or where being normal would be incredibly *BAD* and throw them there. 

Again, consider history. History is a great source of inspiration. (See George R.R. Martin, although I kinda want to throw him from a tower after this past season’s finale.)

Step Three: Read anything but paranormal. Non-fiction…and *ahem* HISTORY is a good start for gleaming bits of things that can inspire you.

Step Four: Back away from the usual. There are some things (some characters, even) in the paranormal world that have been used so much over the years that they have become…un-paranormal. 

Example: Dracula. He’s not fun to throw in a story anymore. Unless you have an outrageous twist on him (drag queen in Vegas, perhaps?).

Step Five: When all else fails, just throw things into a blender and see what comes out. Most of the time, it’ll be useless, but every now and then, you’ll find something absolutely delicious. 

Example:  Child predator + vampire + psychic = Doctor Sleep. (Okay, that was a gross generalization, but it works for this example. Run with it.)

Step Six: Don’t wait to write. Write every day. Find your favorite creature, and create until you stumble on something ingenious. I have a bad habit of forming my best twists and takes when I’m writing something completely different. The more you write, the stronger you become.

Hope this helps! Writing the paranormal is not as easy as it seems. Writing the paranormal from a new, inventive angle is even more difficult, but with time, patience, and lots of writing/brainstorming/wine/crying, you can do it.  And when you do, let me know. I’d love to read your book. <3 

 Love and Happy Reading/Writing,

Amber (A.R.) Draeger
*Who just received her first ONE STAR review.* Ouch. Off to go cry, get deliriously drunk if I can sneak away from my in-laws, and then off to write some more. A whole lot more.

~ About the Author ~

Author Amber (A.R.) Draeger specializes in macabre, fantastical fiction, spreading her interest across multiple genres including horror, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and thriller.  Her debut romance novella, Of Ocean and Ash, to be published in the Blazing Indie Collective’s Falling in Deep Collection, will be released June 9th, 2015. Her debut horror/thriller/sci-fi novella, Daughters of Men, to be published in association with Bathory Gate Press, will follow in Summer 2015.  She resides in rural Texas with her husband and son.
Contact / Connect:
Special Thanks to Bokerah at for helping me come up with this blog topic. <3 

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