Books v Film

Books v Film: The Ruins

Fight, fight, fight

Today I am writing to you about creepy plants.

The Ruins is a novel by Scott Smith, that was released in July 2006. The novel is set in Mexico and tells the story of a group of tourists, who while exploring rural Yucatán accidentally find themselves trapped on top of a hill, where they are hunted by an unexpected predator. 

The film of the same name was released in 2008 and is relatively faithful to the novel. However, where the novel received high praise the film has been criticised. This is a good example of situations where a story is better told via a novel or other written media as opposed to a visual storytelling media. This is mostly because the film had to leave out a lot of the detail that the novel portrayed easily. It is the level of detail in the novel that grounds the reader deeply into the story.

By staying deeply inside the heads of the main characters as they try to understand their situation and devise a means of escape, Smith effectively creates a tense and terrifying atmosphere. This atmosphere simply cannot be reproduced in a solely visual medium.

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Horror Writing

Horror Writing: Skills you can learn from writing horror

Mad skillz

I think that the best way to learn new and interesting writing skills is to read and write a variety of genres.

The more you expose yourself to the wider and more varied your range of knowledge will be. Think about it those who read or write thrillers will learn different lessons to those who read or write romance. Each genre has it’s own specific strengths and weaknesses and if you limit yourself to a single genre (either reading or writing) then you’ll build a certain set of strengths but never overcome the weaknesses. But by reading different genres and styles you may find tips and tricks to overcome the weaknesses inherent in the genre your writing at that time.

Horror is my own main focus (although I dabble all over the place to widen my own skillset), this means the bulk of my strengths lie in horror. Today I am going to share with you some of the potential skills you could develop by giving horror writing a try.

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Horror Writing

Writing Horror

Spooky, scary, skeletons

Today I am writing to you about genre.

Writing different genre’s can be tricky, each genre will have its own sense of style, its own tropes and its own tone. I’d like to talk a little about writing horror today as it’s the genre I tend to write, along with Fantasy and a smidgen of Sci-Fi.

To write a great horror story you will need several key elements: –

  • Tension
  • ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ characters or events/phenomenon (depending of if your writing supernatural horror or not)
  • A sense of fear (goes without saying really)
  • Subversion – not always essential but a lot of the great horror stories have an element of subversion in them.


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