Jul 12 2009

This is a cool concept…

Published by at 5:17 pm under Website Design,Writing Articles

Asaya’s Blog: How to Write and Draw the Supernatural is a blog similar to this one.  It offers writing advice focused on supernatural fiction.  Quick question.  What kind of stories would you consider to be supernatural fiction?  It strikes me as a slightly more open-ended category than, say, “superhero stories.”

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “This is a cool concept…”

  1. B. Macon 12 Jul 2009 at 5:23 pm

    The first kind of supernatural story that comes to my mind is ghost stories. A close second would be stories about vampires and/or werewolves. Asaya’s Blog doesn’t mention either one of those so far and focuses instead on books about “angels, demons and spiritual conflict.” If the site is better-suited for people that are interested in writing the next Left Behind than the next Dracula or Turn of the Screw, there might be a more precise term than “supernatural fiction.” Do you think “religious fantasy” would be clearer?

  2. Marissaon 12 Jul 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Supernatural, to me, reads as ‘ghosts, hauntings, talking to the dead, psychics, etc.’ Vampires and werewolves are fantasy, not exactly supernatural. Supernatural really deals mostly with humans, be them dead or alive or angry or passed.

  3. B. Macon 12 Jul 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Hmm. One of the reasons that I would consider vampires and werewolves to be supernatural more than fantasy is that most vampire/WW stories are set in a fairly realistic and usually modern Earth setting. In contrast, most Western fantasy is set in an imaginary world reminiscent of medieval Europe.

    Also, vampires and WWs strike me as closer to human than most fantasy races. A werewolf or vampire usually starts out his life as a normal human, which is not true for most elves and dwarves.

  4. B. Macon 12 Jul 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Also, I’d generally recommend against using the author’s name in a website title unless the author is a celebrity. If prospective readers had to pick between two websites named B. Mac’s Blog and Superhero Nation, I suspect they’d prefer SN because they don’t know who I am. Also, the word “blog” suggests something that is not quite professional-grade.

    So, if this were a website that focused on ghost stories (and it isn’t, but bear with me) I’d suggest something like Ghost Town: How to Write and Draw Supernatural Fiction.

  5. Mr. Briton 12 Jul 2009 at 5:41 pm

    In my opinion, the supernatural is anything unnatural but terrestrial. So aliens and fantasy races don’t count as within their fiction, they are generally removed from our planet. However, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, mummies, creatures from black lagoons, angels, demons, gargoyles, contempary wizards and witches (i.e. no black robes, broomsticks, warts, wands etc.) and similar things all fall under the realm of supernatural.

    I think stories dealing with demons and angels are supernatural stories and don’t really have a genre of their own. I haven’t come across any myself, only angels and demons as part of a much larger supernatural contingent, so I’d guess it’s quite a small market to write something with them uniquely. I could be wrong of course :P

  6. Marissaon 12 Jul 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I believe that’s called ‘urban fantasy’? I’ve seen a bunch of books with a modern setting but are still fantasy in genre. Most of Holly Black’s work, for one. (Tithe, Valiant, Ironside)

    Sorry, I won’t make this a debate, it’s just a curiosity anyway.

  7. Mr. Briton 12 Jul 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I think urban fantasy is a subgenre of Supernatural fantasy specifically dealing with very modern takes on supernatural creatures. Genres are a very tricky subject because so much of it is objective :P

  8. B. Macon 12 Jul 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Mr. Brit said: “I think stories dealing with demons and angels are supernatural stories and don’t really have a genre of their own. I haven’t come across any myself, only angels and demons as part of a much larger supernatural contingent…”

    I can think of a few comic books, at least, that focus on angels and demons. Hellblazer, Hellboy, maybe Battle Pope, possibly Preacher (I haven’t read it so I’m not sure), Spawn, etc. Angels usually play a much less prominent role than demons, though.

    I’m drawing a blank on novels, though.

  9. Marissaon 12 Jul 2009 at 6:01 pm

    To Mr. Brit:

    Yeah, it really is.

    When people start tacking ‘-punk’ onto things (steampunk, dieselpunk, splatterpunk, etc.), then I’m absolutely lost.

  10. B. Macon 12 Jul 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Cyberpunk makes sense to me. Seriously, it’s noir with sunglasses. The Matrix, Terminator, Shadowrun, etc. (Agent Orange parodies it, but he’s not noir enough to actually count).



    Subgenres are often subjective and unclear. One thing I really like about marketing a superhero-writing site is that almost everyone that is writing a superhero story knows that their story counts as a superhero story. In contrast, with a blog for supernatural fiction, I suspect that people might ask themselves something like “I’m writing a story about ghosts/vampires/werewolves/angels or whatever, does that count? Will your website help me?”

