Writing the Paranormal Novel

People have been telling supernatural stories from the beginning of time and readers love them because they fulfill our desire to escape reality. Create your own paranormal novel and explore the supernatural world of literature. When you take this online workshop, you will focus on how to write paranormal fiction. Get much needed guidance from Steven Harper’s Writing the Paranormal Novel, which explains the difference between a paranormal novel and a story with a supernatural element. He also gives techniques and exercises for weaving supernatural elements into your story and examples of successful paranormal novels. Stretch your imagination, dive deep into the supernatural world, and break into this thrilling genre.



Required Reading:

Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper

Workshop Length:

6 weeks

Start Date:

View Workshop Schedule



  • Choose supernatural elements that impact your fictional world
  • Create engaging and relatable characters—from supernatural protagonists and antagonists to supporting players (both human and non-human)
  • Develop strong characters and a solid plot
  • Write dynamic fight scenes
  • Develop engaging, realistic dialogue

Who should take this workshop:

  • Short story writers and novelists who love the paranormal genre
  • Graduates of other beginner-level workshops who now want to focus on their passion for writing paranormal stories
  • Students of any level who want to explore writing paranormal fiction in more depth and gain key insights from a published author



Session One: Introduction to the Paranormal Novel

  • The paranormal in the real world: real or myth?
  • What constitutes a paranormal novel? A working definition and recent trends.
  • How do I get an idea for a novel? Techniques for getting started.
  • The novel as somebody’s story. Focusing your novel.
  • Avoiding clichés

Session Two: Characterization & Point of View

  • Characters living, dead, and otherwise. How do I make a paranormal character (spirit, vampire, demon, etc.) convincing?
  • Heroes and heroines. Sidekicks and “character roles.”
  • Villains and nasty critters. What’s an antagonist? What if my “hero” isn’t such a good guy? Heroes and anti-heroes.
  • Defining Point of View, Voice, First Person, and Third Person.

Session Three: Realistic Dialogue

  • How people talk in the everyday world
  • The importance of format. Punctuation please!
  • Paragraphing dialogue
  • Dialogue as a give-and-take exchange

Session Four: Plots and Stories, Structures and Stratagems

  • Basic dramatic structure. The “three-act drama”
  • A story as a series of events, not talk or description
  • Characters and plot. Plot as problem-solving. Increments of plot development.
  • Prologues and other delays. Getting to the story immediately.
  • Keep the paranormal element in your story. The paranormal must figure into the middle and ending as well as the beginning.
  • Climax and resolution of the plot conflicts is essential. The actions of the main character must determine the outcome.

Session Five: Exciting Scenes Make an Exciting Story

  • How much physical action is too much? Violence and bad stuff.
  • Constructing high-impact scenes. Executing the scene with taut writing.
  • Advancing the plot via surprises, twists, and turns (the unexpected is essential).

Session Six: “Our Story Begins …”

  • The all-important first chapter: does it engage the reader? How do you accomplish that?
  • Getting into the story immediately. Avoiding “dead pages,” i.e., chatty or descriptive pages that do not advance the story.
  • Letting the story tell itself. Do you have to know where you’re going?
  • When a novel is finished. Selling and promoting your novel.
  • Resources for the paranormal novelist.
  • The secrets of writing success and some rules to follow.

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