View Full Version : Questions about paranormal thriller

07-27-2007, 12:17 AM
Okay so I am starting on this book I have had in mind for like fifteen years. I am wanting to have some kind of black magic involved and my question is should I make up things for it rather then doing research for real black magic incantations and whatnot? I would worry if it was too close to the real thing that it might encourage kids to try it on their own. That would not be good, so what would you say? Have a couple details that are real and make up the rest?

I don't want to give away much about it since it's still in the planning stages, I have five pages written and six chapters outlined. I want to have a conflict ensue with a black magic user in a situtation where the MC's get to beat the person who's used Black Magic to kill twice so far. What do you guys think? Keep a couple of details and make up the rest so it can't really summon a demon? ;)

07-27-2007, 12:31 AM
First of all...DEFINITELY WRITE THIS. I see posts by agents all the time saying they want YA trillers. There really haven't been any since Clooney, I'd guess. And no one seems to be writing them. So get to it!

On the black magic...I'd do a little research and then make it your own. For one thing, what would be considered actual "black magic" is very, very involved and complicated. It'd make a terribly boring book. The spells and incantations used for that stuff are usually in languages like Hebrew, which would be boring to read, I bet. Especially if you don't know it.

Just some general research could get you some overall information such as the "circle of art" (an elaborate circle drawn on the floor to protect the wizard/magician/sorcerer/whatever) and "summoning triangles" (demons were frequently 'summoned' into yellow triangles drawn on the floor with chalk or sulfur to hold them in place). Then there are sigils (symbols specific to a demon/entity), which would be good to mention (because it sounds cool) but you wouldn't have to go into descriptions.

Actually, if you'd like, you could always just shoot me some questions you have. I've got lots of books on the topic, and others in the subject area. I could point you in some good directions, if you'd like. (Such as looking through the Three Books of Occult Philosophy [Agrippa])

07-27-2007, 12:39 AM
Thanks for the reply reenkam and for the encouragement, I definitely want to write this story, it's been on my mind for such a long time, but I've never gone anywhere with it and think it definitely has potential. What I am wondering is I know most demon summonings require a circle, a protection circle, so what can be done to break down that circle? Holy water?

I don't want to use Silver because of King's IT and I want to be original. :)

Thanks for the help reenkam, I really appreciate it. :D

07-27-2007, 12:45 AM
Iron is a really traditional "magic stopper." Throwing iron filings around the area would "ground the energy" (that's how books would phrase it, you could use your own terminology).

Salt is considered a "banisher" so throwning that around would also work. Holy water probably would, too, though the kind described in ancient texts isn't the same as what's found in Catholic churches (at least I don't think it is). The most common "recipe" for that would be water with a few pinches of salt and some kind of prayer.

I guess iron, salt, and holy water could make some kind of uber destroyer that could really destroy whatever the BM user was up to.

Oh, and then there's sage, sweetgrass, lavender. Any of those alone or blended is supposed to be a cleanser. That's more native american herb lore than black magic stuff, though...

Also...if the BM user drew the protective circle with chalk or powder or anything like that, erasing it would be considered effective in breaking the protection.

07-27-2007, 12:50 AM
Awesome info reenkam! I love the idea of using Salt and Iron. :D

07-27-2007, 12:52 AM
Psychic Straits in a paranormal thriller. I've used some terms in there that I learned during a psychology class when we were studying paranormal psychology. In the sequal to it, I'm probably going to have to just make up some kind of terms for a student who has a power that hasn't been documented before.

07-27-2007, 12:53 AM
I'm sure there is. I know exactly what book would have the info, too, but I'm at work right now. I'll get back to you with the charm ideas in 2 hours or so, once I get home.

And I love the native american janitor idea! The story sounds awesome. :)

07-27-2007, 01:01 AM
Thanks reenkam! I thought his character would be a nice addition, glad you like it and don't find it cliche'. ;)

Good luck on Psychic Straits Southern Girl, the sequel sounds interesting are you already working on it? :)

07-27-2007, 01:40 AM
I officially second that you have to write this! There really is a lack of YA Thrillers right now...and this sounds very interesting.

Just adding my two cents...

James D. Macdonald
07-27-2007, 01:52 AM
The information on this is inconsistent. Find one system, research it, and stick with it. (For example, in some systems if you break the vertical plane extending up from your circle with some body part, that will break the circle.)

It's perfectly okay to make up your own system as long as a) you're consistent, and b) you tell the readers what they need to know.

07-27-2007, 02:02 AM
Thanks Merry Day, I am definitely writing this one, I have put it off long enough and think it's the perfect project to work on during summer break. I am up to chapter seven in the lengthy outline. I really hope it will sell well once I get it finished, I have a good idea of where it's heading and how to resolve it too so all I need is to finish my outline and get cooking on writing the text. :)

Thank you James, I figured using my own system would work if I did what you suggested, and tell the reader what they needed to know to make it believable. I didn't see a thread on this subject yet so that is what prompted my making this one, I did see that there is a lot of agents wanting this kind of fiction though, so it makes sense to write this one especially since I've been mulling it over for over a decade. ;) :D

07-27-2007, 02:41 AM
It turns out that the book was more about healing and medicine in Native American traditions with almost nothing about protection...

I did find that there's a lot of emphasis placed on power/totem animals, which would probably offer protection. Maybe if the janitor had his own power animal he could give them something representing the animal that would protect them (rabbit's foot, shark's tooth, that kind of thing). Or an item like that could be placed in an animal skin pouch with some herbs, as a sort of variation on medicine bags.

07-27-2007, 02:49 AM
A bear claw! I see a bear Claw necklace fitting in with the MC! Thank you reenkam for the inspiration on that! :D

07-27-2007, 02:58 AM
Thanks reenkam! I thought his character would be a nice addition, glad you like it and don't find it cliche'. ;)

Good luck on Psychic Straits Southern Girl, the sequel sounds interesting are you already working on it? :)

Pamster, I am in the outlining part now. I do a very detailed outline before I sit down to write it. I would love to read something like what you are writing, too.

07-27-2007, 03:42 AM
Cool! I like to do detailed outlines too, it helps me when I am writing the scenes to see exactly what I was thinking when I drafted the outline. I am glad you think my story sounds interesting, I probably won't get it finished until my son is back in school, it's really difficult to get any work done when he's on summer break. But I am trying to get the outline done. And that will be half the battle. :)

07-27-2007, 10:50 PM
I have another question, how long is a YA novel? Is 50K long enough? What if I run out of story by 40k? I just finished outlining it and it's looking like it's going to shape up to be around 40K and I am wondering if that is good enough. What do you all think? I could try to stretch things out but I don't want to write stuff that doesn't matter to the plot you know? If the story is finished by 40K will it be enough to sell since I think it's a darn good story? Thanks for any advice you can offer. :D

Danger Jane
07-28-2007, 11:59 PM
I think so, that's why 40K is my goal for both my WIPs.

07-29-2007, 01:28 AM
Thanks Danger Jane, I was wondering if it would be realistic to shoot for 40K because it's going to end up being around 40K and I think it would be a shame to add stuff that doesn't matter to the plot just for word count. And that it would hurt the story. Thanks for you reply! :D

07-29-2007, 03:41 AM
Well, considering the fact that I love your story idea, I'd be completely content if you had a nice 100k story going on....but that's not very practical.

I've read that YA is 40k-60k, but after checking a lot of books I have it seems like 50k-55k is a good estimate.

Though 40k is fine, maybe you could add a little more to get it to 45k? I'm just thinking of the 40k books I read. I finish them quickly and feel like I might have missed something.

Actually, I read fast. So actually, 40k sounds good to me. (I'm glad I was able to make such a concise post...haha)

07-29-2007, 04:11 AM
Psychic Straits wound up being 59,000 words. I shot for 60,000, and my first draft was right at 63,000 words. I cut about 4,000 words in the second and third draft. That really helped tighten it up.

Shady Lane
07-29-2007, 04:38 AM
I'd say 40K is really your bare minimum. Your general range is 40-80K for YA, but usually you're aiming a little higher for fantasy. So 40 might be a little low.

07-29-2007, 05:22 AM
Thanks everyone, I sat here and did some thinking and can see making it up to 40K at least, I was afraid I might not make it to 40 but I think I will be able to now that I figured on something extra to happen between the conflict resolution and the first conflict resolution. It's too hard to explain without giving it all away but I talked to my mother tonight and she thinks this is the best and coolest story I've written yet and she's proud I got so much usable text written in one sitting the yesterday. I was so happy to get about 68 pages of story written, I was seeing it in my head like a movie and I love it when that happens.

Thanks for the encouragement everyone, I will keep you updated in my siggy on how far I've gotten, I expect to get it done in a few more weeks if my son is able to entertain himself for a few hours every day during the next couple weeks before school is in session I should be able to have this done. I am so happy that I decided to finally write this story, it's been knocking around in my head in some form or another and to finally be seeing it shape up into some awesome story is so satisfying, I just can't express enough how much I am enjoying writing this story. :D