  11. Ragged Boyon 12 Jul 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I was thinking about writing something in cyberpunk. I think it would satisfy my need for overly stylized clothing.

  12. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Jul 2009 at 6:54 pm

    This is so weird… Yesterday I suddenly remembered a long lost idea that dealt with ghosts. I also thought up a concept for a steampunk story…

    I’m beginning to think I’m like Haruhi Suzumiya. Am I a reality warper or something? Haha.

    Oh, when you were listing supernatural things, you missed poltergeists. They’re not the same as ghosts.

    Ghosts are creepy and wander around, walking through walls and stuff, but poltergeists latch onto one target (usually a teenage girl during times of stress, but there have been younger and older people of both genders) and torment them. There have been cases where the poltergeist has cared for one person and hated the rest (like the Bell Witch) and even tried to kill people, successfully in the Bell Witch’s case. They generally throw things around, there may be laughing coming from an unknown source, scratching and banging noises, sudden fires, people thrown out of bed etc.

    Do I believe in ghosts? Yes, I do. I have had glimpses and one at least three occasions I have seen a full-bodied ghost, and also experienced some symptoms of being in a room with one (like it suddenly becoming cold) Luckily I’ve never had a poltergeist, but I have been extremely stressed, so I’m a little wary. Don’t call me crazy, ghosts exist. You know it to be true! Haha.

  13. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Jul 2009 at 6:56 pm

    “I think it would satisfy my need for overly stylized clothing”.

    Haha, you could be the next Tetsuya Nomura. Pouches, zippers and belts galore!

  14. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Jul 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I love TN’s designs. They’re awesome but sometimes a little impractical. Lulu’s skirt is made of belts. How the heck do they stay together? Haha.

  15. Tomon 13 Jul 2009 at 3:02 am

    I think a good example of supernatural fiction is this television show called (wait for it…) Supernatural. It’s about two brothers who travel across America helping small towns that have ghosts, vampires, demons etc attacking them. In earlier seasons it was almost always ghosts, with the occasional vampire, shapeshifter or other mythic being running around (with surprisingly accurate folklore), but in recent seasons that’s been pushed aside for a story arc involving a war between Heaven and Hell, and the brothers in the middle of it.

  16. scribblaron 13 Jul 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Isn’t urban fantasy when fantasy creatures come from their world into ours? Like Thomas Covenant (except backwards?)

  17. Asayaon 15 Jul 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Huh, reading this article made me realize I need to do a bit of tightening up on my genre… And I hate to sound like a newb, but would anyone be able to suggest a webtitle that fit the genre? B. Mac, I remember reading that you switched the genre for Superheronation once.

    And another question. I don’t mean offense, but how far would a person be able to type genre-specific posts relevant to their website before they post about general writing subjects like characters and so forth? Not to be rude, but recent posts on SN have broadened to general topics like characters development and scifi and fantasy(I think).

  18. B. Macon 20 Jul 2009 at 3:19 am

    Yeah, we started out as pure superhero comedy (like the International Society of Supervillains) and then switched into superhero writing advice.

    If the focus is on angels and demons rather than the more secular sides of supernatural fiction (like ghosts and poltergeists), I’d recommend adding a mild religious connotation to the title. Maybe something like Literary Limbo: How to Write and Draw Supernatural Fiction. (I think “Supernatural Fiction” is slightly better than “the Supernatural” because it’s a bit more Google-friendly…).



    “How long could a person write genre-specific posts before they had to post about general writing subjects like characters and so forth?” It depends on the field. To be honest, I’m not familiar with the realm of supernatural fiction (either religious/spiritual or not), but I feel like you’d be hard-pressed to come up with 100+ articles that you could only find in this niche. For example, “Five Ways to Show a Character is Possessed” is a pretty good example of advice that might attract readers to you because they can’t find it on general writing websites.


    “Not to be rude, but recent posts on SN have broadened to general topics like characters development and scifi and fantasy, I think.” Yeah. I’d say that only around a third of our articles are superhero-specific. But I think that the other articles are mostly useful to superhero authors even if they could also help sci-fi or fantasy novelists. For example, Don’t Bury Your Story in Research and Realism could apply to a superhero’s superpowers just as easily as a detective’s forensics work or a starship’s warp drive. As long as most of our content is generally useful to superhero writers, I don’t mind that it’s also applicable to other kinds of authors. (Also, our examples are more likely to include superheroes and pop sci-fi than most other kinds of stories).

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply